Big Tech post strong earnings and revenue growth, but cuts jobs along with Telecom Vendors

Tech companies have been consistently laying off employees since late 2022. As of April 25th, some 266 tech companies have laid off nearly 75,000 workers in 2024, according to the independent layoff-tracking site  A total of 262,682 workers in tech lost their jobs in 2023 compared with 164,969 in 2022. The volume of layoffs in 2023 — a total of 1,186 companies — also surpassed 2022, when 1,061 companies in tech laid off workers — and that total was more than in 2020 and 2021 combined.

Big Tech companies Alphabet (Google’s parent), Amazon, Apple, Meta, Microsoft and Netflix, collectively cut nearly 45,500 jobs in their most recent full fiscal year. Since 2020, however, they have added more than 358,500, bringing total headcount to nearly 2,170,000. Excluding Amazon, which accounts for 70% of that figure, job numbers fell by around 29,700 last year but have grown by 131,500 since 2020 (data from earnings reports and SEC filings – see chart below).

  • Today, Amazon reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue for the first quarter, driven by growth in advertising and cloud computing. Operating income soared more than 200% in the period to $15.3 billion, far outpacing revenue growth, the latest sign that the company’s cost-cutting measures and focus on efficiency is bolstering its bottom line. AWS accounted for 62% of total operating profit. Net income also more than tripled to $10.4 billion, or 98 cents a share, from $3.17 billion, or 31 cents a share, a year ago. Sales increased 13% from $127.4 billion a year earlier.
  • Google parent Alphabet also posted robust profits, with net income in the latest quarter soaring 57% to $23.7 billion while revenue grew 15% in the quarter.  That’s despite job cuts of 12,115 and net headcount reduction of ~8,000 in 2023.
  • Microsoft last week managed 20% year-over-year growth in third-quarter net income, to around $21.9 billion, on 17% growth in sales, to $61.9 billion. The number of Microsoft employees was unchanged in 2023 from the previous year, despite the company laying off 11,158 employees.  Future headcount reductions may be necessary to help pay for Microsoft’s multi-billion-dollar splurge on AI and the data centers needed to train the Large Language Models and associated generative AI technology. But few expect job cuts to slow Microsoft down.


As expected, telecom vendors, which have many fewer employees, than Big Tech had a higher percentage of job reductions.  CommScope, Corning, Dell, Ericsson, and Nokia, suppliers to some of the world’s biggest telcos, shed nearly 36,500 jobs last year as large IT customers spent less on new equipment.

The following table shows the total number of jobs per year for many vendors/cloud service providers.


Source: Light Reading & company reports/SEC filings

Huawei was the exception to the telecom vendor layoff craze (even ZTE reduced its workforce in 2023). Despite U.S. sanctions and a European backlash against the company, Huawei gained 12,000 employees in 2022, giving it a workforce of 207,000 that year. The number was unchanged in 2023, according to its recently published annual report. Restrictions have not been as effective at hindering Huawei’s progress as the U.S. had hoped.

On the semiconductor side, Intel experienced a net workforce reduction of 7,100 jobs. Profits have tanked because of market share losses, a downturn in customer spending on equipment (explained partly by the earlier build-up of inventory that happened after the pandemic) and investments in new foundries designed to challenge the Asian giants of TSMC and Samsung. Big Tech moves to build in-house AI augmented processor chips that can substitute for Intel’s microprocessors are among the problems the company faces.   Intel’s profits have collapsed, just as they have at the mobile networks business group of silicon customer Nokia, and it is at risk of displacement by chip rivals in important markets.

These big tech layoffs are a peculiar outlier in an otherwise strong employment environment: The unemployment rate has hovered between 3.4% and 3.8% since Feb. 2022, bureau data shows.  And quit rates, which reflect a lack of worker confidence, this year are consistently at some of the highest levels in more than 20 years, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

In summary, Big Tech companies continue to thrive financially, but they are also making strategic adjustments, including job cuts, as they navigate the evolving landscape of technology and generative AI. The emphasis on AI development, large language models, and cloud services remains a key driver for their growth and profitability.  Telecom vendors are facing tremendous pain due to continued reduction in telco CAPEX which may persists for many years.



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Quintessent: Supporting “newer AI workloads” with lasers and DWDM

Integrated-photonics companies have increasingly seized on the opportunities in advanced AI.  Many are building high-speed optical interconnects for data centers, with the electrical–optical conversion as close as possible to the number-crunching GPU or application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC).

However, Goleta, CA based startup Quintessent, is focusing on solving what it says is a major bottleneck hindering commercial deployment of such high-speed optical interconnects for AI – the light source or laser, which is currently the “weakest link” in system reliability and scalability, according to co-founder and CEO, Alan Liu.

Quintessent’s answer lies in part in its laser technology, incorporating quantum dots (QDs)—the semiconductor nanocrystals celebrated in the 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry—and multiwavelength comb lasers. The firm believes that combination can boost bandwidth, improve efficiency and cut latency by enabling highly parallel dense wavelength-division multiplexed (DWDM) optical links for computing clusters and data centers. And in late March, the company announced that it had secured US$11.5 million in new seed funding to push its vision closer to commercialization.

Quintessent was co-founded in 2019 by Optica Fellow John Bowers of the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), USA, who serves as the company’s board chairman, and Liu, formerly a student in Bowers’ lab. In a conversation with OPN in November 2023, Liu noted that his Ph.D. work in the lab, which spanned the years from 2011 to 2017, focused on what he called “one of the glaring holes in silicon photonics”: how to integrate the light source. His work specifically involved integration of QD lasers with silicon photonics, which subsequently became “one of the core technologies for Quintessent.”

picture of Liu and Bowers

Quintessent co-founders Alan Liu (left) and John Bowers. Image: Courtesy of A. Liu.

Even at that time, Liu had some stirrings in the direction of commercializing the technology. Ultimately, though, after earning his Ph.D. in 2017, he left Santa Barbara for a two-year stint at a consulting firm in the Washington, DC, area. There, he worked as a subject-matter expert in photonics on projects for the US Department of Defense’s advanced-research arm, DARPA, and the US Department of Energy’s counterpart, ARPA-E.

Still, the entrepreneurial itch never quite left Liu. Nor did his fascination with the promise of QD laser technology, as he saw subsequent work done in Bowers’ lab to further advance the performance of those lasers and demonstrate new functions with them, including multiwavelength comb sources.

In 2019, Liu says, he got a call from Bowers, who noted that he was seeing “a lot of interest” from industry in the technology the lab was developing, but that there was “no company to sell it.” When Bowers asked if he wanted to help start one up, Liu recalls, “it didn’t take me long to sign on and say yes.” In the course of the next few years, they built Quintessent’s core team, drawing on numerous other contacts both within and outside of Bowers’ UCSB lab, and pulled in a mix of government R&D and venture funding, including the $11.5 million seed round announced in March 2024.  The business case for Quintessent, Liu says, rests largely on “some of the newer AI workloads that were coming into the fray” beginning in the late 2010s, and their immense appetite for computing resources and power.

“If you’re going to be optimizing for power efficiency and bandwidth and latency, the required architecture is one that’s wide and parallel,” he explains. And for optics, at some point, trying to achieve that level of parallelism by adding more and more spatial or fiber channels becomes unwieldy.

