Tuesday, June 20, 2023

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☕️ Techpresso: OpenAI lobbies EU, Google sued by Gannett, Meta's Voicebox AI, Rivian adopts Tesla's charging, Terraform Labs founder sentenced, Alibaba's leadership shakeup

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This is your daily dose of ☕️ Techpresso, where you get the latest tech news of the day effortlessly.

Here's the latest tech news from the last 24 hours:

🤖 OpenAI's efforts to influence EU AI regulations
🏛️ U.S. largest newspaper chain sues Google over online ad monopoly
🔊 Meta's new 'Voicebox' AI: innovation or privacy risk?
🚗 Rivian adopts Tesla's charging standard amidst EV competition
🔄 Alibaba names new chairman and CEO as focus shifts to cloud
⚖️ Terraform Labs founder, Do Kwon, receives jail sentence

🤖 OpenAI's efforts to influence EU AI regulationsLINK

  • OpenAI has lobbied the EU to soften proposed AI regulations, arguing that general-purpose AI systems (GPAIs) like ChatGPT shouldn't be considered "high risk" under the forthcoming EU AI Act, which would impose strict safety and transparency requirements.
  • Despite initial secrecy, OpenAI supported the inclusion of "foundation models" (powerful AI systems used for various tasks) in the AI Act, which demands more transparency, including disclosing whether copyrighted material has been used for training AI models.
  • The EU AI Act, with some of OpenAI's proposed changes incorporated, has been approved by the European Parliament, but still needs to go through a final "trilogue" stage before it comes into effect, a process expected to take about two years.
  • 🏛️ U.S. largest newspaper chain sues Google over online ad monopolyLINK

  • USA Today publisher Gannett has filed a lawsuit against Google, alleging that Google has illegally monopolized the advertising technology market, which has negatively impacted news publishers.
  • The arguments in this lawsuit mirror those of previous lawsuits filed against Google by the Department of Justice and a group of attorneys general led by Texas, all accusing Google of maintaining an illegal monopoly through control of various parts of the ad market.
  • In response to the lawsuit, Dan Taylor, VP of Google Ads, refuted Gannett's claims, highlighting that publishers have many options for monetizing through ad technology, and when they use Google's tools, they retain the majority of the revenue.
  • 🔊 Meta's new 'Voicebox' AI: innovation or privacy risk?LINK

  • Meta has developed a new AI system, "Voicebox", which can generate convincing speech in a variety of styles and languages, and perform tasks such as noise removal, outperforming previous models in terms of speed and error rates.
  • Despite potential benefits such as giving a voice to those who can't speak, enabling voice inclusion in games, and facilitating language translation, Meta has decided not to release the model due to concerns over misuse and potential harm, like unauthorized voice duplication and the creation of misleading media content.
  • To manage risks, Meta has developed a separate system that can effectively distinguish between authentic speech and audio generated with Voicebox, but it remains cautious about releasing Voicebox to the public, emphasizing the importance of balancing openness with responsibility.
  • 🚗 Rivian adopts Tesla's charging standard amidst EV competitionLINK

  • Rivian, an automaker, has announced that it will switch from the Combined Charging System (CCS) to Tesla's North American Charging Standard (NACS) for fast charging of electric vehicles in 2024.
  • This move follows similar decisions made by Ford and General Motors, marking an industry shift towards Tesla's charging standard and infrastructure.
  • Rivian's adoption of NACS will allow its customers to use Tesla's extensive Supercharger network, contributing to Rivian's ongoing efforts to promote EV adoption and work towards carbon neutrality.
  • 🔄 Alibaba names new chairman and CEO as focus shifts to cloudLINK

  • Alibaba announced major leadership changes, with Daniel Zhang stepping down as Chairman and CEO, to be succeeded by co-founder Joseph Tsai and Eddie Wu respectively, effective from September.
  • Following its largest restructuring, Alibaba is now divided into six separate units including cloud, e-commerce, logistics, and media; each overseen by its own CEO and board directors, with potential for separate listings or fundraisings.
  • These changes come in the backdrop of significant regulatory challenges faced by the company in China, including a record $2.8 billion fine for violating antitrust rules, and the abrupt halt of the Ant Group IPO.
  • ⚖️ Terraform Labs founder, Do Kwon, receives jail sentenceLINK

  • Terraform Labs founder, Do Kwon, has been sentenced to four months in a Montenegrin prison for forging official documents, including fake passports.
  • Kwon and his company are under investigation in South Korea and the US for an alleged Ponzi scheme involving TerraUSD and Luna cryptocurrencies, which caused investor losses of around $40 billion.
  • While Montenegro lacks extradition treaties with the US and South Korea, the option of extradition is being considered, pending the processing of the two nations' requests.
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    Spotify plans to launch a higher-cost subscription tier offering HiFi audio and expanded access to audiobooks, initially outside the U.S.LINK

    Apple is attempting to trademark images of apples, causing concern in Switzerland's Fruit Union Suisse over potential logo changes.LINK

    Chinese businesses and universities are turning to underground dealers to acquire high-performance Nvidia AI GPUs, despite US sanctions, often at double the usual price.LINK

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