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Business Tech Roundup: Apple’s New AI-Powered Device

By April 21, 2024No Comments

(This column originally appeared in Forbes)


Here are five things in tech that happened this week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — iOS 18: The latest on Apple’s plans for on-device AI.

At this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June, Apple will announce the iOS 18. This “on-device” AI-powered system won’t require a connection to a cloud server — giving iPhones a major performance upgrade. Applications such as Siri will have enhanced intelligence akin to chatbots. Apple Music will have an automated playlist function, plus a series of other upgrades to be announced. There’s also been a lot of chatter that Apple is focusing on privacy issues which this AI system will reinforce. Reports from the tech community indicate iOS 18 will be released in September 2024. The conference will be online from June 10 through the 14 th. (Source: 9to5 Mac)

Why this is important for your business:

Whenever I speak about AI to business groups I usually focus on Microsoft, Google, OpenAI and other players, but rarely mention Apple. Why? Because Apple’s AI strategy is different. Rather than releasing AI products, they’re quietly and quickly building AI into their existing products so that both business and consumer users can benefit.

2 — Scammers target LastPass employee with CEO audio deepfake.

A cyber incident making headlines this week involves another deepfake scheme. Password application LastPass has alerted the public of fraudulent calls from individuals posing as employers using deepfake audio after the company was hit with such an attack. The infiltrator created a WhatsApp account and contacted a LastPass employee pretending to be the CEO, Karim Toubba. Among the communications was a “forced urgency” message with the goal of coercing the employee. In this case, it was flagged right away, and the employee immediately reported the situation. Afterward, LastPass posted a warning on its website about the “proliferation of ‘deepfake’ technology.” No damages were incurred by the attempt. (Source: PCMag)

Why this is important for your business:

It’s not comforting that deepfake scammers are focusing software vault companies like LastPass. But it is comforting to know that there are employees who can identify these types of scams. Yes, deepfake scams will continue to proliferate and become more and more discernible from real messages. But in the end it’s the human who has to let the bad actors in, and the more we ensure that our employees are trained and aware the more protected we’ll be.

3 — Space startups are licking their lips after NASA converts $11B Mars mission into a free-for-all.

In astronomy news, NASA’s Mars Sample Return mission is getting a major readjustment with the goal of bringing it closer to a reality. Original estimates placed the endeavor at $11 billion to successfully complete on a 15-year timeline. NASA administrator Bill Nelson has concluded it’s too expensive and too long to fulfill a mission of this scale. “We need to look outside the box to find a way ahead that is both affordable and returns samples in a reasonable timeframe,” Nelson said at a press conference. (Source: TechCrunch)

Why this is important for your business:

With plans being reworked there’s a huge opportunity for startups and space companies to make their bid and propose the schematics at a lower cost. NASA plans to review proposals and seeks to shorten the mission to 2030.

4 — Zendesk unveils more features for the AI era.

CRM software company Zendesk has announced “Zendesk AI” to provide a faster and “more personalized” experience. With tools like AI agents who can perform faster and “more independently than the average bot,” complex customer interactions can be handled autonomously. The AI will also learn company policies to effectively handle complicated problem-solving tasks. It’s programmed to attend to unique customer needs while automating basic tasks like sending personalized emails. (Source: Martech Series)

Why this is important for your business:

Where are companies getting the most value from AI in 2024? It’s customer service. Large companies are investing millions in automated chatbots to be human-like agents. And many other software companies — like Zendesk — are spending millions on updating their software to leverage AI features. Whatever customer service platform you’re using, spend time with the software provider and learn what AI features they’re currently providing, or have planned.

5 — Squarespace rolls out new subscription features to help entrepreneurs easily earn recurring revenue.

Hosting and website builder Squarespace has announced new subscription features to help entrepreneurs monetize their content. (Source: Squarespace)

Why this is important for your business:

Features such as blog paywalls can be added to a website as a one-time or recurring payment. First readers will be given a brief preview of blog posts before moving forward. Videos can now be accessed through payment tiers to view an entire library or a select video content. Based on the amount of content available, bundles can be offered by including specific products like an e-book set at a specific price that would include a blog archive, for example.

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