The alternative solution, Liu says, is a highly parallel DWDM architecture—using not lots of fibers but “lots of lambdas.” For the crushing workloads of advanced AI, DWDM is optimal, as it “allows you to both simultaneously optimize bandwidth and minimize power and latency,” without relying on digital signal processing or a potential rat’s nest of individual fiber interconnects to boost overall bandwidth.

One key for achieving that vision was “enabling a new kind of laser, and using that laser to enable new communication and transceiver architectures,” according to Liu. “That was a common gap I saw across the industry.” Particularly in the context of AI, Liu observes, a big argument for better lasers has to do with reliability.

Particularly in the context of AI, Liu observes, a big argument for better lasers—and especially for Quintessent’s concept of simplifying wavelength scaling using multiwavelength comb sources fabricated from InAs/GaAs QD material—has to do with reliability. “Optical solutions for AI are going to have to be at least an order of magnitude more reliable than what we see today in existing transceivers,” he maintains. “If you imagine a scenario where there’s 10 times more optics deployed, and your failure rates stay the same, then you’ve got 10 times more failures you’re asking the customer to deal with. That gets a little dicey.”

microscopy image

An atomic force microscopy (AFM) image of InAs/GaAs quantum dots. Image: Courtesy of A. Liu

Getting to better overall reliability will require much more reliable lasers, Liu believes, as lasers are “kind of the weakest link at the moment.” And he and the Quintessent team think that QD lasers offer a way forward, as they are “intrinsically more reliable than quantum well materials today.”

Tobias Egle, a materials scientist who works with M Ventures, one of the partners in the most recent Quintessent funding round, explained the difference further in a separate call with OPN. “These QD lasers are not as affected by material defects, dislocations and so on,” Egle says. “Simply put, a single dislocation through the facet or active region of a traditional laser can lead to complete failure. In contrast, when you have billions of QDs which are independent of one another, the presence of a single dislocation has a negligible impact on your overall performance.”

Quintessent experienced a milestone a year ago, when the company and Tower Semiconductor—the Israel-based global foundry firm with which Quintessent had partnered since 2021—announced that they had achieved what they called the world’s first heterogenous integration of GaAs quantum dot lasers in a commercial foundry silicon photonics process. The pair also unveiled a foundry silicon platform, PH18DB, targeted for the telecom and datacom optical transceiver market, and an accompanying process development kit (PDK).

Meanwhile, on the funding side, Quintessent announced an oversubscribed US$11.5 million seed round in March 2024, with an investment group led by Osage University Partners (OUP) and including, in addition to M Ventures, participation by previous Quintessent funders Sierra Ventures, Foothill Ventures and Entrada Ventures. In a press release accompanying the recent funding announcement, Liu said the new money would let the company “grow our team and accelerate the development of highly scalable and highly reliable optical interconnects that transcend the scaling limitations of incumbent solutions,” based on the firm’s core technology of QD-enabled multiwavelength comb lasers.

Operationally, Liu told OPN that—having “checked off all of the fundamental technology questions” regarding the laser technology’s feasibility—Quintessent is now focused on optimizing the laser design, which he calls “a key Lego block,” and of other pieces of the overall architecture to validate system-level functionality. Then, an important next step will be getting chips into customers’ hands for ground-truthing and feedback, and using that feedback to “drive forward the commercialization roadmap.”

“So samples, then low-volume pilots, then high-volume manufacturing—simple, right?” he laughs.  Liu seems exhilarated by the challenge. “I’m one of those people that liked to play video games in the hard, hard mode,” he says. “If it’s too easy, you don’t get much enjoyment out of it.”


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NTT & Yomiuri: ‘Social Order Could Collapse’ in AI Era

From the Wall Street Journal:

Japan’s largest telecommunications company and the country’s biggest newspaper called for speedy legislation to restrain generative artificial intelligence, saying democracy and social order could collapse if AI is left unchecked.

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, or NTT, and Yomiuri Shimbun Group Holdings made the proposal in an AI manifesto to be released Monday. Combined with a law passed in March by the European Parliament restricting some uses of AI, the manifesto points to rising concern among American allies about the AI programs U.S.-based companies have been at the forefront of developing.

The Japanese companies’ manifesto, while pointing to the potential benefits of generative AI in improving productivity, took a generally skeptical view of the technology. Without giving specifics, it said AI tools have already begun to damage human dignity because the tools are sometimes designed to seize users’ attention without regard to morals or accuracy.

Unless AI is restrained, “in the worst-case scenario, democracy and social order could collapse, resulting in wars,” the manifesto said.

It said Japan should take measures immediately in response, including laws to protect elections and national security from abuse of generative AI.

global push is under way to regulate AI, with the European Union at the forefront. The EU’s new law calls on makers of the most powerful AI models to put them through safety evaluations and notify regulators of serious incidents. It also is set to ban the use of emotion-recognition AI in schools and workplaces.

The Biden administration is also stepping up oversight, invoking emergency federal powers last October to compel major AI companies to notify the government when developing systems that pose a serious risk to national security. The U.S., U.K. and Japan have each set up government-led AI safety institutes to help develop AI guidelines.

Still, governments of democratic nations are struggling to figure out how to regulate AI-powered speech, such as social-media activity, given constitutional and other protections for free speech.

NTT and Yomiuri said their manifesto was motivated by concern over public discourse. The two companies are among Japan’s most influential in policy. The government still owns about one-third of NTT, formerly the state-controlled phone monopoly.

Yomiuri Shimbun, which has a morning circulation of about six million copies according to industry figures, is Japan’s most widely-read newspaper. Under the late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his successors, the newspaper’s conservative editorial line has been influential in pushing the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to expand military spending and deepen the nation’s alliance with the U.S.

The two companies said their executives have been examining the impact of generative AI since last year in a study group guided by Keio University researchers.

The Yomiuri’s news pages and editorials frequently highlight concerns about artificial intelligence. An editorial in December, noting the rush of new AI products coming from U.S. tech companies, said “AI models could teach people how to make weapons or spread discriminatory ideas.” It cited risks from sophisticated fake videos purporting to show politicians speaking.

NTT is active in AI research, and its units offer generative AI products to business customers. In March, it started offering these customers a large-language model it calls “tsuzumi” which is akin to OpenAI’s ChatGPT but is designed to use less computing power and work better in Japanese-language contexts.

An NTT spokesman said the company works with U.S. tech giants and believes generative AI has valuable uses, but he said the company believes the technology has particular risks if it is used maliciously to manipulate public opinion.


From the Japan News (Yomiuri Shimbun):

Challenges: Humans cannot fully control Generative AI technology

・ While the accuracy of results cannot be fully guaranteed, it is easy for people to use the technology and understand its output. This often leads to situations in which generative AI “lies with confidence” and people are “easily fooled.”

・ Challenges include hallucinations, bias and toxicity, retraining through input data, infringement of rights through data scraping and the difficulty of judging created products.

・ Journalism, research in academia and other sources have provided accurate and valuable information by thoroughly examining what information is correct, allowing them to receive some form of compensation or reward. Such incentives for providing and distributing information have ensured authenticity and trustworthiness may collapse.

A need to respond: Generative AI must be controlled both technologically and legally

・ If generative AI is allowed to go unchecked, trust in society as a whole may be damaged as people grow distrustful of one another and incentives are lost for guaranteeing authenticity and trustworthiness. There is a concern that, in the worst-case scenario, democracy and social order could collapse, resulting in wars.

