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Connected newsletter: Web turns 35 as AI horror stories continue

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Did you know it’s 35 years ago this month that the world wide web was created? Here is a piece I wrote on the anniversary and on what Tim Berners-Lee has to say about the state of the web now. TL;DR?: It’s a cesspool but can still be saved.

Earlier this week we reported that the government is scouting a number of locations in Dublin to host an ambitious new technology incubator campus. But in an interesting analysis, Eamon Carey, who formerly led Techstars in London, warns against big box projects such as tech campuses and monorails!

FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for stealing billions of dollars from customers, marking the final chapter in a case that has both captivated and overshadowed the crypto industry.

X, the social network formerly known as Twitter, is testing a feature that lets users create or join communities focused on “adult content” or other “not safe for work” material.

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AI continues to dominate the headlines around the world with much of the coverage focusing on the likely negative aspects of artificial intelligence. The Institute for Public Policy Research in Britain has issued a particularly bleak report forecasting that as many as 8 million roles could be lost due to an “jobs apocalypse.” All is not lost however, if steps are taken now to equip workers with the skills they need to adapt, the institute said.

I warned recently that AI is increasingly ending up in the hands of a few Big Tech giants. As if on cue, Amazon this week upped its investment in Dublin-bound Anthropic, a rival to OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Having previously invested in the company last September, Amazon this week put a further $2.75 billion into the start-up to take its total investment to $4 billion. Google also has a stake in the company.

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With the latter having already unveiled AI innovations in its Pixel smartphones, and with Samsung having done likewise, it’s Apple’s turn to showcase what it has to offer. It plans to kick off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference on June 10, when the company will unveil its next major software updates for products including the iPhone and iPad, with its new AI strategy will be front and centre for the planned iOS 18 upgrade.

Profits at Apple’s main Irish subsidiary jumped to $36.6 billion in 2023, as against $21 billion a year earlier, newly filed accounts show. Apple Operations International, which covers the majority of the tech giant’s international business, recorded net sales of $218 billion, down 1.8 per cent versus the $222.7 billion reported a year earlier. It also paid a whopping $92.9 billion in dividends to its parent.

Elsewhere, Apple is one of three companies, along with Google and Facebook-parent Meta, to face EU probes under the Digital Markets Act, which came into force recently. Meanwhile, Amazon has lost a case to exempt its retail business from EU rules under ther Digital Services Act which forces tech giants to publish details on their advertisers.

You can’t keep a good man down! Adam Neumann and several partners submitted an offer to buy WeWork out of bankruptcy for more than $500 million (€461.8 million), putting one of the tech world’s most controversial founders a step closer to regaining control of his long-troubled start-up.

Investment in Irish fintech firms dropped off a cliff last year, with a 94 per cent decline in funding to $60.8 million (€56.2 million) across 11 deals. In happier news, investment into tech firms in Northern Ireland hit a record high in 2023 with £143.2 million (€167 million) invested across 89 deals.

In other news:

Fujitsu, the Japanese IT services giant, confirmed plans to wind down its Irish operation

Mbryonics, a Co Galway-based company, secured a €17.5 million investment to build “the internet in space”.

Wellola, a digital healthcare company, raised €2.2 million from backers to accelerate market expansion.

Connected magazine returns this weekend with the Business Post with plenty of great reads, including articles on greentech, smartphones, streaming options, tech skills, open banking and so much more. Read it online now or in print with the newspaper on Sunday.

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All the best,



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