Weekly Reads
Weekly Reads - February 13, 2023

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Silicon Valley layoffs will help redistribute tech talent to other industries potentially spurring innovation in traditional industries like agriculture.

The biggest agricultural and construction equipment manufacturers are in pole position to lure laid off Silicon Valley workers. With more than 150,000 tech workers laid off by large tech companies in 2022, the talent pipeline for industrial companies are opening up. Companies like Deere, CNH, Caterpillar are pouncing on this opportunity by adding talent to help with their expansion into autonomous tractors, mining tractors, and precision agriculture. This incoming talent is bringing in the skill set needed to help transform these traditional industries through the use of more automation and AI. Historically, it has been difficult for these industries to attract top end tech talent with Silicon Valley offering much more attractive compensation packages. Now is the time for these companies to take advantage of hiring freezes in tech to improve their talent pool and offer better incentives to retain these employees for the long run. We could be heading into a new industrial era in which we see a rapid acceleration of industrial innovation helping solve prominent worldwide issues while bolstering the growth and profitability of these companies.  

The use of new coding languages can help software companies develop competitive edges by improving product performance, safety, and the user experience.

C and C++ remain the most well-known coding languages in the world, but we are seeing more and more programmers use alternative languages. One of the most popular yet widely unknown alternative languages is Rust, which is now used by an estimated 2.8 million coders. Companies like Discord, Dropbox, and Cloudfare utilize this language to help speed up their systems, sync files, and process traffic more securely. Rust was voted the most loved programming language 7 years running and has a cult like following of users from around the world. Rust is an oddity in the programming world finding major success in a market were most new programming languages fail to gain widespread adoption. Rust has won the hearts of programmers due its unique way in dealing with computer memory. C and C++ are the most widely used programming languages for creating software that interacts directly with hardware. The tradeoff of these languages is the need for users to keep track of what memory is being written to and when to erase memory. If the coder forgets to erase something it could crash the entire system or give hackers an entry point into the system. Rust fixes these problems by eliminating the need for programmers to manually figure out where in the memory they are putting the data making the software more secure and easier to develop. With cybercrime rising globally, Rust is a great tool to help software companies create safer products that could protect them from potential reputation damage caused by a cyber attack.

Market mania around AI continues to move stock prices, yet we still remain in the early innings of this technology and it is important that investors filter out noise from actual insights/breakthroughs.

With market headlines already predicting the end of Google search and the rise of Bing, it is important to separate the facts from the noise. The truth is both Google and Bing’s AI functionality is limited and untrustworthy, yet leading headlines indicate that Bing is far ahead. This could be true, but it doesn’t matter when Bing AI is providing so many inaccurate answers that prevent it from being used seriously. Bing AI is noted to have key issues such as producing false information and generating “AI hallucinations.”  This blog goes through various tests in which the user asks Bing AI to give him pros and cons of a pet vacuum, help create a 5-day itinerary for Mexico City, and financial information for Gap Inc. In these tests Bing AI either gave out inaccurate information or created its own false data (hallucinations). It’s interesting that despite the media hype surrounding the launch of Bing AI it is currently not much better than Google Bard. Both products are clearly broken and would have likely not been widely released if not for the pressure brought on by the media and investors who are being swept up in the AI mania.