・ Meanwhile, AI technology itself is already indispensable to society. If AI technology is dismissed as a whole as untrustworthy due to out-of-control generative AI, humanity’s productivity may decline.

・ Based on the points laid out in the following sections, measures must be realized to balance the control and use of generative AI from both technological and institutional perspectives, and to make the technology a suitable tool for society.

Point 1: Confronting the out-of-control relationship between AI and the attention economy

・ Any computer’s basic structure, or architecture, including that of generative AI, positions the individual as the basic unit of user. However, due to computers’ tendency to be overly conscious of individuals, there are such problems as unsound information spaces and damage to individual dignity due to the rise of the attention economy.

・ There are concerns that the unstable nature of generative AI is likely to amplify the above-mentioned problems further. In other words, it cannot be denied that there is a risk of worsening social unrest due to a combination of AI and the attention economy, with the attention economy accelerated by generative AI. To understand such issues properly, it is important to review our views on humanity and society and critically consider what form desirable technology should take.

・ Meanwhile, the out-of-control relationship between AI and the attention economy has already damaged autonomy and dignity, which are essential values that allow individuals in our society to be free. These values must be restored quickly. In doing so, autonomous liberty should not be abandoned, but rather an optimal solution should be sought based on human liberty and dignity, verifying their rationality. In the process, concepts such as information health are expected to be established.

Point 2: Legal restraints to ensure discussion spaces to protect liberty and dignity, the introduction of technology to cope with related issues

・ Ensuring spaces for discussion in which human liberty and dignity are maintained has not only superficial economic value, but also a special value in terms of supporting social stability. The out-of-control relationship between AI and the attention economy is a threat to these values. If generative AI develops further and is left unchecked like it is currently, there is no denying that the distribution of malicious information could drive out good things and cause social unrest.

・ If we continue to be unable to sufficiently regulate generative AI — or if we at least allow the unconditional application of such technology to elections and security — it could cause enormous and irreversible damage as the effects of the technology will not be controllable in society. This implies a need for rigid restrictions by law (hard laws that are enforceable) on the usage of generative AI in these areas.

・ In the area of education, especially compulsory education for those age groups in which students’ ability to make appropriate decisions has not fully matured, careful measures should be taken after considering both the advantages and disadvantages of AI usage.

・ The protection of intellectual property rights — especially copyrights — should be adapted to the times in both institutional and technological aspects to maintain incentives for providing and distributing sound information. In doing so, the protections should be made enforceable in practice, without excessive restrictions to developing and using generative AI.

・ These solutions cannot be maintained by laws alone, but rather, they also require measures such as Originator Profile (OP), which is secured by technology.

Point 2: Legal restraints to ensure discussion spaces to protect liberty and dignity, and the introduction of technology to cope with related issues

・ Ensuring spaces for discussion in which human liberty and dignity are maintained has not only superficial economic value, but also a special value in terms of supporting social stability. The out-of-control relationship between AI and the attention economy is a threat to these values. If generative AI develops further and is left unchecked like it is currently, there is no denying that the distribution of malicious information could drive out good things and cause social unrest.

・ If we continue to be unable to sufficiently regulate generative AI — or if we at least allow the unconditional application of such technology to elections and security — it could cause enormous and irreversible damage as the effects of the technology will not be controllable in society. This implies a need for rigid restrictions by law (hard laws that are enforceable) on the usage of generative AI in these areas.

・ In the area of education, especially compulsory education for those age groups in which students’ ability to make appropriate decisions has not fully matured, careful measures should be taken after considering both the advantages and disadvantages of AI usage.

・ The protection of intellectual property rights — especially copyrights — should be adapted to the times in both institutional and technological aspects to maintain incentives for providing and distributing sound information. In doing so, the protections should be made enforceable in practice, without excessive restrictions to developing and using generative AI.

・ These solutions cannot be maintained by laws alone, but rather, they also require measures such as Originator Profile (OP), which is secured by technology.

Point 3: Establishment of effective governance, including legislation

・ The European Union has been developing data-related laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation, the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act. It has been developing regulations through strategic laws with awareness of the need to both control and promote AI, positioning the Artificial Intelligence Act as part of such efforts.

・ Japan does not have such a strategic and systematic data policy. It is expected to require a long time and involve many obstacles to develop such a policy. Therefore, in the long term, it is necessary to develop a robust, strategic and systematic data policy and, in the short term, individual regulations and effective measures aimed at dealing with AI and attention economy-related problems in the era of generative AI.

・However, it would be difficult to immediately introduce legislation, including individual regulations, for such issues. Without excluding consideration of future legislation, the handling of AI must be strengthened by soft laws — both for data (basic) and generative AI (applied) — that offer a co-regulatory approach that identifies stakeholders. Given the speed of technological innovation and the complexity of value chains, it is expected that an agile framework such as agile governance, rather than governance based on static structures, will be introduced.

・ In risk areas that require special caution (see Point 2), hard laws should be introduced without hesitation.

・ In designing a system, attention should be paid to how effectively it protects the people’s liberty and dignity, as well as to national interests such as industry, based on the impact on Japan of extraterritorial enforcement to the required extent and other countries’ systems.

・ As a possible measure to balance AI use and regulation, a framework should be considered in which the businesses that interact directly with users in the value chain, the middle B in “B2B2X,” where X is the user, reduce and absorb risks when generative AI is used.

・ To create an environment that ensures discussion spaces in which human liberty and dignity are maintained, it is necessary to ensure that there are multiple AIs of various kinds and of equal rank, that they keep each other in check, and that users can refer to them autonomously, so that users do not have to depend on a specific AI. Such moves should be promoted from both institutional and technological perspectives.

Outlook for the Future:

・ Generative AI is a technology that cannot be fully controlled by humanity. However, it is set to enter an innovation phase (changes accompanying social diffusion).

・ In particular, measures to ensure a healthy space for discussion, which constitutes the basis of human and social security (democratic order), must be taken immediately. Legislation (hard laws) are needed, mainly for creating zones of generative AI use (strong restrictions for elections and security).

・ In addition, from the viewpoint of ecosystem maintenance (including the dissemination of personal information), it is necessary to consider optimizing copyright law in line with the times, in a manner compatible with using generative AI itself, from both institutional and technological perspectives.

・ However, as it takes time to revise the law, the following steps must be taken: the introduction of rules and joint regulations mainly by the media and various industries, the establishment and dissemination of effective technologies, and making efforts to revise the law.

・ In this process, the most important thing is to protect the dignity and liberty of individuals in order to achieve individual autonomy. Those involved will study the situation, taking into account critical assessments based on the value of community.


‘Joint Proposal on Shaping Generative AI’ by The Yomiuri Shimbun Holdings and NTT Corp.

Major technology companies form AI-Enabled Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Workforce Consortium

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Major technology companies form AI-Enabled Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Workforce Consortium

A consortium of major tech companies, including Cisco, Accenture, Eightfold, Google, IBM, Indeed, Intel, Microsoft and SAP have formed the AI-Enabled Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Workforce Consortium with the aim of assessing “AI’s impact on technology jobs” and identifying “skills development pathways for the roles most likely to be affected by artificial intelligence.”

