Daily Tech Digest - July 07, 2024

How Good Is ChatGPT at Coding, Really?

A study published in the June issue of IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering evaluated the code produced by OpenAI’s ChatGPT in terms of functionality, complexity and security. The results show that ChatGPT has an extremely broad range of success when it comes to producing functional code—with a success rate ranging from anywhere as poor as 0.66 percent and as good as 89 percent—depending on the difficulty of the task, the programming language, and a number of other factors. While in some cases the AI generator could produce better code than humans, the analysis also reveals some security concerns with AI-generated code. ... Overall, ChatGPT was fairly good at solving problems in the different coding languages—but especially when attempting to solve coding problems that existed on LeetCode before 2021. For instance, it was able to produce functional code for easy, medium, and hard problems with success rates of about 89, 71, and 40 percent, respectively. “However, when it comes to the algorithm problems after 2021, ChatGPT’s ability to generate functionally correct code is affected. It sometimes fails to understand the meaning of questions, even for easy level problems,” Tang notes.

What can devs do about code review anxiety?

A lot of folks reported that either they would completely avoid picking up code reviews, for example. So maybe someone's like, “Hey, I need a review,” and folks are like, “I'm just going to pretend I didn't see that request. Maybe somebody else will pick it up.” So just kind of completely avoiding it because this anxiety refers to not just getting your work reviewed, but also reviewing other people's work. And then folks might also procrastinate, they might just kind of put things off, or someone was like, “I always wait until Friday so I don't have to deal with it all weekend and I just push all of that until the very last minute.” So definitely you see a lot of avoidance. ... there is this misconception that only junior developers or folks just starting out experience code review anxiety, with the assumption that it's only because you're experiencing the anxiety when your work is being reviewed. But if you think about it, anytime you are a reviewer, you're essentially asked to contribute your expertise and so there is an element of, “If I mess up this review, I was the gatekeeper of this code. And if I mess it up, that might be my fault.” So there's a lot of pressure there.

Securing the Growing IoT Threat Landscape

What’s clear is that there should be greater collective responsibility between stakeholders to improve IoT security outlooks. A multi-stakeholder response is necessary, leading to manufacturers prioritising security from the design phase, to governments implementing legislation to mandate responsibility. Currently, some of the leading IoT issues relate to deployment problems. Alex suggests that IT teams also need to ensure default device passwords are updated and complex enough to not be easily broken. Likewise, he highlights the need for monitoring to detect malicious activity. “Software and hardware hygiene is essential, especially as IoT devices are often built on open source software, without any convenient, at scale, security hardening and update mechanisms,” he highlights. “Identifying new or known vulnerabilities and having an optimised testing and deployment loop is vital to plug gaps and prevent entry from bad actors.” A secure-by-design approach should ensure more robust protections are in place, alongside patching and regular maintenance. Alongside this, security features should be integrated from the start of the development process.

Beyond GPUs: Innatera and the quiet uprising in AI hardware

“Our neuromorphic solutions can perform computations with 500 times less energy compared to conventional approaches,” Kumar stated. “And we’re seeing pattern recognition speeds about 100 times faster than competitors.” Kumar illustrated this point with a compelling real-world application. ... Kumar envisions a future where neuromorphic chips increasingly handle AI workloads at the edge, while larger foundational models remain in the cloud. “There’s a natural complementarity,” he said. “Neuromorphics excel at fast, efficient processing of real-world sensor data, while large language models are better suited for reasoning and knowledge-intensive tasks.” “It’s not just about raw computing power,” Kumar observed. “The brain achieves remarkable feats of intelligence with a fraction of the energy our current AI systems require. That’s the promise of neuromorphic computing – AI that’s not only more capable but dramatically more efficient.” ... As AI continues to diffuse into every facet of our lives, the need for more efficient hardware solutions will only grow. Neuromorphic computing represents one of the most exciting frontiers in chip design today, with the potential to enable a new generation of intelligent devices that are both more capable and more sustainable.

Artificial intelligence in cybersecurity and privacy: A blessing or a curse?

AI helps cybersecurity and privacy professionals in many ways, enhancing their ability to protect systems, data, and users from various threats. For instance, it can analyse large volumes of data, spot anomalies, and identify suspicious patterns for threat detection, which helps to find unknown or sophisticated attacks. AI can also defend against cyber-attacks by analysing and classifying network data, detecting malware, and predicting vulnerabilities. ... The harmful effects of AI may be fewer than the positive ones, but they can have a serious impact on organisations that suffer from them. Clearly, as AI technology advances, so do the strategies for both protecting and compromising digital systems. Security professionals should not ignore the risks of AI, but rather prepare for them by using AI to enhance their capabilities and reduce their vulnerabilities. ... As attackers are increasingly leveraging AI, integrating AI defences is crucial to stay ahead in the cybersecurity game. Without it, we risk falling behind.” Consequently, cybersecurity and privacy professionals, and their organisations, should prepare for AI-driven cyber threats by adopting a multi-faceted approach to enhance their defences while minimising risks and ensuring ethical use of technology.

