TL;DR: This week, we explore Rysana's Inversion that overhauls AI speed, reliability, and reasoning, along with Denmark's AI focused supercomputer, Gefion. Apple introduces a new approach to AI with the MM1 model while cybersecurity topics revolve around the alleged AT&T data breach, Firebase exposure, and hotel lock vulnerabilities. In entertainment, Star Wars reveals 'The Acolyte'. We also examine how language influences our perception of time, the impact of Freenom's shutdown on Cloudflare, and the Japanese concept "Ikigai". Privacy updates bring to light Glassdoor's invasive username collection and Mozilla's decision to end its partnership with Onerep.

Artificial Intelligence

Inversion: Revamping AI Speed, Reliability, and Reasoning (~8 min.) : Rysana introduces Inversion, a new generation of AI models designed to tackle speed, reliability, and reasoning issues found in existing systems. These models not only perform structured tasks like extraction and function calling with more efficiency but also do it nearly 100 times faster and with 10 times lower latency. The company, already working towards expanding access to these models, promises a continued focus on serving developers with performance upgrades and aims to leverage this technology to foster a future where AI and human intelligence synergistically enhance everyday life.

Denmark’s Giant Leap into AI: Building one of the World’s Most Powerful Supercomputers (~7 min.) : Denmark has partnered with tech giant NVIDIA to build one of the world’s most robust AI supercomputers in a new National Centre for AI Innovation. The aim is to fuel research and innovation in areas such as healthcare, environmental transition, and life sciences, with researchers gaining access to top-level NVIDIA technology and expertise. The centre, managed mainly by the Novo Nordisk Foundation and the Export and Investment Fund of Denmark (EIFO), anticipates its supercomputer, Gefion, to be functional by 2024.

Unveiling the MM1: Apple’s Revolutionary Approach to AI (~4 min.) : Apple researchers pioneer a method to train large AI language models, integrating text and visual information. This approach, detailed in a paper titled “MM1: Methods, Analysis & Insights from Multimodal LLM Pre-training”, uses diverse datasets to create a more accurate AI system. MM1 model’s success lies in its in-context learning abilities, offering breakthroughs in image captioning, question answering and language inference. This project is amid Apple’s wider initiative to fortify its AI prowess against the mounting competition.


Unraveling the Alleged AT&T Data Breach (~7 min.) : Troy Hunt, cybersecurity expert and founder of “Have I Been Pwned”, explores the alleged AT&T data breach that supposedly exposed 70 million customer records. AT&T maintains there is no evidence of a breach, yet an assortment of personal data appeared in what supposedly is a corpus of AT&T data dump. Hunt admits he can’t confirm the originating source, but proves the data’s validity, creating uncertainty and concern. It serves as a reminder of the complex machinations in our interconnected digital world.

Firebase Fiasco: Exposing 125 Million User Records (~4 min.) : A misconfigured Firebase security rule has led to the exposure of approximately 125 million user records, including plaintext passwords and sensitive billing information from hundreds of sites. The discovery came after exhaustive scans of internet domains for exposed Personally Identifiable Information (PII) via misconfigured Firebase instances. Sites significantly affected include online educational platform Silid LMS, an online gambling network, lead generator site Lead Carrot, and restaurant management app MyChefTool. Despite efforts to communicate the security breach, only 24% site owners rectified the misconfiguration and just 1% reached out for more information.

Hotel Havoc: Tech Team Break Hotel Locks Using “Unsaflok” Trick (~9 min.) : Researchers, Ian Carroll and Lennert Wouters, have exposed a major vulnerability in Saflok-brand RFID-based keycard locks from Dormakaba, Swiss lock maker, affecting thousands of hotels globally. Their hacking technique, named ‘Unsaflok’, manipulates weak spots in Dormakaba’s encryption and RFID system for almost instant access. Despite the vulnerability having been reported to Dormakaba in 2022, only around 36% of the installed Safloks have been updated as of this month, potentially leaving a vast number of hotel rooms at risk. The full fix is expected to take months; older installations may even require several years.


Glassdoor’s Privacy Invasion: Users’ Real Names Revealed Without Consent (~6 min.) : In a surprising move, popular website Glassdoor allegedly collected and added user’s real names to their profiles without explicit permission. The startling revelation came from a user who found her full name and city on her profile following an email exchange with customer support. Critics of this move argue it compromises users’ anonymity, posing potential risks in the event of a data breach or legal action demanding access to user data. The information collection raises serious privacy concerns, reflecting poorly on Glassdoor’s previous reputation as an “industry leader” in defence of users’ anonymity.

Mozilla Severs Ties with Onerep Following CEO’s Admissions (~5 min.) : Mozilla has decided to end its recent partnership with identity protection service Onerep, following revelations regarding Onerep CEO Dimitri Shelest’s involvement in people-search networks. Whilst bundled with Firefox, Onerep offered to exclude users from numerous people-search sites, however, KrebsOnSecurity exposed that Shelest had established many of these platforms over the years. The report forced Shelest to admit his association with Nuwber, a still-active data broker and one of many people-search services he launched since 2010. Mozilla stated that although customers’ data was never imperilled, Shelest’s activities do not align with their principles.


“Star Wars” The Acolyte: A Prequel Packed with Dark Surprises (~1 min.) : Set to be a prequel in Star Wars’ High Republic era, ‘The Acolyte’ reveals a Jedi Master’s (Lee Jung-jae) investigation into numerous gruesome murders. The suspense trails a deadly warrior (Amandla Stenberg), skilled in combating jedis, possessing possible ties to these crimes. With an ambiance of dark forces mobilising, the series is speculated to end in a brutal showdown when it debuts on June 4th.

Everything Else

Language’s Role in Shaping Our Perception of Time (~6 min.) : A study has revealed that our home language influences how we perceive the passage of time. According to research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, English and Swedish speakers tend to frame time as a distance to traverse, while Greek and Spanish speakers visualise it as a container to be filled. These metaphors in our language proved to profoundly influence how participants in the study estimated the “length” of time passed in an experiment. The study suggests that our language can shape our perception and cognitive processes to a greater extent than we might realise.

Cloudflare Cloud Burst: Million-Domain Loss Following Freenom Shutdown (~4 min.) : Cloudflare, a popular web-infrastructure and website-security provider, has seen a significant drop in the number of websites it hosts after FreeNom shut down approximately 12.6 million of its domains. This colossal decline led to an overall 22% decrease in sites hosted by Cloudflare, largely affecting domains with .tk, .cf, and .gq extensions. The shutdown stems from a series of events beginning last year when Freenom was sued by Meta for ignoring abuse complaints, leading to its exit from the domain name business on 12 February 2024.

Ikigai: Japan’s Secret to Mental Well-being (~5 min.) : A unique Japanese concept called “Ikigai”, roughly translated as reason for being, is gaining global attention due to its profound impact on mental and physical health. Ikigai is not about career or financial status but about feeling your life contributes positively to others’—providing a sense of purpose, reducing anxiety and boosting resilience. A number of researches highlight its positive effect on our overall well-being; one even associates Ikigai with longer lifespan. Therefore, embracing Ikigai might be an effective strategy for dealing with modern-age stress and uncertainties.

Thank you for joining me in this week’s exploration of the tech universe. Amidst the endless stream of information, I strive to bring you news that is not only relevant but also thought-provoking. Your thoughts and feedback are always welcome. Don’t forget to spread the word about the Friday Tech Focus Newsletter and stay tuned for more curated insights next week!