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Factors unique to IT force historic rate hikes in US, UK • The Register

Analysis Both the UK and the US have recorded the highest inflation figures for decades. With inflation in the Eurozone hitting similar levels, the news is set to mark the end of more than a decade of ultra-low interest rates in the West.

In the US, roughly a third of IT staff are open to the idea of working in a new location. What difference does the price of fuel make to SAPs delivery of licensed software?

But while these measures based on consumer prices are bound to influence the IT sector, as prices for labour and raw materials climb, pre-existing pressures in technology markets are likely to eclipse these external influences.

Gartner distinguished research vice president John Lovelock told The Register said: “Currently, there is a major war for talent going on within the IT industry. There are certain sets of skills that are very high demand right now.

“And CIOs are losing out on that battle. In the US, roughly a third of IT staff are open to the idea of working in a new location. What difference does the price of fuel make to SAPs delivery of licensed software? You know, again, what does the price of aluminium mean to Amazon, Microsoft or Google providing cloud storage?”

As Americans paid higher prices for a wide range of goods including food, electricity and shelter, US inflation has hit 7.5 per cent, a rate not seen since 1982, when Ronald Reagan was president, and “Eye of the Tiger” was in the charts.

Yet it is likely inflation will fall in most categories of tech hardware, Lovelock argued, because price rises over the last year were down to exceptional demand during the worst months of the pandemic.

“We saw 25 per cent more PC shipped last year than we projected would be shipped back in 2019,” he said.

“That’s the type of demand that we cannot keep up with. Given the time it takes to bring your chip manufacturing up to speed, most of the hardware price increases that we seen are down to oversize of demand. But it has now started to ameliorate in semiconductor prices. Were at a high last year; they’re coming down this year.”

In the UK, the consumer price index hit 5.5 per cent this week, up from 5.4 per cent in December. The last time the island nation had seen rates of this sort, Conservation prime minister John Major had just won a general election and The Shamen were about to launch “Ebeneezer Goode” into the hit parade.


Recent ONS figures show salaries, overall, are lower than headline inflation, but that’s not true in many IT roles, said Bev White, chief executive of recruitment agency Harvey Nash Group.

“The ONS data also raises concerns that pay rises across the economy are not keeping up with the rate of inflation. Nevertheless, in tech we’re seeing that intense competition for some roles is still having a significant ratcheting effect on salaries.

“Over the last 12 months we’ve seen salary increases far above inflation for Software Engineers/Developers and Big Data/Analytics professionals. Tech salaries are also increasing right across England and Scotland, which is demonstrating a real levelling up of salaries across the UK,” she said.


While headline inflation may have little effect on IT prices, users should be wary of vendors using the macroeconomic figures to retro-fit justification to price rises in the pipeline, warned Rich Gibbons, service director with software asset management intelligence organisation The ITAM Review.

“With the subscription model coming into software more and more, all the vendors are putting their prices up anyway one way or another anyway. We’re concerned that inflation in the economy will be used as a sort of backwards-facing justification for price increases already coming down the line,” he said.

Microsoft price increases of around 25 per cent will begin next month for Office product subscriptions, he said, affecting users needing to renew contracts after that date.

Users can try to negotiate with the big vendors, Gibbons said. “Whether that would have any impact is a different matter. It is one of those things. But if prices go up, you can look at your usage, and your position across the board. There can be some great opportunities to negotiate on cloud, for example, and that can balanced prices rises elsewhere.”

No matter what the cause, price inflation was still a reality in the IT hardware market, said Ian Nethercot, supply chain director of UK hardware reseller Probrand.

“External inflation is potentially a problem for sure. We’ve seen prices continually rising for the last 12 months, being driven by a number of factors: logistics, shipping, energy prices. All of this adds up. We’re seeing price increases come into place from the tier one vendors, and after that, everyone else follows.”

He said price rises of 10 per cent were becoming the norm among vendors including HP and Cisco.

Although the pandemic-induced constraint on chip supplies was starting to ease, it was still affecting prices and lead times, Nethercot said. For most hardware, businesses were being quoted July and August for fulfilment. In networking equipment, lead times were between 300 to 400 days, he said.

Lead times, together with ongoing price rises, were making businesses think twice about launching major technology upgrades, he said. “But we are seeing price rises make businesses put off purchases. Projects are being put back and that will continue until prices stabilise or come down.” ®

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Global Affairs

Open Source Software (OSS) Supply Chain, Security Risks And Countermeasures

OSS Security Risks And Countermeasures

The software development landscape increasingly hinges on open source components, significantly aiding continuous integration, DevOps practices, and daily updates. Last year, Synopsys discovered that 97% of codebases in 2022 incorporated open source, with specific sectors like computer hardware, cybersecurity, energy, and the Internet of Things (IoT) reaching 100% OSS integration.

