IT Strategy

Three big IT stories around the world you might have missed this month

A roundup of some of the biggest IT-related news stories internationally.
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4 min read

It’s a big World Wide Web out there. Fortunately, we’re here to help you understand the big picture. IT Brew rounded up three of the most interesting tech news stories from around the world in the last month.

China’s AI chip shortage. Chinese companies are scrambling to acquire AI chips from companies like Nvidia after the US Commerce Department unveiled new restrictions on the export of advanced semiconductors in October.

The South China Morning Post reported consumer prices for RTX 4090 GPUs surged after Nvidia yanked inventory from Chinese shopping platform JD.com, and several of the firm’s major China-based partners (AsusTek, MSI, and Colorful Technology) also pulled online stock of the cards. The ban will also impact Nvidia’s ability to sell the A800 and H800 AI chips, which it designed for the Chinese market.

The biggest impact may be on the enterprise level, as US companies and Nvidia in particular currently dominate the market for powerful AI chips. The SCMP separately reported Xiamen Hongxin Electron-Tech, a major manufacturer of flexible circuit boards, and Inspur, a leading Chinese server manufacturer, have both launched efforts to acquire the chips before they become available.

In a statement to investors, the SCMP wrote, Hongxin said Chinese firms will no longer be able to lean on the US to fill demand: “The stricter the restrictions on Nvidia, the greater the space left for domestic AI chips and servers.”

Reservists drain Israeli tech sector’s workforce. The ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict may have serious impacts on the Israeli tech sector, according to Microsoft Israel R&D Center chief scientist Tomer Simon.

Reuters reported Simon published a letter in the Israeli daily news outlet Calcalist on Nov. 1 that there was a risk the conflict could destabilize Israel’s status as a world leader in technology, writing, “The country must create a positive horizon so that multinational companies continue to grow,” he said. He also cited statistics that every job in Israel’s tech sector creates five other domestic positions.

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“There is a great danger here. Israel cannot return to just producing oranges,” Simon added. He also said that the mass call-up of Israeli reservists, which includes many tech workers, has created a “substantial vacuum” in the workforce and sends a “worrying message” about “the reliability and stability of their Israeli operations.”

Simon noted the letter reflects his views, not those of Microsoft.

First global agreement on AI. Twenty-eight countries, including Brazil, China, India, Saudi Arabia, the UK, and the US, have signed an international pledge to direct frontier AI development in a “human-centric, trustworthy, and responsible” way at the UK’s global AI Safety Summit, the Financial Times reported. The EU also signed the declaration.

The pledge, called the Bletchley Declaration, recognizes the “potential for serious, even catastrophic harm” from AI and says signatories will work together to form common frameworks to identify AI safety risks and address them. A smaller group of countries, with China absent, signed another agreement with leading tech firms to provide for government testing of AI models on a voluntary basis before they receive general releases.

Skeptics abound, however: The Register noted the AI agreement is not legally binding, and the declaration “hardly amounts to concrete, practical commitments.” Reuters reported the event highlighted international tensions, with the US favoring a light-touch approach, the EU poised to sign an AI Act creating far-ranging regulatory powers, and China reserving its “equal rights to develop and use AI.”

Top insights for IT pros

From cybersecurity and big data to cloud computing, IT Brew covers the latest trends shaping business tech in our 4x weekly newsletter, virtual events with industry experts, and digital guides.