TL;DR: This week's edition delves into Limitless' use of AI for personal growth and tackles the issue of AI-authored books on Kindle. A focus on AI innovation with the launch of Meta Llama 3, Mixtral 8x22B and Stable Diffusion 3 is also included. The Cybersecurity section informs about NSA's advice on AI security and the increasing threats to Open Source. Featured tools include the offline, user-friendly API Terminal ACAT. Finally, updates from entertainment and gadgets include the renewal of 'For All Mankind' and the launch of the Boring Phone.

Artificial Intelligence

Exploring Llama 3: The Next Level in AI from Meta (~1 min.) : Meta has introduced ‘Llama 3’, the latest version of its artificial intelligence model, designed to revolutionise user interactions with more refined conversation abilities and enhanced learning capabilities. This state-of-the-art AI promises to deliver more accurate and nuanced responses, opening new avenues for technology application in various fields. With an emphasis on maintaining ethical standards, Meta ensures that Llama 3 operates within robust privacy and security frameworks.

Revolutionary AI Model “Mixtral 8x22B” Sets New Industry Standards (~3 min.) : The newly unveiled Mixtral 8x22B is transforming the AI landscape with its sparse Mixture-of-Experts architecture, utilising just 39B of its total 141B parameters. Not only is it multilingual with proficiency in five languages but also excels in mathematics and coding tasks, significantly outperforming other models in efficiency and capability. The model’s ability to handle large contexts and its seamless integration into application development underscore its potential for modernising tech stacks. Released under the Apache 2.0 licence, Mixtral 8x22B champions open-source accessibility, fostering innovation across the AI community.

Revolutionising Imaginative AI: Stable Diffusion 3 Unveiled (~2 min.) : Stability AI has launched Stable Diffusion 3 and Stable Diffusion 3 Turbo, promising more formidable text-to-image generation capabilities than predecessors and competitors like DALL-E 3. The advanced Multimodal Diffusion Transformer architecture enhances text comprehension and spelling. Available via API with future plans for an open release, they also offer enterprise-grade solutions with Fireworks AI for robust service availability. Additionally, the developers maintain a strong focus on safety and responsible AI practices, ensuring the technology’s integrity and security as it evolves.

Limitless Enrichment: AI for Your Personal Growth (~3 min.) : Limitless, an innovative tech-startup, is seeking to utilise artificial intelligence (AI) to help individuals expand their capacities beyond mental constraints. This personalised AI, powered by your experiences and interactions, offers solutions like meeting preparations, automatic notes, and dependable summaries. Towards ensuring privacy, data is encrypted, anonymised and stored via the Limitless Confidential Cloud. This tool introduces a new and improved way to streamline your day and achieve increased productivity, while maintaining the highest standards of data confidentiality.


Open Source Under Siege: A Call for Vigilance and Systemic Change (~5 min.) : The OpenJS Foundation has flagged a serious security concern, revealing an attempted backdoor exploit in XZ Utils and subsequent similar threats targeting JavaScript projects essential to countless websites globally. In response, OpenJS has issued a comprehensive guide on identifying such cyber threats and enhancing security measures to protect open-source software and critical infrastructure. Additionally, this incident underscores the need for a paradigm shift towards more robust and proactive security practices in the OSS community, comparing the situation to outdated yet vital physical infrastructures that require systemic updates and government intervention for long-term sustainability.

Securing the Future: NSA’s guidance for AI Security (~2 min.) : The US National Security Agency (NSA), in collaboration with cyber security agencies from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK, has released guidelines on securely deploying and operating AI systems. This initiative, led by the NSA’s Artificial Intelligence Security Centre, aims to share cybersecurity guidance, AI expertise, and advanced threat analysis in response to potential malicious activities in the AI landscape. Although primarily intended for national security purposes, this guidance could be a valuable resource for any environment incorporating AI capabilities, particularly those in high-risk, high-value sectors.


