DiscoverWSJ Tech News BriefingTNB Tech Minute: U.S. Prosecutors Probe Hacking-for-Hire Operation
TNB Tech Minute: U.S. Prosecutors Probe Hacking-for-Hire Operation

TNB Tech Minute: U.S. Prosecutors Probe Hacking-for-Hire Operation

Update: 2024-06-04
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U.S. prosecutors are investigating a global hacking operation targeting opponents of hedge fund firm Elliott Management and Oil Giant Exxon Mobile. According to court documents and people familiar with the matter, the hackers allegedly targeted individuals who opposed these companies. Neither Elliott nor Exxon has been accused of wrongdoing. Exxon denied any involvement in hacking activities, and an Elliott spokesperson stated they were unaware of the investigation. Meanwhile, a group of AI workers expressed concerns about the technology's potential threat to humanity. In a letter, current and former employees of OpenAI, Google's DeepMind, and Anthropic highlighted confidentiality agreements, lack of whistleblower protections, and fear of retaliation as barriers to voicing their concerns. They called for companies to establish reporting channels for employees to raise concerns internally and externally. OpenAI responded by stating they have an anonymous integrity hotline and only release technology after implementing necessary safeguards. DeepMind and Anthropic did not immediately respond to requests for comment. In other news, Databricks announced the acquisition of data management startup Tabular. The acquisition aims to attract more customers by simplifying the use of their own data with AI. Databricks declined to disclose the acquisition price, but it was estimated to be between one and two billion dollars. Databricks provides a platform for storing, organizing, and analyzing data across multiple cloud providers. This acquisition comes as Databricks and other cloud data companies compete for AI clients, particularly enterprises seeking to invest in AI for business processes and building their own AI capabilities.

Outlines

00:00:00
Tech News Briefing

This Chapter covers various tech news updates, including an investigation into a global hacking operation targeting opponents of Elliott Management and Exxon Mobile, concerns raised by AI workers about the technology's potential threat to humanity, and Databricks' acquisition of data management startup Tabular.

Keywords

Elliott Management
Elliott Management Corporation is a global investment firm known for its activist investing approach. It actively engages with companies in which it invests, often seeking changes in management, strategy, or corporate governance. The firm has a history of high-profile campaigns, including those involving companies like Arconic, Hess Corporation, and Valeant Pharmaceuticals.

Exxon Mobile
Exxon Mobil Corporation is an American multinational oil and gas corporation headquartered in Irving, Texas. It is one of the world's largest publicly traded companies and a major producer of crude oil and natural gas. Exxon Mobil has been involved in various controversies, including its role in climate change and its lobbying efforts against environmental regulations.

OpenAI
OpenAI is a research and deployment company focused on artificial intelligence (AI). It was founded in 2015 by a group of prominent figures in the tech industry, including Elon Musk and Sam Altman. OpenAI is known for its work on large language models, such as GPT-3, which have demonstrated impressive capabilities in natural language processing and code generation.

DeepMind
DeepMind is a British artificial intelligence (AI) company acquired by Google in 2014. It is known for its groundbreaking work in AI research, particularly in the areas of reinforcement learning and deep learning. DeepMind's AlphaGo program famously defeated a professional Go player in 2016, marking a significant milestone in AI development.

Anthropic
Anthropic is an AI safety and research company founded by former OpenAI researchers. It focuses on developing AI systems that are safe, reliable, and aligned with human values. Anthropic is known for its work on large language models and its efforts to address the potential risks associated with advanced AI.

Databricks
Databricks is a cloud-based data and AI platform that provides tools for data engineering, data science, and machine learning. It offers a unified platform for storing, organizing, and analyzing data across multiple cloud providers. Databricks is widely used by businesses of all sizes to extract insights from their data and build AI-powered applications.

Tabular
Tabular is a data management startup that provides tools for data governance, data quality, and data lineage. It helps businesses manage their data effectively and ensure its accuracy and reliability. Tabular's acquisition by Databricks is expected to enhance Databricks' capabilities in data management and AI.

Q&A

  • What is the nature of the hacking operation being investigated by U.S. prosecutors?

    The investigation focuses on a global hacking operation targeting individuals who opposed hedge fund firm Elliott Management and Oil Giant Exxon Mobile. The hackers allegedly aimed to disrupt or harm these individuals.

  • What concerns have AI workers raised about the technology's potential threat to humanity?

    AI workers expressed concerns about the potential risks associated with advanced AI, including the lack of transparency and accountability in its development, the potential for misuse, and the need for safeguards to prevent unintended consequences.

  • What is Databricks' motivation for acquiring data management startup Tabular?

    Databricks aims to enhance its AI capabilities and attract more customers by making it easier for businesses to use their own data with AI. Tabular's expertise in data management will complement Databricks' existing platform.

Show Notes

Plus, why some artificial intelligence workers say they’re afraid of voicing concerns. And Databricks is buying data-management startup Tabular in a bid for AI customers. Julie Chang hosts.


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TNB Tech Minute: U.S. Prosecutors Probe Hacking-for-Hire Operation

TNB Tech Minute: U.S. Prosecutors Probe Hacking-for-Hire Operation

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