Francine Katsoudas, executive VP and chief people, policy and purpose officer at Cisco, stated:

“AI is accelerating the pace of change for the global workforce, presenting a powerful opportunity for the private sector to help upskill and re-skill workers for the future. The mission of our newly unveiled AI-Enabled Workforce Consortium is to provide organisations with knowledge about the impact of AI on the workforce and equip workers with relevant skills. We look forward to engaging other stakeholders – including governments, NGOs, and the academic community – as we take this important first step toward ensuring that the AI revolution leaves no one behind.”

The formation of the Consortium is catalyzed by the work of the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council Talent for Growth Task Force, Cisco Chair and CEO Chuck Robbins’ participation in the Task Force, and input from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Advisors include the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, CHAIN5, Communications Workers of America, DIGITALEUROPE, the European Vocational Training Association, Khan Academy, and SMEUnited.

Working as a private sector collaborative, the Consortium is evaluating how AI is changing the jobs and skills workers need to be successful. The first phase of work will culminate in a report with actionable insights for business leaders and workers. Further details will be shared in the coming months. Findings will be intended to offer practical insights and recommendations to employers that seek ways to reskill and upskill their workers in preparation for AI-enabled environments.


Author’s Note: The consortium was likely formed to retrain workers to use AI technology, else they would be laid off or fired. In a recent survey from McKinsey, 25% of business professionals said that they expect their employer to lay off staff as a result of AI adoption. Their pessimism isn’t misplaced. According to one estimate, around 4,000 workers have lost their jobs to AI since May. And in a poll from, which makes AI-powered presentation software, nearly half of managers said that they’re hoping to replace workers with AI.


Consortium members represent a cross section of companies innovating on the cutting edge of AI that also understand the current and impending impact of AI on the workforce. Individually, Consortium members have documented opportunities and challenges presented by AI. The collaborative effort enables their organizations to coalesce insights, recommend action plans, and activate findings within their respective broad spheres of influence.

The Consortium’s work is inspired by the TTC’s Talent for Growth Task Force and Cisco Chair and CEO Chuck Robbins’ leadership of its skills training workstream, and input from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The TTC was established in June 2021 by U.S. President Biden, European Commission President von der Leyen, and European Council President Michel to promote U.S. and EU competitiveness and prosperity through cooperation and democratic approaches to trade, technology, and security.

“At the U.S. Department of Commerce, we’re focused on fueling advanced technology and deepening trade and investment relationships with partners and allies around the world. This work is helping us build a strong and competitive economy, propelled by a talented workforce that’s enabling workers to get into the good quality, high-paying, family-sustaining jobs of the future. We recognize that economic security and national security are inextricably linked. That’s why I’m proud to see the efforts of the Talent for Growth Task Force continue with the creation of the AI-Enabled ICT Workforce Consortium,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.

“I am grateful to the consortium members for joining in this effort to confront the new workforce needs that are arising in the wake of AI’s rapid development. This work will help provide unprecedented insight on the specific skill needs for these jobs. I hope that this Consortium is just the beginning, and that the private sector sees this as a call to action to ensure our workforces can reap the benefits of AI.”

The AI-Enabled ICT Workforce Consortium’s efforts address a business critical and growing need for a proficient workforce that is trained in various aspects of AI, including the skills to implement AI applications across business processes. The Consortium will leverage its members and advisors to recommend and amplify reskilling and upskilling training programs that are inclusive and can benefit multiple stakeholders – students, career changers, current IT workers, employers, and educators – in order to skill workers at scale to engage in the AI era.

In its first phase of work, the Consortium will evaluate the impact of AI on 56 ICT job roles and provide training recommendations for impacted jobs. These job roles include 80% of the top 45 ICT job titles garnering the highest volume of job postings for the period February 2023-2024 in the United States and five of the largest European countries by ICT workforce numbers (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands) according to Indeed Hiring Lab. Collectively, these countries account for a significant segment of the ICT sector, with a combined total of 10 million ICT workers.

Consortium members universally recognize the urgency and importance of their combined efforts with the acceleration of AI in all facets of business and the need to build an inclusive workforce with family-sustaining opportunities. Consortium members commit to developing worker pathways particularly in job sectors that will increasingly integrate artificial intelligence technology. To that end, Consortium members have established forward thinking goals with skills development and training programs to positively impact over 95 million individuals around the world over the next 10 years.

Consortium member goals include:

  • Cisco to train 25 million people with cybersecurity and digital skills by 2032.
  • IBM to skill 30 million individuals by 2030 in digital skills, including 2 million in AI.
  • Intel to empower more than 30 million people with AI skills for current and future jobs by 2030.
  • Microsoft to train and certify 10 million people from underserved communities with in-demand digital skills for jobs and livelihood opportunities in the digital economy by 2025.
  • SAP to upskill two million people worldwide by 2025.
  • Google has recently announced EUR 25 million in funding to support AI training and skills for people across Europe.


“Helping organizations identify skills gaps and train people at speed and scale is a major priority for Accenture, and this consortium brings together an impressive ecosystem of industry partners committed to growing leading-edge technology, data and AI skills within our communities. Reskilling people to work with AI is paramount in every industry. Organizations that invest as much in learning as they do in the technology not only create career pathways, they are well positioned to lead in the market.” – Ellyn Shook, Chief Leadership & Human Resources Officer, Accenture


“The dynamics of work and the very essence of work are evolving at an unprecedented pace. Eightfold examines the most sought-after job roles, delving into the needs for reskilling and upskilling. Through its Talent Intelligence Platform, it empowers business leaders to adapt swiftly to the changing business environment. We take pride in contributing to the creation of a knowledgeable and responsible resource that assists organizations in preparing for the future of work.” – Ashutosh Garg, CEO and Co-Founder, Eightfold AI


“Google believes the opportunities created by technology should truly be available to everyone. We’re proud to join the AI-Enabled Workforce Consortium, which will advance our work to make AI skills training universally accessible. We’re committed to collaborating across sectors to ensure workers of all backgrounds can use AI effectively and develop the skills needed to prepare for future-focused jobs, qualify for new opportunities, and thrive in the economy.” – Lisa Gevelber, Founder, Grow with Google


“IBM is proud to join this timely business-led initiative, which brings together our shared expertise and resources to prepare the workforce for the AI era. Our collective responsibility as industry leaders is to develop trustworthy technologies and help provide workers—from all backgrounds and experience levels—access to opportunities to reskill and upskill as AI adoption changes ways of working and creates new jobs.” – Gian Luigi Cattaneo, Vice President, Human Resources, IBM EMEA


“Indeed’s mission is to help people get jobs. Our research shows that virtually every job posted on Indeed today, from truck driver to physician to software engineer, will face some level of exposure to GenAI-driven change. We look forward to contributing to the Workforce Consortium’s important work. The companies who empower their employees to learn new skills and gain on-the-job experience with evolving AI tools will deepen their bench of experts, boost retention and expand their pool of qualified candidates.” – Hannah Calhoon, Head of AI Innovation at Indeed


“At Intel, our purpose is to create world-changing technology that improves the lives of every person on the planet, and we believe bringing AI everywhere is key for businesses and society to flourish. To do so, we must provide access to AI skills for everyone. Intel is committed to expanding digital readiness by collaborating with 30 countries, empowering 30,000 institutions, and training 30 million people for current and future jobs by 2030. Working alongside industry leaders as part of this AI-enabled ICT workforce consortium will help upskill and reskill the workforce for the digital economy ahead.” – Christy Pambianchi, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer at Intel Corporation


