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Nvidia, Intel and ARM Publish New FP8 AI Interchange Format

Nvidia, Intel and ARM have published a draft specification for a common AI interchange format aimed at faster and more efficient system development. The proposed “8-bit floating point” standard, known as FP8, will potentially accelerate both training and operating the systems by reducing memory usage and optimizing interconnect bandwidth. The lower precision number format is a key factor in driving efficiency. Transformer networks, in particular, benefit from an 8-bit floating point precision, and having a common interchange format should facilitate interoperability advances for both hardware and software platforms. Read more

EU Hints at Introduction of Metaverse Regulations and Taxes

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen signaled the bloc is preparing the implement a regulatory framework for the metaverse, writing in her annual Letter of Intent for the State of the Union address that the Commission will in 2023 advance an “initiative on virtual worlds, such as metaverse.” The EU’s internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton, expanded on that in a blog post that Europe’s “way to foster the virtual worlds” will be threefold, focusing on “people, technologies and infrastructure,” with speculation bubbling that the third prong will involve some sort of carrier tax. Read more

Ethereum Foundation Completes ‘Merge’ for Energy Efficiency

Ethereum completed its highly anticipated software upgrade known as The Merge last week, shifting to a more eco-friendly and sustainable framework. The upgrade is designed to reduce Ethereum’s energy consumption while making the platform cheaper and easier to use and laying the groundwork for future improvements. Ethereum developers prepared with diligence and attention to detail, but the industry was still on pins and needles as engineers scanned for snags and, though unlikely, braced for the possibility of systemwide collapse. Huge in scale, it was a high-wire act transitioning a live network. Read more

TikTok on the Hot Seat at Senate Homeland Security Hearing

Executives from four social media giants defended the privacy, security and content moderation protocols of their platforms to the Senate Homeland Security Committee Wednesday. In her first appearance before Congress, TikTok COO Vanessa Pappas was grilled on whether the short-form video app shares data about American citizens with the Chinese government. ByteDance, which owns TikTok, is based in Beijing, and its potential censorship of user content was another area of concern. Questions for the group — which included representatives from Meta Platforms, YouTube and Twitter — ranged from extremists to biometrics. Read more

California Attorney General Files Antitrust Suit Against Amazon

California attorney general Rob Bonta has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon, claiming the e-tailer has managed to bend competition and pricing to its will. Only about 25 million of Amazon’s 147 million U.S. customers are domiciled in California, but if the measure succeeds it could impact regulations across the country and across the globe. “For years, California consumers have paid more for their online purchases because of Amazon’s anticompetitive contracting practices,” Bonta said Wednesday. “Amazon’s market dominance, allowing the company to make increasingly untenable demands on its merchants,” resulted in “higher prices and more control.” Read more

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