Friday 21 Jun 2024
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This article first appeared in Digital Edge, The Edge Malaysia Weekly on January 8, 2024 - January 14, 2024


Malaysia’s business leaders remain confident amid globalisation

Globalisation needs a reset to be more inclusive and sustainable. It has delivered economic growth and lifted living standards for millions, but developing markets and smaller businesses are often left behind, Standard Chartered said in a recent white paper, “Resetting Globalisation: Catalysts for Change”.

The financial institution connected with more than 3,000 business leaders across 20 markets to understand what works and what doesn’t when it comes to the global flows of capital, trade, technology and people, as well as implications on sustainability.

Almost 88% of business leaders around the world, including Malaysia, agreed that globalisation was succeeding across the five underlying pillars of trade, capital, technology, talent and sustainability.

Business leaders in Malaysia were most confident about the role that capital plays in globalisation, although 11% believed the global flow of capital should be controlled, more than any other market surveyed.

Moreover, Malaysia’s business leaders were more likely than their peers in the other markets surveyed to say that international trade had been good for only a few economies. More than 80% said globalisation had helped build more resilient supply chains and globalised services had created significant opportunities in the country.

Seventy-eight per cent affirmed that sustainable development was facilitated by global trade and more than 58% emphasised the importance of considering sustainability in the movement of goods and services among countries.

While 63% of business leaders in Malaysia believed that solutions for climate change required a global approach, 43% said they were willing to trade higher returns for more responsible investments.

As technology emerged as a strong theme, 74% of Malaysian leaders said the free flow of data around the world had had a positive outcome and 66% of business leaders supported the idea of businesses being able to recruit talent globally.

Steam ceases support for Windows 7 and 8, macOS 10.13 and 10.14 next on the list

On Jan 1, video game digital distribution service Steam officially stopped supporting the Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 operating systems. Existing Steam client installations on these operating systems will no longer receive updates of any kind, including security updates.

On top of that, Steam will be unable to offer users technical support for issues related to the old operating systems. Also, it will be unable to guarantee continued functionality of Steam on the unsupported operating systems.

“In order to ensure continued operation of Steam and any games or other products purchased through Steam, users should update to a more recent version of Windows. We expect the Steam client and games on these older operating systems to continue running for some time without updates after Jan 1, 2024, but we are unable to guarantee continued functionality after that date,” the company said on its support page.

“This change is required as core features in Steam rely on an embedded version of Google Chrome, which no longer functions on older versions of Windows. In addition, future versions of Steam will require Windows features and security updates only present in Windows 10 and above.”

Apple’s macOC 10.13 (High Sierra) and 10.14 (Mojave) will get the same treatment from Feb 15.

“The macOS 10.14 was the last version to support running 32-bit games on macOS. Apple chose to drop support for 32-bit applications in macOS 10.15 (released in 2019), and since many developers have not updated their games to support 64-bit executables, some games will effectively stop functioning on macOS,” said the company.

“The Steam store will stop considering games that offer only 32-bit macOS binaries to be Mac compatible at the end of 2023. 98%+ of Steam customers on Mac are already running macOS 10.15 or newer. This means 32-bit-only games and applications no longer run on your current operating system.”

Coursera: High demand for generative AI courses

In 2023, Malaysian learners on Coursera demonstrated a 50% increase in the time committed to learning. There was also a huge surge of interest in generative artificial intelligence (AI) content, with searches in Malaysia growing sevenfold compared with the previous year.

The top three generative AI courses are Introduction to Generative AI (Google Cloud), Prompt Engineering for ChatGPT (Vanderbilt University) and the newly launched Generative AI for Everyone (DeepLearning.AI).

The enthusiasm among Malaysian learners for acquiring skills in emerging technologies, especially AI, aligns with the government’s aim to foster a tech-savvy workforce and position the country as a regional technology hub. The learner trends are based on data collected from more than 716,000 registered learners in Malaysia.