“As a global leader in AI innovation, Microsoft is proud to join the ICT Workforce Consortium and continue our efforts to shape an inclusive and equitable technology future for all. As a member of the consortium, we will work with industry leaders to share best practices, create accessible learning opportunities, and collaborate with stakeholders to ensure that workers are equipped with the technology skills of tomorrow,” – Amy Pannoni, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, HR Legal at Microsoft


“SAP is proud to join this effort to help prepare our workforce for the jobs of the future and ensure AI is relevant, reliable, and responsible across businesses and roles. As we navigate the complexities of our ever-evolving world, AI has the potential to reshape industries, revolutionize problem-solving, and unlock unprecedented levels of human potential, enabling us to create a more intelligent, efficient, and inclusive workforce. Over the years, SAP has supported many skills building programs, and we look forward to driving additional learning opportunities, innovation, and positive change as part of the consortium.”  – Nicole Helmer, Vice President & Global Head of Development Learning at SAP

About Cisco

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide technology leader that securely connects everything to make anything possible. Our purpose is to power an inclusive future for all by helping our customers reimagine their applications, power hybrid work, secure their enterprise, transform their infrastructure, and meet their sustainability goals. Discover more on The Newsroom and follow us on X at @Cisco.

Cisco and the Cisco logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Cisco and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. A listing of Cisco’s trademarks can be found at Third-party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners. The use of the word partner does not imply a partnership relationship between Cisco and any other company.

Executive Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Competition Margaret Vestager and US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo join Consortium members in Belgium

Executive Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Competition Margaret Vestager and US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo join Consortium members in Belgium.   Photo Credit: Cisco



Big tech companies form new consortium to allay fears of AI job takeovers

Light Source Communications Secures Deal with Major Global Hyperscaler for Fiber Network in Phoenix Metro Area

Light Source Communications is building a 140-mile fiber middle-mile network in the Phoenix, AZ metro area, covering nine cities: Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Queen Creek, Avondale, Coronado and Cashion. The company already has a major hyperscaler as the first anchor tenant.

There are currently 70 existing and planned data centers in the area that Light Source will serve. As one might expect, the increase in data centers stems from the boom in artificial intelligence (AI).

The network will include a big ring, which will be divided into three separate rings. In total, Light Source will be deploying 140 miles of fiber. The company has partnered with engineering and construction provider Future Infrastructure LLC, a division of Primoris Services Corp., to make it happen.

“I would say that AI happens to be blowing up our industry, as you know. It’s really in response to the amount of data that AI is demanding,” said Debra Freitas [1.], CEO of Light Source Communications (LSC).

Note 1. Debra Freitas has led LSC since co-founding in 2014. Owned and operated network with global OTT as a customer. She developed key customer relationships, secured funding for growth. Currently sits on the Executive Board of Incompas.


Light Source plans for the entire 140-mile route to be underground. It’s currently working with the city councils and permitting departments of the nine cities as it goes through its engineering and permit approval processes. Freitas said the company expects to receive approvals from all the city councils and to begin construction in the third quarter of this year, concluding by the end of 2025.

Primoris delivers a range of specialty construction services to the utility, energy, and renewables markets throughout the United States and Canada. Its communications business is a leading provider of critical infrastructure solutions, including program management, engineering, fabrication, replacement, and maintenance. With over 12,700 employees, Primoris had revenue of $5.7 billion in 2023.

“We’re proud to partner with Light Source Communications on this impactful project, which will exceed the growing demands for high-capacity, reliable connectivity in the Phoenix area,” said Scott Comley, president of Primoris’ communications business. “Our commitment to innovation and excellence is well-aligned with Light Source’s cutting-edge solutions and we look forward to delivering with quality and safety at the forefront.”

Light Source is a carrier neutral, owner-operator of networks serving enterprises throughout the U.S. In addition to Phoenix, several new dark fiber routes are in development in major markets throughout the Central and Western United States. For more information about Light Source Communications, go to

The city councils in the Phoenix metro area have been pretty busy with fiber-build applications the past couple of years because the area is also a hotbed for companies building fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) networks. In 2022 the Mesa City Council approved four different providers to build fiber networks. AT&T and BlackRock have said their joint venture would also start deploying fiber in Mesa.

Light Source is focusing on middle-mile, rather than FTTP because that’s where the demand is, according to Freitas. “Our route is a unique route, meaning there are no other providers where we’re going. We have a demand for the route we’re putting in,” she noted.

The company says it already has “a major, global hyperscaler” anchor tenant, but it won’t divulge who that tenant is. Its network will also touch Arizona State University at Tempe and the University of Arizona.

Light Source doesn’t light any of the fiber it deploys. Rather, it is carrier neutral and sells the dark fiber to customers who light it themselves and who may resell it to their own customers.

Light Source began operations in 2014 and is backed by private equity. It did not receive any federal grants for the new middle-mile network in Arizona.


Bill Long, Zayo’s chief product officer, told Fierce Telecom recently that data centers are preparing for an onslaught of demand for more compute power, which will be needed to handle AI workloads and train new AI models.


About Light Source Communications:

Light Source Communications (LSC) is a carrier neutral, customer agnostic provider of secure, scalable, reliable connectivity on a state-of-the-art dark fiber network. The immense amounts of data businesses require to compete in today’s global market requires access to an enhanced fiber infrastructure that allows them to control their data. With over 120 years of telecom experience, LSC offers an owner-operated network for U.S. businesses to succeed here and abroad. LSC is uniquely positioned and is highly qualified to build the next generation of dark fiber routes across North America, providing the key connections for business today and tomorrow.


Proposed solutions to high energy consumption of Generative AI LLMs: optimized hardware, new algorithms, green data centers

AI sparks huge increase in U.S. energy consumption and is straining the power grid; transmission/distribution as a major problem

AI Frenzy Backgrounder; Review of AI Products and Services from Nvidia, Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Meta; Conclusions



AI Frenzy Backgrounder; Review of AI Products and Services from Nvidia, Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Meta; Conclusions


Artificial intelligence (AI) continues both to astound and confound.  AI finds patterns in data and then uses a technique called “reinforcement learning from human feedback.” Humans help train and fine-tune large language models (LLMs). Some humans, like “ethics & compliance” folks, have a heavier hand than others in tuning models to their liking.

Generative Artificial Intelligence (generative AI) is a type of AI that can create new content and ideas, including conversations, stories, images, videos, and music. AI technologies attempt to mimic human intelligence in nontraditional computing tasks like image recognition, natural language processing (NLP), and translation. Generative AI is the next step in artificial intelligence. You can train it to learn human language, programming languages, art, chemistry, biology, or any complex subject matter. It reuses training data to solve new problems. For example, it can learn English vocabulary and create a poem from the words it processes. Your organization can use generative AI for various purposes, like chatbots, media creation, and product development and design.

Review of Leading AI Company Products and Services:

1.  AI poster child Nvidia’s (NVDA) market cap is about $2.3 trillion, due mainly to momentum-obsessed investors who have driven up the stock price. Nvidia currently enjoys 75% gross profit margins and has an estimated 80% share of the Graphic Processing Unit (GPU) chip market.  Microsoft and Facebook are reportedly Nvidia‘s biggest customers, buying its GPUs last year in a frenzy.

