Hashtag Trending Nov.16- Microsoft debuts its own chip to save on costs; OpenAI pauses new signups as demand soars; Amazon warns employees not returning to the office might lose promotions

Microsoft debuts its own chip to save on costs, OpenAI places temporary ban on ChatGPT Plus signups, and Amazon warns employees they might miss promotions if they do not return to the office.

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I’m your host, James Roy.

Without much surprise, Microsoft’s AI assistant, Copilot was the overarching keyword at Ignite. 

It’s taking over all Microsoft products and services, whether you want it or not.

The company’s corporate vice president, Modern Work & Business Applications, Jared Spataro said: “We anticipate an AI-powered business process re-engineering wave that will sweep over every organization and every industry.”

Microsoft first unveiled Copilot for Service tasked to provide AI-guided answers and resources personalized for each customer service issue. That would cost $50 per user.

Then, Microsoft introduced Copilot for Sales, a seller experience application which can now be integrated with Microsoft Word and Teams. That also would cost $50.

The company’s CEO, Satya Nadella said that Microsoft has “over 1 million paid Copilot users in more than 37,000 organizations that subscribe to Copilot for business, with significant traction outside the United States.”

Source: ZDNET 

The cost of powering all these AI applications and workloads has been the bane of tech companies, leading them to splurge on the newest AI chips.

So Microsoft came up with its own to save on costs, called Azure Maia 100.

The goal is not really to take on other chip manufacturers, but instead to use the in-house chips to power its own subscription software offerings.

Microsoft said that the Maia chip, designed to run large language models, is one of the largest chips on 5-nanometer process technology and 105 billion transistors.

The company also introduced its first microprocessor built in-house for cloud computing, the Azure Cobalt 100. Cobalt is designed to be both an internal cost saver and an answer to Amazon Web Services, which also recently released a slew of chips.

Source: Reuters, ZDNET

OpenAI had kind of a good news bad news day as it was forced to temporarily ban new signups on ChatGPT Plus, due to soaring demand.

ChatGPT Plus, the premium version of the chatbot comes with extra features, including the newest GPTs. ChatGPT Plus costs $20 per month.

The company’s CEO Sam Altman tweeted, “We are pausing new ChatGPT Plus sign-ups for a bit. The surge in usage post devday has exceeded our capacity and we want to make sure everyone has a great experience. You can still sign-up to be notified within the app when subs reopen.”

This decision came right after Altman admitted that the company needs new investments to pay for the excruciatingly high costs of operating and training ChatGPT. Altman said he hoped Microsoft would continue to invest in the company, after it poured in more than $10 billion earlier this year. 

But the relationship between the two companies has been complicated, vacillating between competition and partnership. 

And meanwhile, ChatGPT has been plagued with frequent server failures, while privacy advocates have been on its case.

Source: Forbes

Amazon is not giving up on its crusade to send folks back to the office desk.

The company is now warning employees that they might miss a promotion if they do not return to the office (RTO) for three days a week, as was mandated by CEO Andy Jassy months ago.

An internal announcement said, “Managers own the promotion process, which means it is their responsibility to support your growth through regular conversations and stretch assignments, and to complete all required inputs for promotion. If your role is expected to work from the office 3+ days a week and you are not in compliance, your manager will be made aware and VP approval will be required.”

This new strategy comes after Amazon demanded that employees relocate to the nearest hub, or resign, while managers were given the freedom to lay off those that are non-compliant.

Meta and Google, to Zoom, Roblox, IBM, Salesforce, and more have also pushed Return To Office mandates to employees.

Source: The Register

Asus recently released a high-end motherboard that cosmetically draws inspiration from the anime series “Evangelion”. 

That motherboard gained unwanted attention because of the misprint of the logo which reads Evangenlion instead of Evangelion.

Users started reporting the misspelling in September, and Asus remained mum since then, likely hoping it’ll never make the news.

It’s a single letter and purely aesthetic but now Asus is acknowledging that this error on a $700 motherboard is significant enough to warrant replacement, likely at no additional cost.

Plus Asus extended the warranty by one additional year and said that it will provide a corrected decorative part that end-users can use to replace the misprinted part.

Users who have already installed the motherboard are asked to disassemble it themselves if they want to return it.

Source: Videocardz

Forward Health launched a self-contained, standalone medical station called the CarePod.

CarePod users can, for instance, get their blood drawn, throat swabbed, blood pressure read,  and do most of the frontline clinical work performed in primary care offices, without a doctor or a nurse.

Meanwhile, AI powers the diagnosis, and behind the scenes, doctors write the appropriate prescription, which is available nearly immediately.

Each CarePod is staffed with an attendant who can answer basic questions. These attendants do not join the patient in the pods. Users can speak to a doctor through the mobile app if they have a medical question.

All this for $99 a month.

Its secret sauce is its custom-built LLM, which is trained to find the latest research papers and extract the clinical protocol.

The company also touted its security practices for data encryption and access control, adding it will not and does not sell any personal data.

CarePods will soon be located in malls, gyms and office buildings. Anybody feeling faint?

Source: TechCrunch

And that’s the top tech news for today.

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I’m your host, James Roy – have a Thrilling Thursday!

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