As 2023 quickly comes to a close, here’s a look back at some of the tech stories that caught my eye in the past year. These articles deliver perspectives on the evolution of the technology landscape and the roles of the leaders guiding the way; why overlooking security has disastrous results; and how the rapid evolution of the AI arms race is evolving.
By Kyle Wiggers, Tech Crunch, November 29
Sam Altman, the CEO of ChatGPT creator OpenAI, was abruptly fired from his job. It kicked off a frenzied weekend in the tech community as observers tried to piece together what happened at what Altman’s ouster might mean for the future of the company. By the end of the weekend, the company announced plans for Altman’s return, along with a slate of new board members. The drama opened up a broader discussion about how to manage the opportunities and risks posted by AI as startups and tech giants alike race to commercialize it.
By Ethan Mollick, One Useful Thing, November 27
To explain the future of organizations, Mollick takes us back to the New York and Erie Railroad of 1855, where the need to organize a massive, distributed workforce led to the development of the world’s first org chart. Fast forward to today, and while technology has advanced, many of the challenges leaders face remain the same, namely, how to rebuild companies to adapt to a major shift in how work gets done. This piece offers organizational leaders with a few guiding principles for shaping the future of work in the age of AI.
By Stephen Witt, The New Yorker, November 27
Jensen Huang has been leading the way in supercomputing since he signed the paperwork for Nvidia at a San Jose Denny’s in 1993. Today, the chipmaker provides a critical backbone for the AI generative revolution. This piece digs into the company’s history and provides a glimpse at what it has planned for the future, such as unifying the company’s computer graphics and GenAI research, anticipating that more sophisticated image generation and language processing capabilities will enable “digital twins” of the world that can be used to, for example, train robots and self-driving cars.
By Nilay Patel, The Verge, October 24
After 30 years teaching law, the internet policy guru, Lessig, expresses concern about AI and TikTok, and he offers an interesting assessment about how to balance free speech while protecting democracy.
By Edward Wong, Julian E. Barnes, Muyi Xiao and Chris Buckley, New York Times, December 27
At the tail end of the year, these four Times reporters offer an analysis of the Chinese Ministry of State Security deployment of artificial intelligence among other advanced technology in competition with the United States to achieve Xi Jinping’s goal to become the world’s preeminent economic and military power. The article highlights the intersection of technology, geopolitics, global economics, and military might.
By Stacy Collet, CIO.com, February 28
Amid economic uncertainty and a rapidly evolving technology landscape, today’s technology leaders are mobilizing strategic internal partnerships and taking on the role of both business strategist and changemaker as they transform the way their organization’s drive business outcomes. CIOs must still manage core technology, to be sure, but today “…it’s more about how we drive customer expansion, how we improve margin expansion, reduce friction by improving overall productivity of the organizations, and how each of these ties into our business strategy priorities,” says Max Chan, CIO of Avnet. CIOs “need to understand all those. We need to take interest in every single strategy priority in the business. This is table stakes.”
By Andy Greenberg, Wired, November 14
This article takes us behind the scenes how a bored 19-year and his friends dove into the world of cybercrime, creating a network that would be used in the major DDoS attack that took down major swaths of the internet, including notable sites like the New York Times, Netflix, Twitter (now “X”), and PayPal.
By Tom Davenport and Maryam Alavi, Harvard Business Review, July 6
In the summer of 2023, technology leaders raced to figure out the best ways to bring generative AI capabilities to their organizations. This article outlined a variety of approaches for applying genAI to internal knowledge management capabilities, highlighting projects by Bloomberg, Google and Morgan Stanley.
By Dylan Patel and Afzal Ahmad, SemiAnalysis, May 4
A leaked memo from a Google researcher-made waves this summer in its assertion that the tech giant didn’t have the right stuff to win in the AI arms race. The memo stated that open-source models “are lapping us,” and encouraged the company to establish itself as a leader in the open-source community and create new paths to innovation.
By Amanda Hetler, Tech Target, April 20
On March 10 Silicon Valley Bank was seized by state regulators due to its inability to pay its depositors, marking the biggest bank failure since Washington Mutual in 2008. Its downfall had a big impact on tech companies large and small that depended on the bank’s services and raised broader questions about the stability of the financial system.