Tech News October 2022

Elon Musk reportedly wants to lay off 75% of Twitter’s staff.

Musk has previously gestured at plans for layoffs if he were to buy Twitter, but those cuts could go even more profound than previously imagined.

According to a new report from the Washington Post, Musk plans to purge 75% of Twitter’s workforce or around 5,600 employees. If Musk’s vision for a much leaner platform comes to fruition, Twitter would be forced to operate with a sliver of its current staff.

Between broader economic factors and ongoing criticisms that Twitter has failed to deliver on its promise (at least as far as investors are concerned), Twitter was always going to trim its workforce. But cutting the staff by three-quarters isn’t what most people had in mind. The Post noted that Twitter planned to cut around a quarter of its workforce — but leaving a quarter of the workforce is a different situation altogether.

A grain of salt is necessary here. While Musk reportedly described his aggressive plan over the past few months, there’s often a gulf between his words and the reality of the situation. Musk might want to lay off 75% of Twitter’s workforce — what dollar-signs-for-eyes investor or CEO wouldn’t want to make more money with fewer pesky salaries to pay! — but it’s also conceivable that Twitter wouldn’t even be able to operate if cut to the bone.

Musk lacks a fundamental understanding of some serious issues the company faces, some of which could only be resolved by more investment in key areas. The SpaceX and Tesla CEOs were keen to lean on Twitter’s former head of security turned whistleblower Peiter Zatko when it suited him. Still, some of the dire security and safety needs that Zatko brought up certainly wouldn’t be resolved by gutting the whole company. Musk also barely has a grasp of the content moderation issues the company grapples with, another area that benefits from having more humans involved — not just a thrifty algorithm at the wheel. Certainly, and sadly, trust and safety would likely face deep cuts if Musk has his way.

It’s also plausible that the 75% number is just another trick he pulled out of his hat to impress whoever he was talking to, maybe bankers he was courting for the acquisition or the various slavering rich men he texts with.

The deal is back on track after months of Musk sowing chaos and is expected to close by October 28.

Microsoft becomes the latest tech firm to cut staff.

Microsoft announced layoffs across multiple divisions on Monday, Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: The move is another example of large tech companies cutting jobs after moving earlier to slow or freeze hiring as the broader economy cools.

Details: Microsoft declined to say how many jobs had been cut, but a source told the layoffs numbered under 1,000.

  • The cuts occurred across various levels, teams and parts of the world.
  • Multiple laid-off workers turned to Twitter and Blind, among other online forums, to share that their job had been cut.

The big picture: Nearly all the major tech firms have slowed headcount growth, with many freezing all but essential hires. Several companies have already moved to cut jobs, including Snap and, as Axios reported yesterday, Flipboard.

  • Meta has already frozen hiring and plans to cut budgets in most divisions, with layoffs expected.

They say, “Like all companies, we evaluate our business priorities regularly and make structural adjustments accordingly. We will continue to invest in our business and hire in key growth areas in the year ahead,” Microsoft said in a statement to Axios.

East meets West: Russia wants industry to ditch Zoom, Skype, and WhatsApp.

Russia’s Ministry of industry and Trade is now asking industrial bodies to stop using Western apps for communicating at work and choose Russian systems as an alternative.

The Kommersant Daily reported that the ministry had asked enterprises to stop using foreign messengers and videoconferencing systems, such as Zoom, Skype, and WhatsApp. The letter to the heads of industrial bodies was sent on October 13.

The aim is to ensure cybersecurity, even though the presented alternatives – for example, Yandex. Messenger – are suspected of being controlled and snooped on by the Russian state.

The register of acceptable domestic software provided by the ministry includes 258 Russian products, such as Yandex.Messenger, Yandex.Telebridge, Jazz, TrueConf, Kontur.Tolk, ICQ, TamTam, and VK Messenger.

“It is necessary to communicate on Russian messengers both on computers and smartphones, tablets and other devices,” the ministry said.

The recommendation seems to be problematic. For instance, even though Yandex is the largest internet company, in August 2022, it was forced to sell its news and blogging services to the state-controlled platform VKontakte (VK).

Even before that, news items on Yandex had already been carefully curated to avoid controversial topics. Items criticizing the war in Ukraine are regularly down-ranked or removed from the search results.