The 2023 data show that Malaysian learners are particularly enthusiastic about courses that provide high-demand technology and data science skills, indicating a keen desire to gain the competencies needed to thrive in the modern, digital economy. Courses by Google dominate the list, emphasising foundational knowledge in data management, project management, cybersecurity, digital marketing, e-commerce and user experience design.

The most popular course among Malaysian learners is Google’s Foundations: Data, Data, Everywhere — a popular choice for those seeking to build foundational literacy to stay competitive in an increasingly data-driven world. Yonsei University’s First Step Korean continues to feature in the most popular courses list for four years, suggesting a constant interest in language and cultural studies, possibly driven by global connectivity and cultural exchange.

There is also a growing take-up of courses that are part of entry-level professional certificates, which do not require prior knowledge and offer the skills needed for entry-level roles.

“[Malaysia’s] interest in generative AI, tech and data skills not only reflects their thirst for cutting-edge knowledge but also their commitment to staying at the forefront of the digital revolution,” said Raghav Gupta, managing director for Asia-Pacific at Coursera.

“In the year ahead, we’re excited to use generative AI to transform education, providing personalised, engaging and inclusive learning. The renewed focus on lifelong learning, tech and human skills, and blended learning on campuses will be the key to employability in an AI-driven world.”

1,900% increase in cybersecurity job searches

Qrator Labs, a provider of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) mitigation services, observed a doubling in demand for crucial cybersecurity positions like information security manager and cloud security architect in Malaysia. The role of IT director also saw a substantial uptick, an increase of 57%.

The cybersecurity job market in the country is undergoing an unprecedented boom, with Qrator Labs’ latest research revealing a staggering 1,900% increase in job searches. This surge underscores the escalating demand for cybersecurity professionals as organisations strive to bolster digital security.

Victor Zyamzin, global head of business development at Qrator Labs, said the surge in demand for cybersecurity roles reflects a critical need for expertise as Malaysia confronts an evolving cybersecurity landscape. “As organisations grapple with escalating cyberthreats, our study illuminates the pivotal role of cybersecurity experts in fortifying the nation’s digital defences.”

Projections indicate that by 2025, Malaysia will require 27,000 cybersecurity experts, reflecting a substantial growth from the current 15,248 professionals.

Amid the transformative evolution of Malaysia’s cybersecurity landscape, Qrator Labs reported a significant upswing in online interest, with a 50% increase in Google searches related to cybersecurity salaries. This heightened curiosity mirrors a growing awareness of the field, emphasising the escalating importance of cybersecurity expertise in the local job market.

In tandem with this, Qrator Labs identified a 200% rise in the adoption of cybersecurity frameworks in Malaysia. Organisations are recognising the need to strengthen their digital infrastructures, emphasising the implementation of robust cybersecurity measures. This surge in framework adoption signifies a proactive response to the evolving threat landscape, showcasing a commitment to digital resilience.

The study also highlighted the growing preference for remote work dynamics, creating opportunities for tech professionals skilled in driving digital transformation and fortifying remote setups.


(Photo by Disney)


Mickey and Minnie Mouse earliest copyright now public

Steamboat Willie, a 1928 short film featuring early non-speaking versions of Mickey and Minnie, made cinema history and now their images are available to the public in the US after Disney’s copyright expired.

This means creatives like cartoonists can now rework and use the earliest versions of Mickey and Minnie without permission or cost. These works can now legally be shared, performed, reused, repurposed or sampled.

But Disney warned that more modern versions of Mickey are still covered by copyright. “We will, of course, continue to protect our rights in the more modern versions of Mickey Mouse and other works that remain subject to copyright,” said the company.

US copyright law says the rights to characters can be held for 95 years, which means the characters in Steamboat Willie entered the public domain on Jan 1, 2024.



“As a non-lawyer, I have not kept up with emerging trends (and related risks) in legal technology and did not know that Google Bard was a generative text service that, like ChatGPT, could show citations and descriptions that looked real but actually were not. Instead, I understood it to be a supercharged search engine and had repeatedly used it in other contexts to (successfully) find accurate information online.” 

