Editor's Letter Insights

The Sky Might Be Falling, Soonish

Written by Sam Wallace

By the time you’re reading this, ChatGPT, OpenAI’s artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, will have been available to the public for at least four months. By today’s standards, that could well mean it’s already old hat—especially if the robot uprising has already taken place. (And, if that is the case, my compliments to our new robot overlords for their efficiency!) But as I write this, ChatGPT is still the talk of the town. To most observers, both expert and non-, it seems to be a bellwether of what’s to come.

Reports in February that researchers with the KTH Royal Institute of Technology used recursive training AI to “crack” the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)-recommended CRYSTALS-Kyber post-quantum encryption algorithm have since been challenged as a misleading distraction—by none other than Dustin Moody himself, head of NIST’s post-quantum cryptography project. Still, some in the industry suggest AI-assisted decryption can potentially pose as big a risk to cybersecurity as post-quantum decryption, and sooner. With sky-is-falling experts warning to prepare for a coming “Quantum Apocalypse,” and wolf-crying analysts shouting that the AI singularity is nigh, you might understand why this editor’s foot is tapping a little more nervously today.

April 2023 – Issue #393
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Kidding aside, it will be interesting to continue to watch how tech companies will address new or coming-soon cyber threats to embedded systems. Multiple sources cite “security” as the most dominant focus for embedded design in 2023. And, in other news that certainly will be old hat soon, the Biden administration recently announced a national cybersecurity strategy that shifts more responsibility for cybersecurity onto tech firms. I’m sure some of our readers are involved in security-related projects right now, perhaps nodding enthusiastically from their seats as they thumb this issue’s pages. If that’s the case, I’d love to hear from you.

In this issue: Mike Lynes covers sensor integration and development in the fourth installment of his monthly Technology Feature. Jeff Bachiochi addresses the question “What type of audio file might provide the best balance of quality and size and still be easily edited, stored, and reproduced with a minimum of circuitry?” in his column From the Bench. Brian Millier delivers a review of the new Joulescope JS220 precision energy analyzer. Ironically, as he points out, he had just designed and built a project to monitor voltage and current consumption (see “A Power Consumption Monitor for IoT Boards,” Circuit Cellar 392, March 2023) when he was asked to review the JS220. In his Start to Finish column, Stuart Ball discusses biometrics in embedded projects and examines the example of a particular fingerprint sensor. From his corner of the Magic Smoke Factory, Joseph Corleto explains thermistors and how to use them. In Embedded in Thin Slices, Bob Japenga continues his long-running series on debugging embedded real-time systems with a piece detailing strategies for duplicating bugs. Also, Pedro Bertoleti breaks down using FreeRTOS with an Arduino, and Avian Marinakis shares the details of a vintage-style tube amp built with an ADAU1701 audio system chip and an ESP32. Plus, I round up nine new 32-bit microcontrollers in this month’s Datasheet, and Steve Prescott reports on the latest tech at the 2023 World Ag Expo in Product News.

It’s a thrilling, if hair-raising, time in embedded electronics. I look forward to more excitement in next month’s issue (assuming an AI algorithm has not taken my job by then). Until then.

Issue Table of Contents can be found here,
as articles are made available online they will be linked.

PUBLISHED IN CIRCUIT CELLAR MAGAZINE • APRIL #393 – Get a PDF of the issue

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Editor-in-Chief at KCK Media Corp. | + posts

Sam Wallace - became Circuit Cellar's  Editor-In-Chief in August 2022.
His experience in writing, editing, and teaching will provide a great perspective on the selection, presentation, and clarity of editorial content. The Circuit Cellar audience will benefit from his strong academic background encompassing a Master of Fine Arts in Writing and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics with honors. His passion for learning and teaching is a great fit for Circuit Cellar's continuing mission of Inspiring the Evolution of Embedded Design.

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The Sky Might Be Falling, Soonish

by Sam Wallace time to read: 2 min