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By Michelai Graham
Boardroom's Tech Reporter
December 10, 2023
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Tech Talk is a weekly digest by Boardroom’s Michelai Graham that breaks down the latest news from the world’s biggest tech companies and the future of industry-shaping trends like AI.

Things are looking up for Bitcoin holders, after the cryptocurrency briefly surpassed $44,000 this week. The token’s uptick comes as investors grow optimistic about the likelihood of a spot bitcoin ETF approval in the US. Stay tuned for more on that later, and check out the rest of my 2024 crypto predictions while you’re at it.

A peek into today’s edition:

  • Tech companies band together for new AI Alliance
  • Spotify lays off 17% of its staff, CFO exits
  • Meta launches AI image generator

Meta, IBM Lead More Than 50 Tech Companies Launching AI Alliance

Meta and IBM are leading the charge on a new global alliance for open-source AI development called the AI Alliance. The group includes organizations across the tech industry, academia, research, and government that have banded together to share AI tech and reduce risk across the emerging sector. The AI Alliance’s most significant focus is open-source AI development to further advancements. Some other notable members in the new AI alliance include Cornell University, Dell Technologies, Intel, Oracle, NASA, Sony, and Yale University. The AI coalition will establish a governing board and technical oversight committee in the near future.

Some notable generative AI heavy hitters, including OpenAI, Google, and Anthropic, aren’t a part of the alliance. These companies haven’t been as susceptible to the open-source approach with their AI models, though Google and OpenAI have made some strides in that arena. Anthropic, on the other hand, hasn’t created any open-source AI models.

Spotify Cutting 1,500 Jobs, CFO to Exit in March 2024

After a fun week of celebrating Spotify Wrapped content, the Swedish company announced it was laying off 17% of its staff. A few days after that news dropped, the music streaming giant also announced that its CFO, Paul Vogel, is departing in March 2024. This marks Spotify’s third round of layoffs this year following letting go of 600 staff members in January and another 200 in June. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek broke the news to employees on Monday in a memo, attributing this latest round of layoffs to overhiring in 2020 and 2021. Vogel joined Spotify in 2016, when the company expanded into podcasting and audiobooks. Ek said Vogel will be departing because he doesn’t have the skills to pull Spotify through expansion and meet market expectations. The company hasn’t named a successor at this time.




Google Shares Another Preview of Gemini AI Model

Google is ready to share Gemini with the masses after first teasing its largest AI model at its developer conference in June. The Big Tech giant is dubbing Gemini its “most capable” AI model yet, and it’ll be releasing it in three tiers: Gemini Ultra, Gemini Pro, and Gemini Nano. Ultra is the most capable category at the highest tier, while Pro can scale across various tasks, and Nano will be used for specific tasks and mobile devices. Google will license Gemini to customers through Google Cloud. Gemini Pro will be available to developers and enterprises via an API as soon as Dec. 13. Android developers will also get access to Gemini Nano next week.

As expected, Gemini will be used to power Google’s flagship AI chatbot, Bard. Gemini Ultra is set to launch sometime next year.

  • Meta is ready to rival DALL-E and Midjourney by launching a standalone generative AI image generator called Imagine with Meta AI. Users can create images by describing via text what they want Meta AI to generate.
  • Verizon will soon offer some customers a bundled Netflix and Max subscription for $10 a month. This week, the wireless network operator announced that it’s also opening two cashier-less retail stores at Lincoln Financial Field powered by Verizon 5G and AI-powered computer vision technology.
  • Rockstar Games released a 90-second trailer for Grand Theft Auto VI, with a rare feature of a woman in one of the leading roles for the much-anticipated game. The video game publisher promises that GTA VI will be released in 2025. The trailer has already garnered more than 129 million views on YouTube at the time of this writing.
  • Sports Illustrated publisher The Arena Group has fired the sports magazine’s COO Andrew Kraft and President Rob Barrett following recent news that SI was publishing AI-generated content under fake author names. The Arena Group told Futurism that the firings aren’t related to the recent events but are part of a reorganization plan.
  • TikTok shared a report detailing some of its most trending content in 2023, and this year’s top video in the US features makeup artist Nyadollie doing a simple bright pink makeup routine. Food critic Keith Lee was crowned the top breakthrough creator of the year.
  • Wikipedia released its top 25 most-viewed pages of 2023, and ChatGPT‘s page was the most viewed on the website this year, with 49.4 million views.

I recently shared some of my crypto predictions for 2024, and while I predicted that Bitcoin would break the $40,000 threshold in the new year, it already did that. I want to up that prediction and bet that Bitcoin will break the $50,000 threshold before May.