It’s Blerdcon Thursday, y’all. It’s time for the Top Tech News of the Week! I’m on with Mark Starling, John, and the First News 570 crew. It’s another week, without Elon dominating the headlines. This week’s top tech stories: the US government announces new post-Quantum encryption, Rivian finally delivers its trucks, and Meta open sources bold language translation AI. You can listen to me and Mark Starling point and laugh at all things tech every Thursday at 643 am ET live on the radio or the iHeartRadio app.
The electric truck company, Rivian, has finally started delivering its highly anticipated trucks and SUVs. The company was known for delivering Amazon’s electric delivery vehicles and finally deliver 4,401 vehicles last quarter. That number pales in comparison to the 254 thousand Teslas, or the sales leader, GM’s, 578 thousand cars last quarter. But it is something considering they are niche electric vehicle maker. GM only sold 7,700 plug-in electric cars last quarter, so Rivian is competing in that segment. Rivian will need to deliver more than 18,000 vehicles this year to meet its annual goal.
Yesterday, Meta open sourced a language translator that’s capable of translating over 200 languages. The software, NLLB-200, is an AI service trained on more than 50 billion parameters. Meta is boasting translations for many languages not well supported by other services like Google’s. They claim NLLB-200 translates over 50 African languages not normally supported elsewhere. NLLB-200 is more than 44% accurate compared with other tools. The company is providing up to $200,000 in grants to help non-profits adopt the technology. They’ve teamed up with Wikimedia to translate Wikipedia using NLLB-200. Facebook’s head of AI says that, “No Language [will be] Left Behind.”
Quantum computing has cryptologists and governments scared. Quantum computing uses weird aspects of how subatomic particles behave in space and time to make increasingly complex predictions. Many theorists predict Quantum will make today’s encryption look like Little Orphan Annie Decoder Rings. The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced four new encryption standards that should thwart quantum hackers. The new post-quantum-computing algorithms have cool names: CRYSTALS-Kyber, CRYSTALS-Dilithium, FALCON, and SPHINCS+. Current encryption uses mathematical properties of multiplying large, prime numbers to generate unique keys for encrypting values. In 2019, a team broke a 795-bit key (a very, very large number) and it has people concerned.
I don’t usually get into entertainment news, but I think it’s a remarkable achievement. Stranger Things Season 4 is Netflix’s second show to get over 1 billion watch hours. I think Sabrina and I are the ones who actually put them over since we started the season 1 day before the billionth hour was watched. As of yesterday, 1.15 billion hours of human mental space was dedicated to watching Stranger Things 4. The most popular show is Squid Game, which I have never seen. Not even a minute.
Speaking of watch hours…thanks for listening to The Cloud. Our second episode about AI and its impact on communities of color has gotten some great feedback. Our next episode will explore crypto and if it’s the future of money. Please listen, subscribe, and leave feedback for The Cloud on your local podcast listening station. It helps.
If you come to this weekend’s Blerdcon, please stop by and say hi.