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The Cyber Why: What We Read This Week...
... and why you should too! (07/11/23)
In this week’s Cyber Why we welcome you to a rollercoaster of viral tech adoption! Wiz rocketed to a $100M ARR in 18 months, ChatGPT scooped up a 100M user base in two months, but Instagram's Threads stole the spotlight, amassing 100M users in mere days. Meanwhile, with IPOs drying up and M&A dwindling, venture firms struggle to liquidate their overvalued stakes in private companies, sparking a potential buying opportunity in these so-called 'zombiecorns'. OpenAI and ChatGPT are battling lawsuits, with comedian Sarah Silverman leading the charge over alleged copyright infringements. And for some light-hearted tech, AI-powered robots at the UN summit claim they could run the world more effectively, minus the human bias - but let's not start the robot apocalypse panic just yet! All this and MORE in this week’s The Cyber Why!
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Zero To HERO In A Matter of DAYS!
Instagram’s Threads Surpasses 100 Million Users (The Verge)
$100M ARR in 18 mo: Wiz is the fastest-growing software company ever (Wiz Blog)
ChatGPT sets record for fastest-growing user base (Reuters)
Welcome to the breakneck world of viral adoption, folks! Let's do a quick recap, shall we? First, we've got Wiz blowing everyone's mind by becoming the fastest company to hit $100M in annual recurring revenue in a mere 18 months. Then, in walks, ChatGPT, shattering records by amassing 100M users within just two months of launching. But just when you thought the craziness had peaked, Instagram’s Threads arrived on the scene, amassing a staggering 100M users in only a few DAYS. That's right, DAYS! Sure, they had a bit of a leg up, leveraging Instagram's massive user base, but damn...that's some hyper-speed growth if I've ever seen it!
It's clear we're living in an era where the power of technology is not just influencing but dictating a wild pace of adoption. But, as they say, what goes up must come down, right? I can't help but question - will Threads' monumental hype meet an equally monumental reality, or will it crash spectacularly in a blaze of glory?
If you're fretting over privacy concerns on social media, don't sweat it. A fantastic link above compares the privacy of various platforms, including Meta’s Threads, Twitter, Bluesky, Mastodon, Spill, and Hive Social. And hey, I'm all in - I've created a Threads account (txshields). Don't be shy. Come connect with me there!
I Legit Forgot What Your Name Is!
Have you ever paused to consider how our yesterday shapes our today? It's an intrinsic part of our nature to believe that our memories define our identity and guide our future choices. But, isn't the real brain-teaser here HOW our grey matter concocts memories and decides which ones get a hall pass to stay? Is it possible to turbocharge our brain to a state of hyper-learning for extended periods, thereby enhancing the memories we hold dear?
Apparently, we're not too far off from cracking that enigma. The brainiacs over at UC San Francisco have been busy conducting several experiments on the humble Lymnaea mollusk, attempting to decipher the intricate process of how the brain etches memories. I guess this gives us a glimmer of hope that someday I might actually remember to do the things my better half asks me to do daily... but hey, let's not bet the farm on it just yet!
The Fastest Way To Burn Calories AND Cash!
Ever found yourself cruising the concrete on your e-bike, wishing you had an AI buddy to banter with during your journey? Nope, me neither. But evidently, there's SOMEONE out there with that exact wish. Enter the Urtopia Fusion E-Bike, now kitted out with a ChatGPT feature. You read that right, folks... we've got ourselves an e-bike with a brain! Venture through uncharted territory on your bike, and it'll serve you up a guided tour chock-full of historical tidbits about your surroundings.
The caveat? The bike's brain doesn't hold any intel post-2021. So, that fancy new eatery that just opened? Yeah, it's off your digital radar. Seems like I ought to pair my AI-infused e-bike ride with my ludicrously priced $3500 Apple AR ski goggles. Because why not add a cherry on top of this spectacle of splurging? That way, I can fully appreciate the uproarious laughter of onlookers as I pedal my way through the city, flaunting my talent for parting with cash at record speed.
Time To Buy The Zombiecorns!
It’s been less than 24 months since we saw the purchase at any price approach to private company investing. Pre-IPO companies only ever go up and to the right! Until they don’t. Now those venture firms that purchased stakes in private companies at outlandish valuations are looking for ways to return capital to their limited partners. At the end of the day, a venture fund is built around capital growth for the investors in the fund, and if you can’t return cash on an appropriate timeline, you won’t last long as a fund. With the IPO door shut and M&A activity at an all-time low, liquidity for venture investors is near zero. Even with steep discounts, only the top businesses can be liquidated - the rest of them will exist in zombiecorn land forever as they try to return to the unrealistic valuations they once had. If you can get a steep enough discount, now might be the best time in history to invest in privately held companies. Buy when there is blood in the streets!
It Might Be The LITTLE Claim That Counts
OpenAI and ChatGPT are certainly in the hot seat this week, finding themselves engulfed in a barrage of lawsuits that seem to multiply by the minute. It appears that people are pretty miffed at the fact that ChatGPT, with its omniscient AI mind, has had its digital tentacles wrapped around every conceivable thing on the internet. And among all these incensed individuals, the complaint that takes the gold medal in my book is the one lodged by Sarah Silverman.
Silverman alleges that both the giants of AI - Meta and OpenAI - have maliciously exploited their state-of-the-art AI systems, using copyrighted works that she's authored without her consent. Now, let's be clear here. She isn't exactly wrong. But when you look at the staggering range of data these AI systems have harvested, Silverman's suit seems a bit like a small fish in a gigantic ocean. These AI systems are walking encyclopedias, knowing everything there is to know, and amidst all this, it's a comedian's legal tantrum that might compel policymakers to reconsider the implications of copyright laws in this AI-dominated era. Ironic, isn't it?
But, let's not forget the humor amidst all this legal chaos. I mean, I do have a flair for snark. So, here are a few wisecracks that ChatGPT cooked up in what it claims to be a rendition of Sarah Silverman's comedic style. On reading these, I'm forced to wonder: Is Sarah Silverman just not that funny, or does ChatGPT still need to work on its impersonation game? The jury is out on this one!
You Ain’t So SCARY! (That’s when they get ya)
AI robots at UN reckon they could run the world better (Yahoo News)
At the AI for Good Global Summit, humanoid robots, equipped with advanced AI, touted their potential to rule the world more efficiently than humans, minus the emotional and biased human errors. Yet, they echoed the need for prudence in embracing AI, given its potential ramifications on employment and societal stability. The summit's goal was to harness AI's power to tackle global challenges like climate change, hunger, and social care. Sure, it sounds like the opening act of a robot uprising, but before you cue the 'Terminator' theme music, take a gander at their mugshots - not quite the mechanical nightmares you'd expect!
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