AI News Roundup: Cisco Acquires Splunk for $28 Billion in Cash

Also – OpenAI is calling for experts to join its new red team network

Ben Wodecki, Jr. Editor

September 25, 2023

3 Min Read
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AI Business brings you the latest news and insights from across the AI world.

This week’s roundup covers Cisco's acquisition of data analytics and security provider Splunk for $28 billion in cash and OpenAI's open call for experts to join its red team network

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Cisco to acquire Splunk for $28 billion

Networking hardware giant Cisco is acquiring Splunk, a data analytics and security provider, for $28 billion in cash. It reportedly is Cisco’s largest M&A deal ever.

The acquisition will enhance the security of Cisco’s products and “drive the next generation of AI-enabled security and observability,” said Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, in a statement. Observability means the ability to assess the internal states of a system by examining its outputs.

With the explosion in data, acceleration of generative AI adoption and multi-cloud environments being the norm, systems and networks are becoming more complex – giving rise to more vulnerabilities. The two said they will help companies move from detecting and responding to threats to prediction and prevention.

Talk of the acquisition arose in February, with Omdia analyst Eric Parizo calling it an ‘odd move’ for Cisco since it “doesn’t seem to align with its core networking business.”

The deal, expected to close in the third quarter of 2024, would see Splunk president and CEO Gary Steele join Cisco's executive leadership team, reporting to Robbins.

OpenAI launches Red Teaming Network

ChatGPT-maker OpenAI is launching an experts network to red team its models.

The OpenAI Red Teaming Network will be tasked with evaluating new AI models and helping to improve their safety.

Red teaming is where people stress-test AI models by exploiting gaps within the models' security architecture.

OpenAI wants experts from various backgrounds to join its red teaming efforts, including those from psychology, law, cybersecurity and languages - prior AI experience is not required.

Members will be compensated and projects will be confidential. The time commitment can be as little as five to 10 hours per year.

OpenAI will select members on a rolling basis through December 2023 and members will not necessarily red team every new model.

To apply, fill out this form.

Roblox acquires speech recognition startup

Roblox, the popular online gaming platform and arguably an answer to the metaverse, is acquiring speech recognition startup Speechly.

Speechly offers tools for automatic speed recognition and natural language understanding. Its tech can be used to transcribe audio or to create voice interfaces.

Roblox, which is working to build 3D immersive environments, will tap the startup to provide communication features, including voice chat. It will also be tasked with moderating spoken language in real-time.

Speechly founder and CTO, Hannes Heikinheimo, said in a blog post: "We are excited to be joining a company dedicated to safety and civility and to use our AI expertise to evolve traditional methods of moderation to meet the scale, real-time and dynamic needs of a user-generated content (UGC) platform."

No financial details have been disclosed. Recently, Roblox announced a host of generative AI capabilities for users to build immersive environments.

FIFA greenlights AI tracking boots

Soccer’s governing body FIFA has approved the use of AI-tracking technology in player boots.

Tracker systems such as Playermaker provide technical and physical performance data that clubs use when assessing player performance.

Soccer trackers can provide data on everything from time on the ball, kicking velocities, speed and balance.

The AI tracker tech has also been approved by football lawmaker IFAB (International Football Association Board).

Playermaker has partnerships with hundreds of clubs, including Premier League sides Manchester City, Fulham and Portuguese giants Benfica.

About the Author(s)

Ben Wodecki

Jr. Editor

Ben Wodecki is the Jr. Editor of AI Business, covering a wide range of AI content. Ben joined the team in March 2021 as assistant editor and was promoted to Jr. Editor. He has written for The New Statesman, Intellectual Property Magazine, and The Telegraph India, among others. He holds an MSc in Digital Journalism from Middlesex University.

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