TL;DR: This week in AI, researchers pioneer a method for detecting hallucinations in large language models. In cybersecurity, the U.S's new National Cybersecurity Strategy Implementation Plan focuses on resilience and international alliances. Apple faces criticism after declining to pay Kaspersky Lab a bug bounty reward. Developers can now enjoy the power of local AI execution with the Ollama module, and the AI-powered future of smartphones is discussed by Nothing's CEO. Meanwhile, the growing IT skills shortage threatens to cause major revenue loss by 2026.

Artificial Intelligence

Uncovering Model Uncertainty: Detecting Hallucinations in Large Language Models with Epistemic and Aleatoric Metrics (~2 min.) : Researchers have developed a method to quantify uncertainty in large language models (LLMs), specifically identifying when epistemic uncertainty (lack of knowledge about facts or language) is high, making model outputs unreliable. This approach uses an information-theoretic metric that can detect hallucinations (unreliable responses) in both single- and multi-answer scenarios. The method involves iterative prompting based on previous responses and can amplify the probabilities assigned to a given output by the LLM. Experimental results demonstrate the advantages of this formulation over standard uncertainty quantification strategies.


FBI Cyber Chief Outlines Bold Steps Against Cyber Threats at Boston Conference (~1 min.) : Bryan Vorndran, Assistant Director of the FBI Cyber Division, delivered a keynote at the 2024 Boston Conference on Cyber Security, emphasizing a multi-faceted strategy to combat cybercriminals and nation-state threats. Vorndran highlighted recent successful operations against malware-as-a-service providers, botnets, and ransomware groups, including a major takedown of the LockBit ransomware network. He underscored the importance of partnerships across public and private sectors and urged companies to enhance their cyber defenses and incident response plans.

National Cybersecurity Strategy 2.0: New Initiatives for a Secure Future (~4 min.) : The U.S. administration has released Version 2 of the National Cybersecurity Strategy Implementation Plan, adding 31 new initiatives to the existing 27. This updated plan focuses on enhancing the resilience of critical infrastructure, disrupting cyber threats through increased collaboration, and promoting safer software development. It also emphasizes the importance of international partnerships and improving cybersecurity workforce training. Private sector organizations should prepare for increased collaboration and new cybersecurity standards as these initiatives are implemented.

Apple’s Bug Bounty Blues: Kaspersky Uncovers iPhone Zero-Days, but Apple Declines to Pay Up (~5 min.) : Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cybersecurity company, discovered four zero-day vulnerabilities in iPhone software that were allegedly used to spy on Kaspersky employees and Russian diplomats. Despite disclosing the vulnerabilities, Apple declined to issue a bug bounty reward, citing its dedicated policy. The discovery was part of a suspected state-sponsored spying campaign, dubbed “Operation Triangulation,” which targeted several dozen iPhones. The refusal to pay out a bounty has raised concerns about potential collaboration between Apple and the US government in enabling espionage on Russian diplomats.


AI Profiling and the Right to Privacy: Why We Need Protection (~57 min.) : AI’s ability to predict health conditions using social media data raises significant privacy concerns. This article argues for a unique legal right protecting individuals from AI profiling based on publicly available data without informed consent. The author presents three core arguments: AI profiling increases social control and stigmatization, existing GDPR regulations are insufficient, and such profiling poses unique threats compared to other data processing forms. The discussion highlights the need for explicit legal safeguards to prevent misuse and protect individual autonomy.


Unlock the Power of Type-Safe Development with Effect: Revolutionize Your TypeScript Experience! (~4 min.) : Effect is a standard library for TypeScript that provides a solid foundation of data structures, utilities, and abstractions to make building applications easier. It offers maximum type-safety, error handling, and composable code, making it ideal for large-scale applications. Effect also provides built-in support for tracing, metrics, and error handling, as well as integration with popular tech stacks. With its powerful abstractions and extensive library, Effect helps developers write more maintainable, scalable, and robust code in TypeScript.

Unlocking AI Power: Command-Line Mastery with Ollama Module (~1 min.) : The Ollama module is a command-line client tool that enables local deployment and interaction with large language models. Users can install, view locally downloaded models, download mistral models, translate file content into Chinese, and engage in chat requests using the ollama command. The module uses POSIX Shell, AWK, and Curl to implement its functionality, making it a powerful tool for developers and tech enthusiasts. With the Ollama module, users can leverage large language models on their local machines, opening up possibilities for AI-powered applications and research.


Last of Us Season 2: Shorter But Sweeter - Craig Mazin Teases Multi-Season Storytelling Ahead! (~3 min.) : The Last of Us season 2 will be shorter than the first season, with only 7 episodes instead of 9. Co-creator Craig Mazin explained that the story material from The Last of Us Part II requires at least two seasons to fully cover, and possibly three. Despite this, Mazin is confident that additional seasons are coming, as there’s still more story to tell after season 2 concludes. The second season is expected to premiere in 2025, with new cast members including Kaitlyn Dever as Abby and Isabela Merced as Dina.