ATAC: The Free, Account-less, Offline Terminal API Client (~5 min.) : ATAC (Arguably a Terminal API Client) is an API client designed to operate within your terminal without requiring any specific graphical environment. Described as free, account-less, and offline forever, ATAC follows the footsteps of well-known clients such as Postman and Insomnia. It allows managing collections and requests, working with all sorts of HTTP methods, and supports various authentication modes. Notably, ATAC works offline, storing data in your own, versionable, readable files, and it is deemed to be lightweight, fast, and efficient.


The Space Race Continues: “For All Mankind” Renewed with Soviet Spinoff “Star City” in the Works (~2 min.) : Apple TV Plus announces the renewal of “For All Mankind” for a fifth season and introduces a new spinoff series “Star City”. Set in an alternate history where the space race never ended, “Star City” will explore the lives of Soviet cosmonauts who played a pivotal role in the space endeavors, deepening the narrative from the Soviet perspective. As “For All Mankind” prepares to leap another decade in its storytelling, the new series by executive producers Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi promises a thrilling insight into the Soviet space saga, although details on casting and premiere dates remain undisclosed.


Back to Basics with “The Boring Phone” (~2 min.) : In alliance with Heineken and creative firm Bodega, HMD presents a nostalgia-infused venture, the Boring Phone. It’s a translucent flip phone devoid of apps, emphasising social interaction rather than screen time. Though it won’t be for sale, limited editions will be available through giveaways. With basic features, such as calling, texting and even a touch of Snake included, the Boring Phone suggests a cheeky return to simpler tech times.

Everything Else

Inflatable Ebooks: The New Rubbish Trend in Amazon’s Kindle Store (~19 min.) : Navigating Amazon’s Kindle store can now feel like traversing through a minefield of poorly written and misleading ebooks, largely due to the explosion in AI-generated content. With an increasing number of titles engaging in underhand tactics such as SEO manipulation, plagiarising established authors, and providing misinformation, this largely unregulated market is proving to be a challenge for readers looking for quality content. Quite worryingly, this dubious practice is also proving profitable for the perpetrators, who make money by teaching prospective authors how to churn out these low-quality offerings. The result is a low-return, high-volume business model that undermines genuine authors while misleading the readers. The majority of these fake books are the byproducts of AI software, keyword scrapers and cheap ghostwriters.

Atlas Steps into a New Epoch: Boston Dynamics Unveils Electric Prototype (~5 min.) : Boston Dynamics has announced the transition from hydraulic to fully electric Atlas robots, designed to tackle real-world applications. The next generation Atlas is a part of ongoing R&D efforts, now focusing on diverse customer uses, especially in industrial challenges. Initial tests and rollouts of the new Atlas will be carried out in collaboration with Hyundai, aiming to optimise applications in automotive manufacturing. This step forward not only enhances Atlas’s capabilities with stronger and more dexterous movements but also integrates AI and machine learning tools to ensure efficiency and adaptability in complex environments.

Transformations in Digital Media and Influencer Responsibility (~19 min.) : On the 10th anniversary of its subscription model, Stratechery reflects on its journey in transforming digital media through the paid newsletter model, which influenced platforms such as Substack. Creator Ben Thompson also discusses the broader implications of media evolution, particularly around the power and responsibilities of influencers like Marques Brownlee (MKBHD) in shaping public opinion and markets. The debate is fuelled by criticisms of Brownlee’s harsh review of the Humane AI Pin, illustrating the impactful role of digital content creators not only in tech journalism but also in the tech development arena itself. The discussion encapsulates the challenges and ethical considerations of media influence in the internet age, emphasising the need for integrity amidst wide-reaching digital platforms.

Cybertruck Deliveries Halted Over Pedal Problems (~3 min.) : Tesla has temporarily stopped all Cybertruck deliveries reportedly due to a mechanical issue with the truck’s accelerator pedal. Many customers awaiting their electric Tesla trucks were notified of an “unexpected delay”, leaving several disappointed. Although Tesla has remained quiet on the exact reason for this halt, observers say it is a positive step to rectify major issues before customers take delivery, despite the frustration it causes.

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!