Tech News: 5 Things to Know in Australia Today

Tech News: 5 Things to Know in Australia Today

Good morning. We’re halfway through the week, so how about we get into the tech news.

1. Ugh

The Australian reported that 198 Optus staff have been made redundant after a recent review. The layoffs heavily impact one of Optus’ newest divisions, which was focused on installing smart home gadgets. “We have recently undertaken a review and are taking steps to simplify our business while still investing in those areas we know matter to our customers,” an Optus spokeswoman said to The Australian. “As part of this review, we are realigning some teams across our business.”

2. Oh yay, there’s more

Sony is laying off about 900 people (8 per cent of its global workforce) in its PlayStation division, including developers at the company. “These are incredibly talented people who have been part of our success, and we are very grateful for their contributions. However, the industry has changed immensely, and we need to future ready ourselves to set the business up for what lies ahead,” Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan said. The company is currently considering closing its London studio entirely.

3. Apple car reportedly axed

Via Bloomberg, Apple has reportedly scrapped its plans for an electric car, previously known as project Titan. Sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that some 2,000 employees in the car division were told by chief operating officer Jeff Williams and vice president Kevin Lynch that efforts on the electric car plan would be wrapped up. The teams are being shifted to, you guessed it, generative AI development.

4. Tumblr and WordPress to sell user data to train AI models

The Verge (via 404 Media) is reporting that, according to documents 404 has viewed, Tumblr staff have been compiling user data as part of an in-development deal with Midjourney and OpenAI – including content that isn’t publicly visible. Automattic, the owner of Tumblr and WordPress, reportedly plans to launch an opt-out toggle soon, but it appears to be another example of big social media websites selling user data to train AI.

5. Microsoft signs with MistralAI

Microsoft has signed a deal with competing AI company MistralAI that could lessen the tech giant’s reliance on OpenAI for supplying its chatbots for products. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but it’s a big deal for the Paris-based startup, which supposedly provides a product that is in the same league as OpenAI’s GPT-4.

BONUS ITEM: Every photo from that Willy Wonka ‘immersive’ event sure is a… World of pure imagination.

Have a nice day!

Image: iStock

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