While leveraging open source enhances efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and developer productivity, it inadvertently paves a path for threat actors seeking to exploit the software supply chain. Enterprises often lack visibility into their software contents due to complex involvement from multiple sources, raising concerns highlighted in VMware’s report last year. Issues include reliance on communities to patch vulnerabilities and associated security risks.

Raza Qadri, founder of Vibertron Technologies, emphasizes OSS’s pivotal role in critical infrastructure but underscores the shock experienced by developers and executives regarding their applications’ OSS contribution. Notably, Qadri cites that 95% of vulnerabilities surface in “transitive main dependencies,” indirectly added open source packages.

Qadri also acknowledges developers’ long-standing use of open source. However, recent years have witnessed heightened awareness, not just among developers but also among attackers. Malware attacks targeting the software supply chain have surged, as demonstrated in significant breaches like SolarWinds, Kaseya, and the Log4j exploit.

Log4j’s widespread use exemplifies the consolidation of risk linked to extensively employed components. This popular Java-based logging tool’s vulnerabilities showcase the systemic dependency on widely used software components, posing significant threats if exploited by attackers.

Moreover, injection of malware into repositories like GitHub, PyPI, and NPM has emerged as a growing threat. Cybercriminals generate malicious versions of popular code to deceive developers, exploiting vulnerabilities when components are downloaded, often without the developers’ knowledge.

Despite OSS’s security risks, its transparency and visibility compared to commercial software offer certain advantages. Qadri points out the swift response to Log4j vulnerabilities as an example, highlighting OSS’s collaborative nature.

Efforts to fortify software supply chain security are underway, buoyed by multi-vendor frameworks, vulnerability tracking tools, and cybersecurity products. However, additional steps, such as enforcing recalls for defective OSS components and implementing component-level firewalls akin to packet-level firewalls, are necessary to fortify defenses and mitigate malicious attacks.

Qadri underscores the need for a holistic approach involving software bills of materials (SBOMs) coupled with firewall-like capabilities to ensure a comprehensive understanding of software contents and preemptive measures against malicious threats.

As the software supply chain faces ongoing vulnerabilities and attacks, concerted efforts are imperative to bolster security measures, safeguard against threats, and fortify the foundational aspects of open source components.

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By John Elf | Science, Technology & Business contributor Digital

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Choco: Revolutionizing The FoodTech Industry With Innovation & Sustainability | EU20

By Clint Bailey

— In the rapidly evolving world of food technology, European startup Choco has emerged as a pioneering force. With its website,, this Berlin-based company is transforming the way food industry professionals operate by leveraging innovative digital solutions. By linking restaurants, distributors, suppliers, and producers on a single platform, Choco is streamlining the supply chain process while promoting sustainability.

Let’s explore the journey of and its impact on the overall foodtech industry.

  1. Company: Choco Technologies GmbH
  2. Website:
  3. Head Office: Berlin, Germany
  4. Year Established: 2018
  5. Founders: Choco was co-founded by Daniel Khachab, Julian Hammer, and Rogerio da Silva.
  6. Industry: Choco operates in the foodtech industry, specifically focusing on digitizing the supply chain for the food industry.
  7. Funding: Choco has secured significant funding rounds from investors, including Bessemer Venture Partners & Coatue Management.
  8. Market Presence: Choco has a strong presence in several European cities, including Berlin, Paris, London & Barcelona.
  9. Mission: Choco aims to revolutionize the food industry by leveraging technology to simplify supply chain management, promote sustainability, and reduce food waste.

Simplifying Supply Chain Management

One of the core focuses of Choco is to simplify supply chain management for food businesses. Traditionally, the procurement process in the food industry has been cumbersome and inefficient, with numerous intermediaries and manual processes. Choco’s digital platform replaces the traditional paper-based ordering system, allowing restaurants and suppliers to communicate and collaborate seamlessly.

Choco’s platform enables restaurants to place orders directly with suppliers, eliminating the need for phone calls, faxes, or emails. This not only saves time but also reduces the likelihood of errors and miscommunications.

By digitizing the ordering process, Choco improves transparency, making it easier for restaurants to compare prices, track deliveries, and manage inventory efficiently.

Streamlining Operations For Suppliers & Producers

Choco’s impact extends beyond restaurants. The platform also provides suppliers and producers with valuable tools to streamline their operations. By digitizing their product catalogs and integrating them into the Choco platform, suppliers can showcase their offerings to a wide network of potential buyers.

