CIO SA tech news round-up: NewsGPT plans to revolutionise news reporting, South Africa and France collaborate to combat cybercrime, and more

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A Microsoft-IDC study reveals that retail workers in South Africa demand increased technology. ‘Crypocrash King’ Do Kwon has been sentenced to four months in jail. South Africa and France have signed a co-operation protocol agreement to enhance the cyber-forensic capabilities of the SIU.

NewsGPT is the world's first news channel to be generated entirely by AI

NewsGPT is a new platform that utilises advanced artificial intelligence technology to generate news articles, leveraging the power of language models and machine learning algorithms to generate news articles that are intended to be informative and engaging.

According to Alan Levy, CEO of NewsGPT, the newly launched platform is set to be a game-changer in the realm of news delivery. NewsGPT aims to revolutionise the industry by providing unbiased AI-generated news. With a strong commitment to empowering readers with authentic and reliable information, NewsGPT.ai is determined to challenge the dominance of media giants and bring about a transformative shift in the news landscape.

“For too long, news channels have been plagued by bias and subjective reporting. With NewsGPT, we are able to provide viewers with the facts and the truth, without any hidden agendas or biases,” said Alan.

“We believe that everyone deserves access to unbiased and fact-based news. With NewsGPT, we are making that a reality,” he added.

NewsGPT.ai uses cutting-edge technology, including advanced algorithms and natural language processing, to ensure unparalleled accuracy and fairness. By eliminating human biases and political inclinations, this innovative platform provides readers with unfiltered facts, free from hidden agendas and manipulative tactics.

According to the company, transparency and accountability are at the core of NewsGPT.ai's values, setting it apart from traditional media outlets where corporate interests often overshadow the truth. Each AI-generated article includes clear attribution to sources and links for fact-checking, empowering readers to independently verify the information.

The creators also claim that NewsGPTunderstands the importance of responsible journalism, and has undergone extensive training on diverse datasets in this regard. “It seamlessly integrates information from various perspectives, offering a balanced and comprehensive understanding of complex issues,” the company said.

Microsoft-IDC study: SA retail workers call for more technology

Most South African retail workers are feeling overworked, but the vast majority believe technology is the answer to their situation, a Microsoft-sponsored IDC study has revealed.

“We often refer to them as ‘the deskless workforce’ – our economic lifeline during the height of the pandemic, working overtime to maintain our supply chains, at considerable risk to their own physical and mental health,” said Colin Erasmus, chief operations officer at Microsoft South Africa. “We owe them solutions to their challenges, and technology has enormous potential for retailers to take the important first steps toward improving the employee experience for associates.”

In compiling “Empowering Retail Associates in South Africa”, IDC researchers extensively interviewed frontline workers and their managers. The researchers found that 38 percent of South African retail associates feel their working hours are long, and their schedule rigid, and that this has led to increased stress and attrition.

However, almost all (81 percent) of those polled believed technology would enable them to do their job more effectively and 77 percent felt it would lead to them being more engaged with their organisation. Over half (52 percent) of all associates indicated skills development as a key area that technology could bring about significant improvement in, and 50 percent said it could improve customer experience.

There is a gap between the recognition of the importance of technology and digital transformation maturity in the retail sector, though: 62 percent of retail associates in South Africa believe that their organisation is below or on par with the industry average.

In guiding South African retail businesses in how to attract and retain talent, the report urged them to improve the productivity of retail associates through digital tools, develop their skills through virtual training and learning, and accelerate this digital evolution of the frontline workforce to keep up with industry standards. Investments in digital platforms and automated learning technologies will bring a 40 percent increase in productivity to organisations, the IDC predicts.

Terraform’s Do Kwon receives four-month jail term

Do Kwon, the cryptocurrency executive responsible for the collapse of the terraUSD and Luna tokens, resulting in a loss of $40 billion (R736 billion), has been sentenced to four months in jail in Montenegro.

Do was convicted of forging official documents and was apprehended at Podgorica Airport in March while attempting to board a flight to Dubai.

In addition to his conviction in Montenegro, Do is facing charges related to the token collapse in the US and South Korea.

Han Chang-joon, the former finance officer of Do’s company Terraform Labs, has also been sentenced to four months in prison after being found guilty of the same charges. Both men initially pleaded not guilty during their first court hearing in May.

The court clarified that the sentences would include the time already spent in detention since their arrest in March. The defendants will have the opportunity to appeal the verdict within eight days of receiving written notification from the court.

In February, US regulators filed charges against Kwon and Terraform Labs, accusing them of orchestrating a multi-billion dollar crypto asset securities fraud.

According to US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Gary Gensler, “We allege that Terraform and Do Kwon failed to provide the public with full, fair, and truthful disclosure as required for a host of crypto asset securities, most notably for Luna and TerraUSD.”

Last year, a South Korean court issued arrest warrants for Kwon and five other individuals connected to the case. Prosecutors said they believed that Terraform Labs, which is registered in Singapore, had violated capital market rules.

Montenegro does not have extradition treaties with the US or South Korea.

The collapse of the terraUSD stablecoin and the associated Luna token rocked cryptocurrency markets in May 2022.

South Africa and France join forces to fight cybercrime

The two countries have signed an anti-cyber crime agreement.

South Africa and France have forged a co-operative protocol agreement aimed at enhancing the cyber-forensic capabilities of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU). In addition, this agreement is expected to facilitate the establishment of an anti-corruption academy in Tshwane.

The academy will cater not only to the SIU but also to other law enforcement agencies and anti-corruption bodies within the Southern African Development Community (SADC), as well as both Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth countries.

The agreement was officially signed on Monday by Ronald Lamola, the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services of South Africa, and Catherine Colonna, the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs.

Lamola emphasised that this co-operation agreement will greatly contribute to augmenting the SIU’s capabilities in cyber forensic investigations, financial crimes, and analytical skills. It will provide the much-needed expertise to bolster their capacity in these crucial areas.

“We are going to benefit a lot through this process of training that will enable our forensic cyber capabilities and investigations to be on par with the standards of the world and the globe because these types of crime are no longer just national, they are transnational in nature.

“So this kind of co-operation will definitely be of great value and help us as a country to enhance our skills and be able to deal with the cybercrimes in the country. This will further boost confidence in the investment climate in our country that our cyberspace is safe and if anything happens, we will have the capabilities to investigate,” he said.

The French Minister remarked that the agreement represents “a window of what we are promoting in terms of bilateral co-operation.

“This agreement will yield results beneficial to South African citizens and possibly to all the SADC region. As a result of the close co-operation from the French experts, the SIU currently has 22 trained trainers who possess the capability to train other investigators.

“Since the very early stages of our co-operation, members of the SIU have been to France and have had opportunities…to see and experience the French expertise in the field of mostly cyber investigations. I call for those exchanges to grow,” she said.

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