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang talks of computing going from retrieval to generative, which investors believe will require a long-run overhaul of data centers to handle AI. All true, but a similar premise about an overhaul also was true for Cisco in 1999.

During the dot-com explosion in the late 1990s, investors believed a long-run rebuild of telecom infrastructure was imminent. Worldcom executives claimed that internet traffic doubled every 100 days, or about 3.5 months. The thinking at that time was that the whole internet would run on Cisco routers at 50% gross margins.

Cisco’s valuation at its peak of the “” mania was at 33x sales. CSCO investors lost 85% of their money when the stock price troughed in October 2002. Over the next 16 years, as investors waited to break even, the company grew revenues by 172% and earnings per share by a staggering 681%. Over the last 24 years, CSCO buy and hold investors earned only 0.67% per year!


2. Microsoft is now a cloud computing/data-center company, more utility than innovator.  Microsoft invested $13 billion in OpenAI  for just under 50% of the company to help develop and roll out ChatGPT. But much of that was funny money — investment not in cash but in credits for Microsoft‘s Azure data centers.  Microsoft leveraged those investments into super powering its own search engine, Bing, with generative AI which is now called “Copilot.”  Microsoft  spends a tremendous amount of  money on Nvidia H100 processors to speed up its AI calculations. It also has designed its own AI chips.

3. Amazon masquerades as an online retailer, but is actually the world’s largest cloud computing/data-center company.  The company offers several generative AI products and services which include:

  • Amazon CodeWhisperer, an AI-powered coding companion.
  • Amazon Bedrock, a fully managed service that makes foundational models (FMs) from AI21 Labs, Anthropic, and Stability AI, along with Amazon’s own family of FMs, Amazon Titan, accessible via an API.
  • A generative AI tool for sellers to help them generate copy for product titles and listings.
  • Generative AI capabilities that simplify how Amazon sellers create more thorough and captivating product descriptions, titles, and listing details.

Amazon CEO Jassy recently said the the company’s generative AI services have the potential to generate tens of billions of dollars over the next few years. CFO Brian Olsavsky told analysts that interest in Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) generative AI products, such as Amazon Q and AI chatbot for businesses, had accelerated during the quarter. In September 2023, Amazon said it plans to invest up to $4 billion in startup chatbot-maker Anthropic to take on its AI based cloud rivals (i.e. Microsoft and Google).  Its security teams are currently using generative AI to increase productivity

4. Google, with 190,000 employees, controls 90% of search. Google‘s recent launch of its new Gemini AI tools was a disaster, producing images of the U.S. Founding Fathers and Nazi soldiers as people of color. When asked if Elon Musk or Adolf Hitler had a more negative effect on society, Gemini responded that it was “difficult to say.” Google pulled the product over “inaccuracies.”  Yet Google is still promoting its AI product: “Gemini, a multimodal model from Google DeepMind, is capable of understanding virtually any input, combining different types of information, and generating almost any output.”

5. Facebook/Meta controls social media but has lost $42 billion investing in the still-nascent metaverse. Meta is rolling out three AI features for advertisers: background generation, image cropping and copy variation. Meta also unveiled a generative AI system called Make-A-Scene that allows artists to create scenes from text prompts . Meta’s CTO Andrew Bosworth said the company aims to use generative AI to help companies reach different audiences with tailored ads.


Voracious demand has outpaced production and spurred competitors to develop rival chips. The ability to secure GPUs governs how quickly companies can develop new artificial-intelligence systems. Tech CEOs are under pressure to invest in AI, or risk investors thinking their company is falling behind the competition.

As we noted in a recent IEEE Techblog post, researchers in South Korea have developed the world’s first AI semiconductor chip that operates at ultra-high speeds with minimal power consumption for processing large language models (LLMs), based on principles that mimic the structure and function of the human brain. The research team was from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

While it’s impossible to predict how fast additional fabricating capacity comes on line,  there certainly will be many more AI chips from cloud giants and merchant semiconductor companies like AMD and Intel.  Fat profit margins Nvidia is now enjoying will surely attract many competitors.



Meta wants to use generative AI to create ads

Curmudgeon: 2024 AI Fueled Stock Market Bubble vs 1999 Internet Mania? (03/11)

Korea’s KAIST develops next-gen ultra-low power Gen AI LLM accelerator

Telco and IT vendors pursue AI integrated cloud native solutions, while Nokia sells point products

MTN Consulting: Generative AI hype grips telecom industry; telco CAPEX decreases while vendor revenue plummets

Proposed solutions to high energy consumption of Generative AI LLMs: optimized hardware, new algorithms, green data centers

Amdocs and NVIDIA to Accelerate Adoption of Generative AI for $1.7 Trillion Telecom Industry

Cloud Service Providers struggle with Generative AI; Users face vendor lock-in; “The hype is here, the revenue is not”

Global Telco AI Alliance to progress generative AI for telcos

Bain & Co, McKinsey & Co, AWS suggest how telcos can use and adapt Generative AI

Generative AI Unicorns Rule the Startup Roost; OpenAI in the Spotlight

Generative AI in telecom; ChatGPT as a manager? ChatGPT vs Google Search

Generative AI could put telecom jobs in jeopardy; compelling AI in telecom use cases

Impact of Generative AI on Jobs and Workers


Korea’s KAIST develops next-gen ultra-low power Gen AI LLM accelerator

Researchers in South Korea have developed the world’s first artificial intelligence (AI) semiconductor chip that operates at ultra-high speeds with minimal power consumption for processing large language models (LLMs), based on principles that mimic the structure and function of the human brain.

The research team was from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) PIM Semiconductor Research Center and the Graduate School of AI Semiconductor (led by Professor Yu Hoi-jun). This ultra-low power “complementary transformer” semiconductor using Samsung Electronics’ 28 nm process as announced by Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT on Feb. 6th.  The chip is 41 times smaller in area than the Nvidia AI processor, enabling it to be used on devices like mobile phones.

The new AI chip successfully ran GPT 2 using only 1/625 of the power consumption and at 1/41 the size of Nvidia’s A100 graphics processing unit (GPU). This breakthrough is considered a key development in the escalating global AI semiconductor war.

Previously, the technology was less accurate than deep neural networks (DNNs) and mainly capable of simple image classifications, but the research team succeeded in improving the accuracy of the technology to match that of DNNs to apply it to LLMs.

The team said its new AI chip optimizes computational energy consumption while maintaining accuracy by using unique neural network architecture that fuses DNNs and SNNs, and effectively compresses the large parameters of LLMs.

A photo describing an artificial intelligence chip which processes a large language model with neuromorphic computing technology provided by the Ministry of Science and ICT on March 6, 2024.


China backed Volt Typhoon has “pre-positioned” malware to disrupt U.S. critical infrastructure networks “on a scale greater than ever before”

On Sunday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said Beijing’s efforts to covertly plant offensive malware inside U.S. critical infrastructure networks [1.] is now at “a scale greater than we’d seen before,” an issue he has deemed a defining national security threat.  He said that China backed Volt Typhoon was pre-positioning malware that could be triggered at any moment to disrupt U.S. critical infrastructure.  “It’s the tip of the iceberg…it’s one of many such efforts by the Chinese,” he said on the sidelines of the security conference.

