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8 min read

Category: Business News

30 Nov 2023

30 Nov 2023

8 min read / Category: Business News

Tech Stories You Probably Missed - November 2023

Angry Nerds


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Collection of interesting tech stories from November 2023 that you probably missed.

Our co-founder, Michał Błędowski, posts a #TechBrief (short collection of relevant tech stories) every Monday on LinkedIn. We have created a summary of all the latest, most interesting technology news from the industry, that took place in November 2023.

If you want to stay up to date on what's going on in the tech industry, including crucial cybersecurity stories, social media, innovations and finance connect with Michał on Linkedin.

Jump to any #TechBrief you like:


OpenAI's Latest Model, Q*, Sparks Debate

  • OpenAI has developed a new model called Q* (pronounced "Q star"), which is reported to have the ability to solve basic math problems.

  • The unveiling of Q* led to internal turmoil at OpenAI, with some staff members expressing concern about the model's potential impact on humanity.

  • The board's decision to fire CEO Sam Altman is reportedly linked to the controversy surrounding Q*, but the specific reasons remain undisclosed.

  • AI experts view Q* as a significant advancement, particularly in its potential to logically reason and handle abstract concepts, addressing a current limitation in existing models.

  • While some believe Q* could be a step closer to artificial general intelligence (AGI), others express skepticism about the reported capabilities, emphasizing the need for cautious optimism and further evaluation.

Californians Stranded in Mojave Desert Due to the Google Maps App Error

  • A group of Californians returning from the Formula One Grand Prix in Las Vegas encountered a major setback when Google Maps led them into the Mojave Desert.

  • Relying on the app's suggestion to avoid a dust storm-related delay, the group took an alternative route that promised to be 50 minutes faster.

  • The off-road route, however, proved to be disastrous, causing damage to their car in the rough terrain of the desert, and they were not the only ones misled by Google Maps.

  • Stranded in the desert, the group called 911 for help, but the California Highway Patrol declined to assist, because of increased workload due to the dust storm.

  • After hours of navigating the desert, the group finally reached a gas station and eventually flew back home, leaving their damaged car to undergo repairs.

Airports Face Challenges in Adopting Sustainable Aviation Fuels

  • Heathrow Airport handles an operation with around 1,300 flights daily, requiring a staggering 20 million liters of jet fuel. This amount is equivalent to 400,000 car refuelings.

  • The UKs commitment to achieving zero carbon emissions in aviation by 2040 has led to a reevaluation of jet fuel sources. This shift has sparked exploration into options that can contribute to a more sustainable future of air travel.

  • While Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) presents a viable option, its current use is blended with regular jet fuel. Concerns linger about the economic feasibility and scalability of SAF to meet the demands of the aviation industry on a larger scale.

  • Hydrogen has emerged as a promising candidate due to its energy storage capabilities and its ability to function as a carbon-neutral fuel. However, challenges arise in handling liquid hydrogen, which requires extra insulation and poses safety hazards if not managed carefully.

Mysterious High-Energy Particle, Amaterasu, Defies Cosmic Norms

  • Astronomers are intrigued by the discovery of Amaterasu, an ultrahigh-energy cosmic ray, falling to Earth from what was believed to be an empty area in space.

  • Amaterasu stands out with an energy level exceeding 240 exa-electron volts, making it one of the most potent cosmic rays ever identified.

  • The particle's origin in the Local Void challenges existing theories, as conventional high-energy sources like supernovae seem inadequate for producing such energetic particles.

  • Speculations on potential sources range from supermassive black holes in distant galaxies to unconventional possibilities like defects in spacetime.



Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI was removed from his position unexpectedly, leading to speculation about the dynamics of leadership within the organization.

  • The details of OpenAI’s bylaws from 2016 and a restructuring in 2019 have come to light, revealing that non-stakeholders held significant decision-making power. This has raised concerns about how transparent the governing processes are.

  • Prominent investment firms like Khosla Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital were taken aback by the changes in leadership structure. Questions have been raised about how the board oversaw and anticipated such developments.

  • OpenAI's structure, initially geared towards powering research and safe AI development, hit a few roadblocks that ended up changing the leadership unexpectedly. This prompts a broader reflection on the strategic direction of the company.

Airlines break revenue records with ancillary sales, while their marketing tactics face scrutiny

  • Airlines are projected to generate a record $117.9 billion from ancillary sales in 2023, a 7.7% increase from pre-pandemic levels, as they increasingly rely on fees for seats, baggage, and other extras to boost profits.

  • Ancillary sales practices, once associated with low-cost carriers, have become widespread among all airlines, including charging for business class seat selection by carriers like British Airways, Air France, and KLM.

  • Dark patterns, design strategies that manipulate consumers during the purchasing process, are employed by airlines on their websites. These include misdirection, nagging through pop-ups and emails, creating a sense of urgency, and preventing easy price comparisons.

Portugal sets milestone as it lasts six consecutive days powered solely by renewable energy

  • Portugal sets a record by relying entirely on renewable energy for six consecutive days, powering everything from homes to workplaces with wind, hydro, and solar energy.

  • During the period from 4:00 AM on October 31 to 9:00 AM on November 6, the country generated 1102 GWh of renewable energy, with Hugo Costa from EDP Renewables noting that gas plants were on standby, but not needed due to favorable weather conditions.

  • This achievement aligns with the climate goals of the Paris Agreement, and experts, including Miguel Prado, emphasize that Portugal's grid demonstrates readiness for high shares of renewable electricity, managing variations in production effectively.

Germany enhances tech industry competitiveness with capital market reforms

  • Germany greenlights substantial reforms in its capital market systems, effective January 1, 2024, to fortify the competitiveness of its technology industry against global competitors, particularly Silicon Valley.