Intel is betting big on its upcoming Lunar Lake XPUs to change how we think of AI in our PCs

Designed with power efficiency in mind, the Lunar Lake architecture is ideal for portable devices such as laptops and notebooks. These processors balance performance and efficiency by integrating Performance Cores (P-cores) and Efficiency Cores (E-cores). This combination allows the processors to handle both demanding tasks and less intensive operations without draining the battery. The Lunar Lake processors will feature a configuration of up to eight cores, split equally between P-cores and E-cores. This design aims to improve battery life by up to 60 per cent, positioning Lunar Lake as a strong competitor to ARM-based CPUs in the laptop market. Intel anticipates that these will be the most efficient x86 processors it has ever developed. ... A major highlight of the Lunar Lake processors is the inclusion of the new Xe2 GPUs as integrated graphics. These GPUs are expected to deliver up to 80 per cent better gaming performance compared to previous generations. With up to eight second-generation Xe-cores, the Xe2 GPUs are designed to support high-resolution gaming and multimedia tasks, including handling up to three 4K displays at 60 frames per second with HDR.

Cyber Threats And The Growing Complexity Of Cybersecurity

Irvine envisions a future where the cybersecurity industry undergoes significant disruption, with a greater emphasis on data-driven risk management. “The cybersecurity industry is going to be disrupted severely. We start to think about cybersecurity more as a risk and we start to put more data and more dollars and cents around some of these analyses,” she predicted. As the industry matures, Dr. Irvine anticipates a shift towards more transparent and effective cybersecurity solutions, reducing the prevalence of smoke and mirrors in the marketplace. She also claims that “AI and LLM's will take over jobs. There will be automation, and we're going to need to upskill individuals to solve some of these hard problems. It's just a challenge for all of us to figure out how.” Kosmowski also remarked that the industry must remain on top of what will continue to be a definitive risk to organizations, “Over 86% of companies are hybrid and expect to remain hybrid for the foreseeable future, plus we know IT proliferation is continuing to happen at a pace that we have never seen before.”

The blueprint for data center success: Documentation and training

In any data center, knowledge is a priceless asset. Documenting configurations, network topologies, hardware specifications, decommissioning regulations, and other items mentioned above ensures that institutional knowledge is not lost when individuals leave the organization. So, no need to panic once the facility veteran retires, as you’ll already have all the information they have! This information becomes crucial for staff, maintenance personnel, and external consultants to understand every facet of the systems quickly and accurately. It provides a more structured learning path, facilitates a deeper understanding of the data center's infrastructure and operations, and allows facilities to keep up with critical technological advances. By creating a well-documented environment, facilities can rest assured knowing that authorized personnel are adequately trained, and vital knowledge is not lost in the shuffle, contributing to overall operational efficiency and effectiveness, and further mitigating future risks or compliance violations.

Why Knowledge Is Power in the Clash of Big Tech’s AI Titans

The advanced AI models currently under development across big tech -- models designed to drive the next class of intelligent applications -- must learn from more extensive datasets than the internet can provide. In response, some AI developers have turned to experimenting with AI-generated synthetic data, a risky proposition that could potentially put an entire engine at risk if even a small semblance of the learning model is inaccurate. Others have pivoted to content licensing deals for access to useful, albeit limited, proprietary training data. ... The real differentiating edge lies in who can develop a systemic means of achieving GenAI data validation, integrity, and reliability with a certificated or “trusted” designation, in addition to acquiring expert knowledge from trusted external data and content sources. These two twin pillars of AI trust, coupled with the raw computing and computational power of new and emerging data centers, will likely be the markers of which big tech brands gain the immediate upper hand.

Should Sustainability be a Network Issue?

The beauty of replacing existing network hardware components with energy-efficient, eco-friendly, small form factor infrastructure elements wherever possible is that no adjustments have to be made to network configurations and topology. In most cases, you're simply swapping out routers, switches, etc. The need for these equipment upgrades naturally occurs with the move to Wi-Fi 6, which requires new network switches, routers, etc., in order to run at full capacity. Hardware replacements can be performed on a phased plan that commits a portion of the annual budget each year for network hardware upgrades ... There is a need in some cases to have discrete computer networks that are dedicated to specific business functions, but there are other cases where networks can be consolidated so that resources such as storage and processing can be shared. ... Network managers aren’t professional sustainability experts—but local utility companies are. In some areas of the U.S., utility companies offer free onsite energy audits that can help identify areas of potential energy and waste reduction.

Quote for the day:

"It takes courage and maturity to know the difference between a hoping and a wishing." -- Rashida Jourdain

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