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News, Tech Roundup

Tech Beat by Namecheap – 19 May 2023

LinkedIn is a valuable resource for networking and finding jobs, but like every other social media platform, it’s got some pitfalls. These include fake profiles, scammers, and even spies. 

Learn more about spies on LinkedIn in this week’s news story.

In other news

  • Skyrim NPCs can make up new dialogue with ChatGPT mod. Another day, another weird new way to use ChatGPT. Futurism reports that a modder has created a way for non-player characters in the VR edition of the popular 2011 video game Skyrim to develop new dialogue and converse with the player. The Modder known as Art From The Machine improved Skyrim’s limited dialogue by combining xVASynth, a text-to-speech modulator, and Whisper, the speech-to-text model from OpenAI. The result is currently kind of strange because of how robotic and stilted the NPCs sound, but it will likely improve over time.
  • Millions of smart devices worldwide come pre-infected with malware. An article from The Register reports that many cheap Android mobile devices, smartwatches, TVs, and other smart devices are infected with malicious firmware before they’re even purchased. Trend Micro researchers at Black Hat Asia uncovered this alarming trend, explaining it likely began with brands outsourcing manufacturing to original equipment manufacturers and the price of firmware dropping. This cheap firmware can come with silent plugins that steal sensitive information, take over accounts, or commit monetization crimes like click fraud. These devices are available globally but are mostly located in Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe. Trend Micro advises avoiding cheaper phones and going for bigger brands might help customers bypass this issue, but it’s no guarantee. Their research showed that Samsung and Google devices were not impacted.
  • TikTok is exploring exclusive distribution deals with music creators. ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, is reportedly testing exclusive distribution deals with musicians through their new service called SoundOn. The service promises artists full control over their music with direct distribution to TikTok and other streaming services, 100% ownership and royalties paid directly to the musician, and promotional tools. Gizmodo reports that TikTok’s global head of music business development confirmed that the company is not interested in starting a record label, but rather focusing on distribution deals.
  • Google will soon change up the helpful content system algorithm. Google is set to introduce a new update to its helpful content system that aims to rank results in search more effectively. The update is designed to give Google Search a greater understanding of content created from an expert or personal point of view, thus allowing it to showcase more “hidden gems” in search results. Search Engine Land states the update is expected to roll out in the coming months, and it will reward better and more useful content that was written for humans and designed to help users. 
  • Training ChatGPT used enough water to fill a nuclear reactor’s cooling tower. New research suggests that training large language models (LLMs) like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard requires massive amounts of energy and water. Training for GPT-3 alone consumed 185,000 gallons of water, which is equivalent to filling a nuclear reactor’s cooling tower. An average user’s conversational exchange with ChatGPT requires the same amount of water as dumping a large bottle of fresh water on the ground. Gizmodo cites researchers who fear that the increasing popularity of chatbots could take a troubling toll on water supplies, especially amid historic droughts and looming environmental uncertainty in the US.
  • AI system detects pancreatic cancer. Researchers have developed an AI system that outperforms human radiologists in detecting early-stage pancreatic cancer. As reported in The Register, the AI algorithm trained on a large dataset of medical images, and offers promising potential for improving the early diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer. The system can detect the first signs of cancer up to three years before human doctors. The AI’s superior performance shows how machine learning technology can pave the way for more effective cancer detection and treatment strategies.
  • Plastic-eating fungi may be the answer to pollution. Scientists have discovered two species of fungi that can efficiently break down and consume polypropylene, a commonly used plastic that is rarely recycled. The fungi Aspergillus terreus and Engyodontium album, found in soil and plants, were found to degrade polypropylene within a matter of weeks after being treated with UV light, heat, or an acidic solution of hydrogen peroxide and ferrous iron. New Atlas describes how the fungi made relatively fast work of the plastic, reducing it by up to 27% over 90 days. 

Previously on Tech Beat: Location data

In our article Location Data: More Valuable Than You Think, we examined the importance and value of location data in today’s digital age. All of our mobile devices collect this data, which can be a powerful tool for both businesses and consumers. However, it also has the potential for abuse. Proper regulations and security measures are essential to prevent misuse and protect individual privacy.

Tip of the week: Elevate your LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn is a premier platform for networking and job hunting, but the best time to upgrade your profile is before you need to find that next gig. By crafting a standout LinkedIn profile, you can showcase your skills, experience, and personality to potential employers and colleagues, and be ready to go if and when it’s time for a career move.

  • Optimize your headline and summary. These sections should succinctly convey your professional identity and highlight your unique value proposition. Use keywords relevant to your industry and include any notable achievements or awards. Don’t be afraid to inject some personality into your summary – after all, you want to stand out from the crowd!
  • Make sure your experience section is up-to-date and comprehensive. List your current and past roles, along with your responsibilities and accomplishments in each position. Use bullet points to make this section easy to scan, and quantify your achievements whenever possible. This will give anyone who views your profile a clear idea of what you bring to the table.
  • Expand your skills section. You can showcase your expertise in specific areas, such as project management, digital marketing, or programming languages. Adding skills to your profile will make it easier for recruiters and hiring managers to find you when searching for candidates with those specific skills.
  • Add a professional-looking headshot. This will help you appear more approachable and professional on the platform. Make sure that the photo represents your personality and tells the story of what it’s like to work with you. 
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