— Michael Cohen, former lawyer of Donald Trump

Cohen admitted to citing fake, AI-generated court cases in a legal document that wound up in front of a federal judge. In a court filing, it says Cohen used Google’s Bard to perform research after mistaking it for “a supercharged search engine” rather than an AI chatbot.

The document in question was a motion that asked a federal judge to shorten the length of Cohen’s three-year probation, which he is now facing following prison time and a guilty plea to tax evasion and other charges. But after reviewing the letter’s brief, US District Judge Jesse Furman wrote in a filing that “none of these cases exist” and asked Cohen’s lawyer, David Schwartz, to explain why the three cases are included in the motion as well as whether Cohen, now disbarred, helped draft it.



Edge computing

An emerging computing paradigm that refers to a range of networks and devices at or near the user. Edge is about processing data closer to where it is being generated, enabling processing at greater speeds and volumes, leading to greater action-led results in real time.



A techy new year poem by ChatGPT

In the realm of circuits, a New Year’s morn,

Digital dreams in lines reborn.

Bits and bytes, a symphony plays,

Tech whispers through the binary haze.

Clocks tick in processors, rhythmic and clear,

Circuits dance as the night draws near.

Screens aglow with resolutions high,

Pixels weave tales in the digital sky.

In the language of code, a story to tell,

Innovation’s embrace, a magic spell.

Zeros and ones declare a new start,

A techy New Year, a work of art.

Raise a glass to circuits and light,

Innovation’s glow, a beacon bright.

In the digital realm, where dreams align,

Happy New Year in this techy design!


(Photo by Bookmory)


Track your reading with Bookmory

For those of you who made a New Year’s resolution to read more, this book tracking app may be a good motivator to keep you going. This intuitive app allows users to input books they are currently reading and those on the shelf waiting to be read, whether it is a physical book, e-book or audiobook.

When logging in a new book, users can choose how they would like to track their progress: by page, percentage or episode. Once that is done, all that is needed is to log the amount read in a day. The app also allows users to start a stopwatch in-app to time their reading sessions.

Bookmark also collates users’ reading habits and sends prompts to remind them to open their book. There are also daily, monthly and yearly statistics to see the progress one has made.

This free app is available on the App Store and Google Play.


(Photo by Huawei)


Huawei introduces new open-ear TWS earbuds

Huawei Consumer Business Group (CBG) Malaysia observed a growing demand for in-ear wireless earbuds that combine modern technology with the advantage of allowing users to be attuned with their surroundings.

With that in mind, the company unveiled its latest technological creation, the Huawei Freeclip, the company’s first open-ear true wireless stereo that comes with a C-bridge design, leakproof sound technology, IP54-rated water and sweat resistance, artificial intelligence crystal-clear call and an intelligent left-right ear recognition.

The earbuds’ design positions the Huawei FreeClip as the perfect wireless audio companion for those seeking an alternative to in-ear options in various settings, including sports, fashion, leisure and mobile office scenarios.

The Huawei FreeClip retails from RM899 and will be available for pre-order exclusively on Huawei’s official website and its official stores on Shopee and Lazada.



User Friendly: How the Hidden Rules of Design Are Changing the Way We Live, Work, and Play by Cliff Kuang and Robert Fabricant

Authors Cliff Kuang and Robert Fabricant reveal the untold story of a paradigm that quietly rules our modern lives: the assumption that machines should anticipate what we need.

Spanning a century of sweeping changes, from women’s rights to the Great Depression to World War II to the rise of the digital era, this book unpacks the ways in which the world has been — and continues to be — remade according to the principles of the once-obscure discipline of user-experience design.

Kuang and Fabricant map the hidden rules of the design world and shed light on how those rules have caused our world to change — an underappreciated but essential history that is pieced together for the first time. Combining the expertise and insights of a leading journalist and a pioneering designer, the book provides a definitive, thoughtful and practical perspective on a topic that has rapidly gone from arcane to urgent to inescapable. — Amazon

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