  • The reforms, addressing stock-based compensation at startups, company listings, and taxation, specifically target improvements in employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) by overcoming prior disadvantages and streamlining administrative challenges.

  • Noteworthy changes include elevating the threshold for companies eligible for German ESOP plans, allowing those with up to 1,000 employees and a maximum annual revenue of 100 million euros to distribute shares among staff.



Futuristic, Eco-Friendly Aircraft 'The Disruptor' Promises a New Design to Tackle Emissions and Noise

  • NASA, with a sponsorship of $2.9 million is working alongside Aurora Flight Sciences, MIT, and Pratt and Whitney to develop an aircraft called the Aurora D8.

  • Nicknamed "the disruptor", this aircraft aims to bring about a transformation in air travel, by offering faster boarding procedures and reduced noise levels.

  • The D8 stands out with its design resembling that of a whale's " bubble" shape. It incorporates engine placement at the rear combined with NASA’ s Boundary Layer Ingestion Propulsion technology.

  • It not only reduces drag, but also lowers power requirements, potentially leading to an impressive 8.5% decrease in fuel consumption.

  • When compared to models like the Boeing 737, the D8 boasts enhanced efficiency and features shorter landing gear. Additionally, it delivers a noise reduction of 40 dB when traveling at Mach 0.82 speed. has introduced a global property inventory platform for AR advertising campaigns.

  • Property owners now have the opportunity to utilize this platform to manage their Property Digital Rights (PDRs) giving them control over the content displayed in their locations and allowing them to earn income through AR ads.

  • This platform addresses the increasing need for property owners to protect and regulate the usage of their properties in AR content, ensuring a lawful framework for AR campaigns.

  • By utilizing an algorithm Darabase can estimate the value of assets in immersive advertising and securely store PDRs as tokens on the Polygon Blockchain.

  • Prominent figures within the industry such as Scott Kaplanis and Patrick Boismenu have recognized Darabase’s role in establishing a connection between physical and digital realms, for ethical and effective AR advertising.

YouTube has introduced some AI experiments, which include a chatbot designed to provide video information and interact with users.

  • This chatbot is capable of answering questions, suggesting content, and even testing users on videos.

  • Additionally, YouTube has developed another AI tool that categorizes video comments into topics, in order to enhance the user experience.

  • These initiatives are part of Google's plan to integrate AI technology across services such, as Search, Gmail, and office tools.

  • YouTube acknowledges potential challenges, stating that the experiments may not always be perfect, particularly in handling comments where precautions are necessary to prevent the generation of undesirable content.

Humane AI, a company co-founded by designers from Apple, recently introduced their debut product called the AI Pin.

  • This innovative device is priced at $699 and aims to serve as a replacement for smartphones. It allows users to make phone calls, send text messages, and access information using voice commands. One of its features is a laser display on the palm, which can show the time, date, or nearby information.

  • What sets the AI Pin apart is its functionality without listening or recording. The device only activates when prompted through voice commands, touch input, gestures, or the laser ink display.

  • Humane AI has successfully secured over $200 million in funding, from investors including Microsoft, Tiger Global, Sam Altman (CEO of OpenAI), and Marc Benioff (CEO of Salesforce).



Innovative Lights in Fishing: A solution for bycatch and increasing efficiency

  • Ian Wightman, a Scottish fisherman, starts his day at 5:00 AM, catching langoustines, a lifelong routine that requires every minute to count.

  • Wightman employs innovative technology, like LED lights on his fishing net, which have been shown to reduce average bycatch by 63% according to a study by Arizona State University, enhancing catch efficiency.

  • The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is collaborating with fishermen worldwide to test colored LED lights, particularly green ones, as a solution to minimize sea life entanglement, benefitting both the ocean ecosystem and fishing industry.

  • This approach reduces bycatch, fuel consumption, and increases fishermen's earnings. However, affordability remains a concern for some in the industry.

Facial recognition technology in a New Zealand government system has had a 45% failure rate in tests, raising concerns about its effectiveness, costs, and public perception.

  • The Identity Check system aims to be the primary method for New Zealanders to verify their identity online for various services, but its current success rate is only around 55%, making it commercially unviable.

  • To address these issues, the system is being upgraded with AI-based algorithms for liveness detection, which could potentially improve the pass rate to 90%.

  • The government's Delivering Future Identity Services Project, supported by an Act passed in 2024, is investing at least $70 million in modernizing identity systems, with Identity Check being one of its key components, but the project has faced challenges and funding issues.

Scientists have devised an incredibly thin material that has the potential to improve waterproofing across various fields.

  • The adhesion of water to solid surfaces influences numerous technologies, making it crucial to discover super-water-resistant coatings for designing more efficient waterproof equipment.

  • These liquid-like surfaces comprise an ultra-thin layer of water-resistant molecules bonded to a solid silicone surface, creating a lubricating effect that causes water droplets to effortlessly slide off with minimal friction.

  • A recent study conducted by researchers at Aalto University in Finland revealed that even when these liquid-like molecules are present in low concentrations, they still exhibit outstanding water resistance, which challenges prior expectations.

During an "in conversation" event at an AI summit, tech billionaire Elon Musk predicted that artificial intelligence would eventually render paid work.

  • The conversation also touched on the growth of the AI industry and the transformative potential of AI in education.

  • Both Musk and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak acknowledged public anxieties about job displacement due to AI and discussed the need for oversight or a "referee" for future supercomputers. Musk also mentioned the positive potential of AI in providing companionship and serving as patient tutors for learning.


Angry Nerds


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