New Horror Alert: Alien Franchise Returns to Roots with Gory ‘Romulus’ Trailer! (~1 min.) : The first full trailer for “Alien: Romulus” has been released, promising a return to the horror roots of the Alien franchise. The standalone film, directed by Fede Álvarez, follows a group of scavengers on an abandoned space station who become prey to a deadly xenomorph. With a small cast and dark setting, the movie appears to stick to the core elements that made the original films successful. “Alien: Romulus” is set to hit theaters on August 16th.


Battery Blunder: Humane Urges AI Pin Owners to Halt Charging Case Use Due to Fire Risk (~3 min.) : Humane is advising AI Pin owners to stop using the charging case that came with their device due to a quality issue with third-party battery cells that may pose a fire safety risk. The company has identified a problem with certain battery cells supplied by a vendor that no longer meets Humane’s quality standards. While the affected battery cells are isolated only to the charging case accessory, users should stop using it until further notice. As a gesture of goodwill, Humane is offering two free months of its subscription service.

AI Awakens: Nothing CEO Reveals Future of Smartphones - A New Era of Personalization and Intelligence (~3 min.) : Nothing CEO Carl Pei has published a video claiming that smartphones are on the cusp of a major AI-driven transformation, with the upcoming Phone 3 being the company’s first true AI phone. The device will reportedly bring a personalized voice assistant and dynamic homescreen to the forefront, allowing users to interact with their phones in a more intuitive and predictive way. According to Pei, this marks a shift away from the traditional app-centric model, with AI enabling smartphones to anticipate and fulfill users’ needs without requiring explicit input. The goal is to make smartphones feel more like intelligent companions that understand users’ habits and preferences.

Snap, Store, Smile: Photon’s Revolutionary Camera Keeps Your Photos Safe and Sound for Years to Come! (~2 min.) : The Photon camera is a unique device that can capture up to 50,000 photos on a single charge and has a fully open-source hardware and software. It features time-based and motion-based capture modes, as well as RAW image capture for high-fidelity photos. The device is designed with security in mind, using no Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or cellular connectivity, making it “simply unhackable.” Its tiny form factor and water-resistant design make it perfect for capturing moments outdoors.

Sound Battle: Sonos Ace vs AirPods Max - Which Wireless Headphones Reign Supreme? (~6 min.) : The Sonos Ace headphones have been compared to Apple’s AirPods Max in terms of design, features, and sound quality. Both are over-ear headphones with premium looks, but the Sonos Ace has a more minimalist aesthetic and is lighter and more comfortable to wear due to its recycled plastic ear cups and vegan leather headband. The Sonos app offers an adjustable EQ for tweaking sound to personal preference, whereas the AirPods Max does not. Both support spatial audio and Dolby Atmos, and have similar Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency options. However, the Sonos Ace has a longer battery life (30 hours vs 20 hours) and uses USB-C, while the AirPods Max still uses Lightning. The Sonos Ace is also $100 cheaper than the AirPods Max.

Everything Else

The Forgotten History of Chinese Keyboards (~15 min.) : This article delves into the rich history of Chinese input systems before the advent of QWERTY keyboards with software interfaces. Based on Thomas S. Mullaney’s book, it highlights how engineers like Chan-hui Yeh pioneered innovative designs such as the IPX keyboard, which could encode nearly 20,000 Chinese characters without using QWERTY. Despite these advancements, the eventual dominance of personal computers and software-driven input methods led to the resurgence of QWERTY-based systems, fundamentally transforming Chinese digital interaction.

HP May Pin Down Acquisition of Humane’s AI Wearable for $1B+ (~2 min.) : Humane, the company behind the AI Pin wearable computer, is reportedly in talks with HP about selling itself for over $1 billion, just weeks after its product was widely panned by critics. The AI Pin’s poor performance has been attributed to overheating and fire safety risks, and Humane executives have faced criticism for ignoring warnings about the device’s battery life and power consumption. Despite receiving only 10,000 orders out of a goal of 100,000 units sold this year, Humane co-founders Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno remain optimistic about their product’s future.

IT Skills Crisis: AI’s Double Whammy Hits Bottom Line, As Experts Warn of $5.5 Trillion in Lost Revenue by 2026 (~7 min.) : A growing IT skills shortage is hindering organizations from completing digitization projects and adopting new technologies, including generative AI (genAI). According to an IDC survey, nearly two-thirds of IT leaders reported that a lack of skills has resulted in missed revenue growth objectives, quality problems, and a decline in customer satisfaction. The shortage is expected to worsen, with IDC predicting that by 2026, over 90% of organizations will feel the pain of the IT skills crisis, resulting in losses of $5.5 trillion. To address this issue, enterprises must find creative ways to hire, train, and upskill their employees, fostering a culture of learning and utilizing AI-powered training tools to augment human skills.

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!