Wray had earlier told conference delegates, that China was increasingly inserting “offensive weapons within our critical infrastructure poised to attack whenever Beijing decides the time is right.”  The FBI chief said the U.S. is particularly focused on the threat of pre-positioning, which some European officials have described as the cyber equivalent of pointing a ballistic missile at critical infrastructure.  “Those attacks are now being amplified by artificial intelligence tools.  The word ‘force multiplier’ is not really enough,” Wray added.

Note 1. The FBI Director declined to elaborate on what other critical infrastructure had been targeted, stressing that the Bureau had “a lot of work under way.”

Image Credits: imaginima / Getty Images

Machine learning translation has helped Chinese security operatives to more plausibly recruit assets, steal secrets and rapidly process more of the information they are collecting, the Wray said.   “They already have built economic espionage and theft of personal and corporate data as a kind of a bedrock of their economic strategy and are eagerly pursuing AI advancements to try to accelerate that process,” Wray added.



Western intelligence officials say China’s scale and sophistication of cyberattacks has accelerated over the past decade. Officials have grown particularly alarmed at Beijing’s interest in infiltrating U.S. critical infrastructure networks, planting malware inside U.S. computer systems responsible for everything from safe drinking water to aviation traffic so it could detonate, at a moment’s notice, damaging cyberattacks during a conflict.

In California, Wray met with counterparts from the Five Eyes intelligence community—which encompasses the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the U.K.—to share respective strategies for cyber defense.  He has also traveled to Malaysia and India to discuss China’s hacking campaign with authorities in both countries.

“I am seeing more from Europe,” he said. “We’re laser focused on this as a real threat and we’re working with a lot of partners to try to identify it, anticipate it and disrupt it.”

The Netherlands’ spy agencies said earlier this month that Chinese hackers had used malware to gain access to a Dutch military network last year. The agency, considered to have one of Europe’s top cyber capabilities, said it made the rare disclosure to show the scale of the threat and reduce the stigma of being targeted so allied governments can better pool knowledge.

A report released this month by agencies including the FBI, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency and the National Security Agency said Volt Typhoon hackers had maintained access in some U.S. networks for five or more years, and while it targeted only U.S. infrastructure directly, the infiltration was likely to have affected “Five Eyes” allies.

Author’s Note:

This author is very disappointed that the U.S.. Five Eyes and European agencies chartered with combating cybercrime  have done so little to prevent cyber attacks on “critical infrastructure,” especially since Volt Typhoon has been doing so for at least five years according to the referenced January 2024 report.
Recall all the rah-rah talk 11 or 12 years ago about “Smart Grid,” which was supposed to make U.S. electrical grid infrastructure super-secure, resilient, and able to quickly recover from power failures and cyber attacks! Here we are in 2024, where none of that has happened, despite many IEEE, IEC, NTIA, and ETSI Smart Grid initiatives, specifications, and standards.  Hence, our critical infrastructure is at risk of cyber attacks by Volt Typhoon and other bad actors.
There’s even talk of US electric utilities buying and installing China made power transformers that have a back door as per this article.


Volt Typhoonthe China-sponsored hacking group, has been targeting U.S. critical infrastructure, including satellite and emergency management services and electric utilities, according to a new report from the industrial cybersecurity firm Dragos.  That report outlines how the notorious hacking group is positioning themselves to have disruptive or destructive impacts on critical infrastructure in the U.S.

Robert M. Lee, founder and CEO of Dragos, warned during a media briefing that Volt Typhoon is not an opportunistic group, but is instead targeting specific sites that assist U.S. adversaries “trying to hurt or cripple U.S. infrastructure.  It’s hitting the specific electric and satellite communication providers that would be important for disrupting major portions of the U.S. electric infrastructure,” Lee added.

The report comes shortly after the National Security Agency, FBI, and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, revealed that Volt Typhoon has been in some critical infrastructure networks for at least five years. That alert warned of Volt Typhoon operations that targeted the aviation, railways, mass transit, highway, maritime, pipeline, and water and sewage sectors.


The NSA, CISA and FBI said in a joint advisory report that Volt Typhoon has been burrowing into the networks of aviation, rail, mass transit, highway, maritime, pipeline, water and sewage organizations — none of which were named — in a bid to pre-position themselves for destructive cyberattacks, published on February 7th.  The release of the advisory, which was co-signed by cybersecurity agencies in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, comes a week after a similar warning from FBI Director Christopher Wray. Speaking during a U.S. House of Representatives committee hearing on cyber threats posed by China, Wray described Volt Typhoon as “the defining threat of our generation” and said the group’s aim is to “disrupt our military’s ability to mobilize” in the early stages of an anticipated conflict over Taiwan, which China claims as its territory.

According to Wednesday’s technical advisory, Volt Typhoon has been exploiting vulnerabilities in routers, firewalls and VPNs to gain initial access to critical infrastructure across the country. The China-backed hackers typically leveraged stolen administrator credentials to maintain access to these systems, according to the advisory, and in some cases, they have maintained access for “at least five years.”

This access enabled the state-backed hackers to carry out potential disruptions such as “manipulating heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in server rooms or disrupting critical energy and water controls, leading to significant infrastructure failures,” the advisory warned. In some cases, Volt Typhoon hackers had the capability to access camera surveillance systems at critical infrastructure facilities — though it’s not clear if they did.

Volt Typhoon also used living-off-the-land techniques, whereby attackers use legitimate tools and features already present in the target system, to maintain long-term, undiscovered persistence. The hackers also conducted “extensive pre-compromise reconnaissance” in a bid to avoid detection. “For example, in some instances, Volt Typhoon actors may have abstained from using compromised credentials outside of normal working hours to avoid triggering security alerts on abnormal account activities,” the advisory said.

Earlier this year, the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice announced that they had disrupted the “KV Botnet” run by Volt Typhoon that had compromised hundreds of U.S.-based routers for small businesses and home offices. The FBI said it was able to remove the malware from the hijacked routers and sever their connection to the Chinese state-sponsored hackers.

According to a May 2023 report published by Microsoft, Volt Typhoon has been targeting and breaching U.S. critical infrastructure since at least mid-2021.



Volt Typhoon targeted emergency management services, per report

China-backed Volt Typhoon hackers have lurked inside US critical infrastructure for ‘at least five years’

US disrupts China-backed hacking operation amid warning of threat to American infrastructure

Taiwan’s ITRI integrates virtual and real technologies on display at CES 2024

Major international manufacturers such as NVIDIA, Meta, and Microsoft are actively building a new generation virtual ecosystem. With the support of the Industrial Technology Department of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, ITRI (Taiwan’s largest high-tech applied research institutions) has continued to develop an interactive experience that integrates virtual and real, and launched its first interactive experience at the US Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2024).

ITRI announced the introduction of AI-incorporating display and entertainment technologies along with robotics innovations at CES 2024. ITRI presented 10 groundbreaking innovations spanning AI robotics, smart sports, digital health, and AI display and entertainment.

ITRI partnered with Lianjia Optoelectronics, a major automotive LED module manufacturer, to launch a “high-fidelity 3D interactive system ” to seize 3D entertainment business opportunities.

Director of Market Research at the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), Jessica Boothe, praised ITRI’s exhibits for embodying the CES 2024 trends of AI, sustainability, and inclusivity. Expressing her enthusiasm, Boothe highlighted one of the showcased innovations, the Hyper-realistic 3D Interactive System, which was poised to launch a collaboration with Excellence Optoelectronics Inc. (EOI), a prominent automobile LED module manufacturer.

