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Tech news for the week 4-10 February 2023

5 min readArticles

From the changing tides of the tech industry to the latest updates from Alibaba, Netflix and Cloudflare, the week of 4-10 February 2023 was a whirlwind of news and events. Whether you’re a tech enthusiast or just curious, let’s dive into the world of tech and see what the last week had to offer!

Alibaba is working on a ChatGPT rival

The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba announced on Wednesday that it is developing its own version of the popular chatbot ChatGPT. This comes as many tech firms have been pursuing the same technology. In response to the news, Alibaba’s stock prices rose 3% in pre-market trading in the United States.

ChatGPT is a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that can answer questions, write essays, and even create code. It is powered by a large language model, which utilizes a huge amount of data to understand and generate conversation. Since 2017, Alibaba has been researching and developing this generative AI technology. At present, it is being tested internally and a formal launch date has yet to be confirmed.

The development of ChatGPT has initiated a contest of AI capabilities among the largest tech firms. Microsoft recently invested in OpenAI and declared an AI-powered Bing search engine and Edge browser that are based on ChatGPT. Similarly, this week Google declared its AI chatbot, called Bard, as part of a ‘code red’ plan to compete with ChatGPT.

In addition to this, this week, Chinese search giant Baidu declared it is trialing its own chatbot, called “Ernie Bot” in English or “Wenxin Yiyan” in Chinese. News of this sent its shares soaring, showing investors’ enthusiasm for the technology.

Additionally, Alibaba, the biggest cloud computing company and e-commerce provider in China, suggested that its own chatbot could be incorporated in its products. A spokesperson for Alibaba remarked to CNBC, “As a technology leader, we will continue to invest in turning cutting-edge innovations into value-added applications for our customers as well as their end-users through cloud services”.

Netflix extends crackdown on password sharing to more countries

Netflix is now implementing limits on password sharing in four additional countries, such as Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain, requiring customers in those countries to pay an extra fee for their friends and family outside their households to access their subscription. This follows a recent action against password sharing in South America. It has been estimated that around 100 million people worldwide share accounts, which has had a detrimental effect on Netflix’s ability to finance new programming content. The business is planning to expand this approach to more countries in the coming months.

On Wednesday in its blog post Netflix mentioned: “Over the last year, we’ve been exploring different approaches to address this issue in Latin America, and we’re now ready to roll them out more broadly in the coming months, starting today in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain”.

Until recently, subscribers had no difficulty in providing their login information as well as password to friends and family living outside their home. This was seen to be supported by Netflix, who famously tweeted “Love is sharing a password” in 2017.

However, with the intensifying rivalry in the streaming market, and customers cutting back on subscriptions due to financial issues, Netflix is attempting to reinforce its profits. The company reported that allowing accounts to be used by multiple individuals in the same household has “generated uncertainty” regarding when and how they could share.

According to Netflix, members in Canada, New Zealand, Spain and Portugal would now be asked to set up their “primary location” for their accounts and regulate who they have admittance.

Cloudflare can help you set up your own Mastodon server in ‘minutes’

Cloudflare has come out with Wildbeest, a creation that makes it easy for people to establish and maintain their own Mastodon-compatible servers. This brings out one of Mastodon’s major benefits over centralized services like Twitter, which is that anyone can host their own instance of the microblogging service, connecting it to the wider network (aka Fediverse).

In a co-authored blog post Cloudflare’s Celso Martinho and Sven Sauleau wrote, “You can quickly deploy your Mastodon-compatible server on top of Cloudflare and connect it to the Fediverse in minutes,” they also mentioned “You don’t need to worry about maintaining or protecting it from abuse or attacks; Cloudflare will do it for you automatically.”

Cloudflare’s Wildebeest assists with configuring and maintaining Mastodon’s software, enabling you to take advantage of running your own personal area of social media, including owning authority over your personal data. Cloudflare has stressed that, while its systems may help with the arrangement and administration of a server, you are ultimately in control. Martinho and Sauleau state that, “Wildebeest is not a managed service, it is your instance, data, and code running in our cloud under your Cloudflare account.”

Cloudflare characterizes Wildebeest as a “minimally sufficient Mastodon-compatible server.” It is compatible with “most” famous web, work area, and portable Mastodon customers (in spite of the fact that the team says it is as yet researching similarity with the prevalent Mastodon customer Ivory), and supports basic Mastodon features such as editing, publishing, boosting, and erasing toots. Text and picture posts are supported; however, video is coming later on.


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