Suppliers benefit from increased visibility, enabling them to reach new customers and expand their market presence. Moreover, Choco’s platform helps suppliers manage their inventory, track orders, and plan deliveries effectively. These features enhance operational efficiency, reduce waste, and ultimately contribute to a more sustainable food system.
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Promoting Sustainability & Reducing Food Waste

Choco recognizes the critical importance of sustainability in the food industry. According to the United Nations, approximately one-third of the world’s food production goes to waste each year. By digitizing the supply chain and enabling more efficient ordering and inventory management, Choco actively works to combat this issue.

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Choco’s platform facilitates data-driven decision-making for restaurants, suppliers, and producers. By analyzing purchasing patterns & demand, Choco helps businesses optimize their inventory levels, reducing overstocking and minimizing food waste. Additionally, Choco supports local sourcing, enabling businesses to connect with nearby suppliers & promote sustainable, community-based practices.

Expanding Reach & Impact

Since its founding in 2018, Choco has experienced rapid growth and expansion. The startup has successfully secured significant funding rounds, allowing it to scale its operations and establish a strong presence across Europe and other global markets. Today, Choco’s platform is used by thousands of restaurants and suppliers, revolutionizing the way they operate.

Choco’s impact extends beyond operational efficiency or sustainability. By connecting restaurants, suppliers & producers on a single platform, Choco fosters collaboration & encourages the exchange of ideas. This collaborative approach strengthens the overall foodtech ecosystem and creates a supportive community of like-minded aiming to drive positive change within the industry.

Future Of FoodTech

Choco’s rise to prominence in the foodtech industry exemplifies the reach of sustainability, innovation, and community. Through its user-friendly platform, Choco simplifies supply chain management, streamlines operations for restaurants & suppliers, and actively promotes sustainable practices. By harnessing the potential of digital, Choco is disrupting the future of the food industry, making it more efficient and transparent.

As Choco continues to expand its impact and reach, its transformative influence on the foodtech sector is set to inspiring, grow other startups, and established players to embrace technology for a better and more sustainable food system.

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— Compiled by Clint Bailey | Team ‘Voice of EU’
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The Implications Of Controlling High-Level Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI)

Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI)

By Clint Bailey | ‘Voice of EU’

The notion of artificial intelligence surpassing humanity has long been a topic of discussion, and recent advancements in programs have reignited concerns. But can we truly control super-intelligence? A closer examination by scientists reveals that the answer is highly unlikely.

Unraveling The Challenge:

Controlling a super-intelligence that surpasses human comprehension necessitates the ability to simulate and analyze its behavior. However, if we are unable to comprehend it, creating such a simulation becomes an impossible task. This lack of understanding hinders our ability to establish rules, such as “cause no harm to humans,” as we cannot anticipate the scenarios that an AI might generate.

The Complexity Of Super-Intelligence:

Super-intelligence presents a distinct challenge compared to conventional robot ethics. Its multifaceted nature allows it to mobilize diverse resources, potentially pursuing objectives that are incomprehensible and uncontrollable to humans. This fundamental disparity further complicates the task of governing and setting limits on super-intelligent systems.

Drawing Insights From The Halting Problem:

Alan Turing’s halting problem, introduced in 1936, provides insights into the limitations of predicting program outcomes. While we can determine halting behavior for specific programs, there is no universal method capable of evaluating every potential program ever written. In the realm of artificial super-intelligence, which could theoretically store all possible computer programs in its memory simultaneously, the challenge of containment intensifies.

The Uncontainable Dilemma:

When attempting to prevent super-intelligence from causing harm, the unpredictability of outcomes poses a significant challenge. Determining whether a program will reach a conclusion or continue indefinitely becomes mathematically impossible for all scenarios. This renders traditional containment algorithms unusable and raises concerns about the reliability of teaching AI ethics to prevent catastrophic consequences.

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The Limitation Conundrum:

An alternative approach suggested by some is to limit the capabilities of super-intelligence, such as restricting its access to certain parts of the internet or networks. However, this raises questions about the purpose of creating super-intelligence if its potential is artificially curtailed. The argument arises: if we do not intend to use it to tackle challenges beyond human capabilities, why create it in the first place?


Urgent Reflection – The Direction Of Artificial Intelligence:

As we push forward with artificial intelligence, we must confront the possibility of a super-intelligence beyond our control. Its incomprehensibility makes it difficult to discern its arrival, emphasizing the need for critical introspection regarding the path we are treading. Prominent figures in the tech industry, such as Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak, have even called for a pause in AI experiments to evaluate safety and potential risks to society.

The potential consequences of controlling high-level artificial super-intelligence are far-reaching and demand meticulous consideration. As we strive for progress, we must strike a balance between pushing the boundaries of technology and ensuring responsible development. Only through thorough exploration and understanding can we ensure that AI systems benefit humanity while effectively managing their risks.

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By Clint Bailey, Team ‘THE VOICE OF EU

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