Latest Tech News

LinkedIn Plans to Release In-app Games on the Social Platform
LinkedIn, the social platform for the workplace, is working on a new feature: games, with app researcher Nima Owji posting a series of screenshots on X showing some of the games that LinkedIn is working on and saying that employees’ scores will affect their company’s ranking in the games. LinkedIn later confirmed the plans to outside media outlet TechCrunch and said it is adding puzzle-based games to the LinkedIn experience to unleash some fun, deepen relationships and hopefully spark conversations. Games currently in development for LinkedIn include Queens, Inference and Crossclimb. However, it is unclear when the games feature will go live and whether it will be available to free users.

BitTorrent Traffic No Longer Dominates
According to YooSecurity, a report released last week by Canadian broadband management company Sandvine, BitTorrent has dropped out of the list of top web apps in terms of upload and download traffic, marking the end of an era.

In 2023, the top uploaded apps by average daily traffic will be iCloud on desktop and TikTok on mobile, while the top downloaded app will be YouTube on both ends of the spectrum. By way of comparison, in 2004, studies showed that BitTorrent accounted for 35 percent of all Internet traffic, and in 2013 it still accounted for about a third of all uploads. In 2013, BitTorrent still accounted for roughly one-third of all upload traffic.

SpaceX Exposed as Signing Spy Satellite Contract with U.S. Department of Defense
On March 17, Reuters reported that multiple sources have separately alleged that SpaceX has signed a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense’s National Reconnaissance Office to build a network of low-orbiting spy satellites that will operate in swarms to track targets on the ground. Previously, the Wall Street Journal reported that SpaceX had signed a $1.8 billion contract in 2021 with an unnamed organization. The network, known as StarShield, utilizes large imaging satellites to collect data and relay satellites to transmit the information, allowing for the continuous collection of images of the Earth for the U.S. intelligence community.

xAI Open Sources Grok-1 Model
On March 17, Musk’s xAI publicly released the code and model weights for the Grok-1 model released on GitHub, both under the Apache 2 open source license. The file is of 318.24GB in size and are available for download via magnetic links.

According to the accompanying blog post, Grok-1 was trained from scratch in October 2023 using a homebrew training tool written in JAX and Rust, with a parameter count of 314B for a Mixture-of-Experts model; for each token being processed, 25% of the total number of parameters are actually called. According to the blurb, the model may require a large amount of video memory to run (about 320GB as a rule). The article gives no information about the training dataset, only that it was trained on a large amount of textual data, with no fine-tuning performed for any particular task.

Musk officially announced the formation of xAI on July 12, 2023, with the intention of making the end of the year and the day of the month add up to 42, echoing the company’s goal of supposedly ‘understanding the universe’. xAI launched Grok, a chat AI robot, as a paid subscription feature of X on November 4, featuring its ‘straight-talking’. xAI also announced the creation of xAnimals, a new AI robot, on March 11, 2024, after suing OpenAI, a company that it co-founded, for ‘returning to its roots’. On March 11, 2024, Musk posted on X that the model Grok was based on would be open-sourced within a week. Musk had claimed in January that Grok-1.5 would have substantial improvements across the board and was to be released in February, but it has not yet been released.

U.S. Raises Broadband Standards to 100 Megabits
On March 14, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted (3 vs 2) and passed the resolution that raises broadband service standards to no less than 100 Mbps downstream and 20 Mbps upstream, the first time the U.S. has raised broadband standards since January 2015, when speeds were raised to the 25Mbp/3Mbps standard. It also sets a long-term goal of 1Gbps/500Mbps.

The FCC’s broadband standards are largely symbolic, but can indirectly influence future regulatory measures. U.S. law requires the FCC to periodically assess “whether advanced telecommunications technologies are being deployed in a reasonable and timely manner for all members of the public” and to “take action to accelerate deployment and promote competition.” In the Trump era, the Republican-dominated FCC has argued that 25Mbps/3Mbps bandwidth is still sufficient without intervention. And the new report concludes that some 24 million Americans do not yet have access to fixed broadband services, including 28% of rural residents and 23% of tribal residents.

According to the China Broadband Development White Paper (2023) released by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), by the end of September 2023, the number of 10G PON ports with Gigabit network service capacity in China will account for more than 60% of the total number of 10G PON ports in the country, making it the mainstream access method for fixed fiber optic networks. The proportion of fixed broadband users with speeds of 1 gigabit and above reached 23%. According to the communications industry standard YD/T 3328-2018 Requirements for the Configuration of Upstream and Downstream Rates for Public Fixed Broadband Access, the ratio of upstream and downstream rates for public fixed broadband access should be no less than 1:5.

U.S. Bill to Force Sale of TikTok Moves Slowly in Senate
Although the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to force the sale of TikTok by a majority last week, the bill has yet to be voted on in the Senate, and the status quo suggests that this may not happen anytime soon, according to a report by The New York Times.

A spokesperson for current Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer reportedly said that no decision has been made on whether to bring the bill to a vote. A number of other senators either have different proposals for the content of the bill or want to prioritize other issues. If the House version is amended so that it can pass the Senate, it could be very time-consuming. This slow progress in the Senate would lead to weeks or even months of uncertainty about TikTok’s fate in the United States. Staffers say the Senate office has received hundreds of calls and voicemails from TikTok users in recent days, and many of the calls appear to be from minors.

Separately, analysts estimate the value of TikTok’s USA business at $100 billion, or $40 billion without the recommendation algorithm, Axios reported. Currently, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and former Activision CEO Bobby Kotick are both rallying investment for a possible bid.

On the afternoon of March 14, Ministry of Commerce spokesman He Yadong answered reporters’ questions at a press conference, saying that the U.S. side should effectively respect the market economy and the principle of fair competition, stop unreasonably suppressing other countries’ enterprises, and provide an open, fair and just, and non-discriminatory environment for enterprises from all countries to invest and operate in the U.S. Relevant parties should strictly abide by China’s laws and regulations, and the Chinese side will take all the necessary measures to resolutely safeguard its legitimate rights and interests.