Moreover, back in March, the Financial Times cited researchers who raised concerns that user data collected by Yandex and sent to servers in Russia may then be accessed by the Kremlin and used to track people through their mobile phones.

The transition to Russian software for government agencies and budgetary organizations was approved in 2021.

Back then, Rostec, the state-owned defence conglomerate, stopped using Zoom, Skype, and WhatsApp. At the same time, the Ministry of education also recommended avoiding using foreign software in schools.

As Cybernews has already reported this week, Russia has recently been on a fining spree, issuing financial penalties to almost every major Western tech company.

Russia’s communications watchdog Roskomnadzor has fined Amazon, TikTok, Twitch, Google, YouTube, and other platforms that have allegedly failed to remove what the watchdog deems “illegal content”.

What Is the Future of Tech: 23 Technologies by 2022
  1. Security Cross-Cutting Issues
  2. The growth of large data repositories and the emergence of data analytics have combined with intrusions by bad actors, governments, and corporations to open Pandora’s box of issues. How can we balance security and privacy in this environment?
  3. Open Intellectual Property Movement
  4. The open IP movement is upon us, from open-source software and standards to open-access publishing. What are the implications?
  5. Sustainability
  6. Can electronic cars, LED lighting, new types of batteries and chips, and increasing use of renewables combat rising energy use and an explosion in computing uptake?
  7. Massively Online Open Courses
  8. MOOCs can potentially transform the higher-education landscape, siphoning students from traditional universities and altering faculty and student roles. How significant will their impact be?
  9. Quantum Computing
  10. Constrained only by the laws of physics, quantum computing will potentially extend Moore’s Law into the next decade. As commercial quantum computing comes within reach, breakthroughs are occurring at an accelerating pace.
  11. Device and Nanotechnology
  12. MEMS devices, nanoparticles, and their application use are here to stay. Nanotechnology has already been useful in manufacturing sunscreen, tires, and medical devices that can be swallowed.
  13. 3D Integrated Circuits
  14. The transition from printed circuit boards to 3D-ICs is already underway in the mobile arena and will eventually spread across the entire spectrum of IT products.
  15. Universal Memory
  16. Universal memory replacements for DRAM will cause a tectonic shift in architectures and software.
  17. Multicore
  18. By 2022, multicore will be everywhere, from wearable systems and smartphones to cameras, games, automobiles, cloud servers, and exascale supercomputers.
  19. Photonics
  20. Silicon photonics will be a fundamental technology to address the bandwidth, latency, and energy challenges in the fabric of high-end systems.
  21. Networking and Interconnectivity
  22. Developments at all levels of the network stack will continue to drive research and the Internet economy.
  23. Software-Defined Networks
  24. OpenFlow and SDN will make networks more secure, transparent, flexible, and functional.
  25. High-Performance Computing
  26. While some governments focus on reaching exascale, some researchers intend to move HPC to the cloud.
  27. Cloud Computing
  28. By 2022, the cloud will be more entrenched and more computing workloads will run on the cloud.
  29. The Internet of Things
  30. From clothes that monitor our movements to smart homes and cities, the Internet of Things knows no bounds, except for our concerns about ensuring privacy amid such convenience.
  31. Natural User Interfaces
  32. The long-held dreams of computers that can interface with us through touch, gesture, and speech are finally coming true, with more radical interfaces on the horizon.
  33. 3D Printing
  34. 3D printing promises a revolution in fabrication, with many opportunities to produce designs that would have been prohibitively expensive.
  35. Big Data and Analytics
  36. The growing availability of data and demand for its insights holds great potential to improve many data-driven decisions.
  37. Machine Learning and Intelligent Systems
  38. Machine learning plays an increasingly important role in our lives, whether ranking search results, recommending products, or building better models of the environment.
  39. Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  40. Unlocking information in pictures and videos has significantly impacted consumers, and more advances are in the pipeline.
  41. Life Sciences
  42. Technology has improved human and animal health and addressed environmental threats.
  43. Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
  44. Vast amounts of data enable the improvement of human health and the unravelling of life’s mysteries.
  45. Medical Robotics
  46. Medical robotics has led to many life-saving innovations, from the autonomous delivery of hospital supplies to telemedicine and advanced prostheses.

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