CIO SA tech news round-up: Microsoft adds ChatGPT to its Azure cloud service, new plagiarism detection tools to detect bot-generated content are on the way, French regulator CNIL slaps TikTok with a €5 million fine, and Bitcoin is up 26 percent after a turbulent 2022


Microsoft adds ChatGPT to Azure cloud service

Microsoft Corp. said it will add OpenAI’s viral artificial intelligence bot ChatGPT to its cloud-based Azure service ‘soon”, expanding on the two companies’ existing relationship as Microsoft considers taking a much larger stake in OpenAI.

The software behemoth announced the broad availability of its Azure OpenAI Service, which has been available to a select group of customers since its debut in 2021.

According to a Microsoft blog post, the service provides Microsoft cloud customers with access to various OpenAI tools such as the GPT-3.5 language system on which ChatGPT is based and the Dall-E model for generating images from text prompts.

That enables Azure customers to use the OpenAI products in their own applications running in the cloud.

New plagiarism detection tools to spot ChatGPT-like written content on the way

ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, has risen to prominence since its most recent version was released in November 2022.

The chatbot, created by the well-funded US startup, OpenAI, can generate coherent essays and solve word-based maths problems.

The race to outperform AI-assisted plagiarism and cheating has begun. The Straits Times examines five tools for detecting plagiarism:

1. GPTZero: Developed by Edward Tien, a senior at Princeton University, GPTZero is an app that can quickly tell if an essay was written by a human or ChatGPT. The 22-year-old, who is pursuing a double major in computer science and journalism, uploaded a beta version of the tool on app-hosting platform Streamlite in the beginning of January to help educators detect (AI-assisted plagiarism.

2. GLTR (Giant Language Model Test Room): Researchers from the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab and the Harvard Natural Language Processing Group came together to create GLTR (Giant Language Model Test Room), an algorithm to detect if text was written by a bot when OpenAI released GPT-2 in 2019.

The researchers were concerned about the potential abuse of language models that have the potential to generate textual output that is indistinguishable from human-written text such as fake reviews, comments or news articles to influence public opinion.

The algorithm uses the “it takes one to know one” method to predict if a body of text is written by a bot. Typically, bots – unlike human writers – are less likely to select unpredictable words. GLTR is limited in that it has not been tested on a large scale.

3. GPT-2 Output Detector: Since OpenAI released ChatGPT’s predecessor GPT-2 in 2019, the startup has also demonstrated that it can create a bot that is capable of detecting machine-generated text with the release of GPT-2 Output Detector. Users simply paste text into a box to immediately see on a scale how likely it is that the text was written by AI.

4. Watermarking (coming soon): OpenAI is also working on watermarking all ChatGPT text to tackle potential abuses, including plagiarism. In a blog post in November 2022, OpenAI guest researcher Scott Aaronson wrote: “We want it to be much harder to take a GPT output and pass it off as if it came from a human.”

5. Turnitin Originality for ChatGPT (coming soon): Professors and educators currently use Turnitin Originality, a tool created by privately held American firm Turnitin, to ensure students submit original work. Like a Web crawler, Turnitin finds similarities in sentences and paragraphs against an online or offline database of content, and provides a similarity score. A returned percentage of below 15 percent would typically indicate that copying has not occurred.

French regulator CNIL slaps TikTok with a €5 million fine

TikTok UK and TikTok Ireland have been fined €5 million (R92 million) for making it difficult for users to refuse cookies and failing to adequately notify them of their purpose.

The fine was imposed by France’s data protection regulator, the Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL), after TikTok was found to be in violation of Article 82 of France’s data protection laws.

The CNIL noted that, while TikTok UK and TikTok Ireland provided a simple prompt and button for users to accept all cookies immediately, rejecting them was not as simple and required several clicks.

“The restricted committee considered that making the refusal mechanism more complex actually discouraged users from refusing cookies and encouraged them to prefer the ease of the ‘accept all’ button,” the CNIL said.

“It concluded that this process infringed the freedom of consent of Internet users and constituted a violation of Article 82 of the French Data Protection Act.”

Article 82 of the French Data Protection Act stipulates that services must secure user consent for cookie storage and allow the user to give or deny such permission.

Bitcoin is up 26 percent after a turbulent 2022

Bitcoin has started 2023 on a high note, with the price of the world’s largest digital token up roughly 26 percent since the beginning of January.

Bitcoin’s price surpassed $21,000 (R358,000) per coin last week for the first time since 7 November 2021.

It’s still a long way from bitcoin’s all-time high of $68,990 (R1.8 million) in November 2021. However, it has given market participants reason to be optimistic.

The month-to-date rally comes after a bleak 2022 that saw major insolvencies and scandals in the crypto industry, including the collapse of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX, as well as a sharp pullback in the broader market due to central bank actions.

According to analysts, a number of factors are driving bitcoin’s New Year’s Eve surge, including an increased likelihood of interest rate cuts, as well as purchases by large buyers known as “whales”.

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