“I must say, very exciting showcase this year. We find everything to be on-trend. The CES 2024 trends were predicted to be AI, sustainability, and inclusivity. And we have all of that right here in your booth,” remarked Boothe. “We’re really excited that ITRI has been here since 2017. As we’re celebrating CTA’s 100-year anniversary, it’s nice to say that we have exhibitors like ITRI coming back every year to CES, and we continue to see ITRI continue to innovate,” she added.

“CES is the most influential tech event in the world, and this is the eighth time ITRI has participated,” said ITRI President Edwin Liu. “To be at CES, we have two main purposes: to showcase ITRI on the global stage and to provide our team with valuable exposure to the latest advancements worldwide. Through CES, ITRI is opening up even more collaboration opportunities, engaging with potential investors, and exploring tech licensing and ventures,” he added.

“ITRI has worked on smart interactive display technology for years, and our collaboration with EOI on the Hyper-Realistic 3D Interactive Display is one of the best successes. This also allows us to strategically deploy diversified product lines in Taiwanthe United States, and Europe,” said President Liu. ITRI also promoted the Institute’s strategic partnerships with Light Matrix and its investor ADATA Technology on iGolfPutter, an intelligent interactive golf simulator. Utilizing Light Matrix’s smart sports training and teaching system called SyncShot360 in iGolfPutter, targeting the global sports technology market. Notably, iGolfPutter has been named by Forbes Magazine as one of the technologies to look for at CES 2024.

EOI Chairman, Dr. Kuohsin Huang, elaborated on their collaboration project with ITRI, stating, “Unlike traditional methods relying on multiple cameras, the Hyper-realistic 3D Interactive System (ChartBox) can generate a personal, interactive 3D digital avatar from a 2D photograph. This 2D-to-3D process integrates various technologies, including real-time image matting, backside model generation, expression changes, natural speech, AI response, and facial recognition.” He added, “Furthermore, its next-generation display technology positions EOI to enter the new market of audio-video entertainment and artistic performances.”

Simon Chen, Chairman of ADATA, emphasized, “Beyond our commitment to providing top-notch memory solutions, ADATA is venturing into cutting-edge sports technology through cross-industry collaboration. Our goal is to offer an optimal training environment for athletes and an innovative experience for spectator sports. Leveraging ADATA’s well-established global distribution channels, we can actively promote Taiwan’s sports industry on the international stage.”

Commenting on iGolfPutter and SyncShot360, Light Matrix CEO Joe Chen said, “The combination of fast 3D modeling, volumetric capture, and virtual-real fusion in the metaverse creates never-before-seen services that the sports and art industry would love. Our volumetric view technology, born out of collaboration with ITRI, allows for a more precise, 360-degree intelligent analysis of golf and other sports. It holds the promise of applications in sporting events and stage performances, setting an excellent foundation for future expansion in the global market.”

From left to right in the above photo are Lin Zhaoxian, vice president of ITRI and director of the International Institute of Obstetrics and gynecology, Liu Wenxiong, president of ITRI, Huang Guoxin, chairman of Lianjia Optoelectronics, and Huang Fangyu, general manager of Lianjia Optoelectronics.

About ITRI:

Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) is one of the world’s leading technology R&D institutions aiming to innovate a better future for society. Founded in 1973, ITRI has played a vital role in transforming Taiwan’s industries from labor-intensive into innovation-driven. To address market needs and global trends, it has launched its 2035 Technology Strategy and Roadmap that focuses on innovation development in Smart Living, Quality Health, Sustainable Environment, and Resilient Society.

Over the years, ITRI has been dedicated to incubating startups and spinoffs, including well-known names such as UMC and TSMC. In addition to its headquarters in Taiwan, ITRI has branch offices in the U.S., Europe, and Japan in an effort to extend its R&D scope and promote international cooperation across the globe. For more information, please visit


ABI Research: Telco transformation measured via patents and 3GPP contributions; 5G accelerating in China


“SK Wonderland at CES 2024;” SK Group Chairman: AI-led revolution poses challenges to companies

On Tuesday at CES 2024, SK Group [1.] displayed world-leading Artificial Intelligence (AI) and carbon reduction technologies under an amusement park concept called “SK Wonderland.”   It provided CES attendees a view of a world that uses the latest AI and clean technologies from SK companies and their business partners to a create a smarter, greener world. Highlights of the booth included:

  • Magic Carpet Ride in a flying vehicle embedded with an AI processor that helps it navigate dense, urban areas – reducing pollution, congestion and commuting frustrations
  • AI Fortune Teller powered by next-generation memory technologies that can help computers analyze and learn from massive amounts of data to predict the future
  • Dancing Car that’s fully electric, able to recharge in 20 minutes or less and built to travel hundreds of miles between charges
  • Clean Energy Train that’s capable of being powered by hydrogen, whose only emission is water
  • Rainbow Tube that shows how plastics are finding a new life through a technology that turns waste into fuel

Note 1. SK Group is South Korea’s second-largest conglomerate, with Samsung at number one.

SK’s CES 2024 displays include participation from seven SK companies — SK Inc., SK Innovation, SK Hynix, SK Telecom, SK E&S, SK Ecoplant and SKC. While the displays are futuristic, they’re based on technologies that SK companies and their global partners have already developed and are bringing to market.

SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won said that companies are facing challenges in navigating the transformative era led by artificial intelligence (AI) due to its unpredictable impact and speed.  He said AI technology and devices with AI are the talk of the town at this year’s annual trade show and companies are showcasing their AI innovations achieved through early investment.

“We are on the starting line of the new era, and no one can predict the impact and speed of the AI revolution across the industries,” Chey told Korean reporters after touring corporate booths on the opening day of CES 2024 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas.  Reflecting on the rapid evolution of AI technologies, he highlighted the breakthrough made by ChatGPT, a language model launched about a year ago, which has significantly influenced how AI is perceived and utilized globally. “Until ChatGPT, no one has thought of how AI would change the world. ChatGPT made a breakthrough, and everybody is trying to ride on the wave.”

SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won speaks during a brief meeting with Korean media on the sidelines of CES 2024 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas on Jan. 9, 2024


SK Hynix Inc., SK Group’s chipmaking unit, is one of the prominent companies at CES 2024, boasting its high-performance AI chips like high bandwidth memory (HBM). The latest addition is the HBM3E chips, recognized as the world’s best-performing memory product. Mass production of HBM3E is scheduled to begin in the first half of 2024.

SK Telecom Co. is also working on AI, having Sapeon, an AI chip startup under its wing. Chey stressed the importance of integrating AI services and solutions across SK Group’s diverse business sectors, ranging from energy to telecommunications and semiconductors. “It’s crucial for each company to collaborate and present a unified package or solution rather than developing them separately,” Chey said. “But I don’t think it is necessary to set up a new unit for that. I think we should come up with an integrated channel for customers.”

SK Telecom and Deutsche Telekom are jointly developing Large Language Models for generative AI to be used by telecom network providers.




SK Telecom inspects cell towers for safety using drones and AI

SK Telecom and Deutsche Telekom to Jointly Develop Telco-specific Large Language Models (LLMs)

SK Telecom and Thales Trial Post-quantum Cryptography to Enhance Users’ Protection on 5G SA Network

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