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By Michelai Graham
Boardroom's Tech Reporter
December 3, 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.

If you haven’t checked on your Google account in two years, now is a good time to do so since the Big Tech giant is deleting inactive accounts. The Gmail Armageddon began on Dec. 1. Is your account safe?

A peek into today’s edition: 

  • Happy first birthday, ChatGPT!
  • AI fakes are back on the rise
  • Amazon announces new tech at AWS conference

OpenAI Preps for a Major Transition as ChatGPT Turns 1

ChatGPT turned 1 this week, so I penned a story highlighting some of the monumental moments the viral AI chatbot had this past year. OpenAI‘s flagship conversational AI platform quickly and easily took the world by storm last fall, mainly because no one else was doing it yet. ChatGPT walked so Google’s Bard, Microsoft’s Bing, Snap’s My AI, and all the other countless AI chatbots on the market right now could run.

Still, it’s hard to commemorate ChatGPT’s success without also mentioning OpenAI’s recent turmoil. As of this past week, OpenAI’s board has fully made its transition as founder Sam Altman prepares to take back over. Microsoft has adopted a non-voting observer seat, and three of the four members who suddenly fired Altman are now gone. I have been wondering if Altman’s ousting, return, and board changes are the reasons Apple and Google didn’t honor ChatGPT as their apps of the year. ChatGPT’s mobile app has attracted more than 110 million downloads and generated nearly $29 million in consumer spending since it launched on iOS in May and on Android in July.

Despite the commotion, the platform’s impact is undeniable, and I can’t wait to see how ChatGPT progresses in the next year.

ByteDance Downsizes Gaming Division, Announces Virtual TikTok Open House

ByteDance announced that it’s restructuring its gaming business and cutting hundreds of jobs. This decision will mainly affect Nuverse, a video game publisher and subsidiary of ByteDance, an anonymous source told CNBC. ByteDance also halted work on unreleased games after aggressively pushing into the gaming industry in the past few years. A ByteDance spokesperson told CNBC that the company made this decision “to center on long-term strategic growth areas.” Nuverse will continue to operate at a smaller capacity.

Elsewhere in ByteDance’s business world, TikTok announced that it’s hosting a virtual open house on Dec. 12 to showcase its new and evolving augmented reality development tools.

A Popular Coding Influencer and Sports Illustrated Flagged for AI Fakes

It’s been a whirlwind of a week for AI fakes.

Firstly, Microsoft and Amazon executives backed out of speaking at a software developer conference called DevTernity after one of its organizers, Eduards Sizovs, admitted that one of the featured speakers was an AI-generated woman with a fake job title. To make matters worse, 404 Media revealed that Sizovs is also behind a popular Instagram account, @Coding_Unicorn, that was supposed to be run by a woman named Julia, who is a coder. The account boasts 115,000 followers, but in 404 Media’s investigation, the outlet found countless pieces of evidence that point to Sizovs running the page.

Sports Illustrated is also under fire for allegedly publishing AI-generated articles authored by AI-generated writers, Futurism uncovered. Yes, you read that right. Both the articles and author images were created with AI. SI has since taken down the stories pending an investigation, and its publisher, The Arena Group, claimed in a statement that Futurism’s findings are false. The Arena Group said that the articles in question were product reviews from an external partner, AdVon Commerce. The Arena Group’s shares plunged nearly 30% on Tuesday, knocking $20 million off its market cap.

  • OpenAI’s ChatGPT isn’t the only one celebrating a birthday this week — Nov. 28 marked 11 years since the first Bitcoin halving event took place, a time when the cryptocurrency cost $12 per coin. Bitcoin has surpassed $37,500 as of this week.
  • Amazon announced at its AWS re:Invent 2023 Conference that it’s releasing an AI-powered image creator called the Tutan Image Generator. The e-commerce giant also unveiled an AI chatbot for businesses called Q.
  • Google‘s new geothermal energy project is officially operational in Nevada, becoming a new clean energy power source for two of the Big Tech giant’s data centers.
  • Post headlines are back on X, though URLs still won’t have further preview text. Elsewhere, the New York Times reported that X could lose up to $75 million in revenue by the end of the year as more advertisers pull out. Elon Musk‘s response? He told advertisers, including Disney, NBCUniversal, and Warner Bros Discovery, to “go fuck yourself. Go. Fuck. Yourself. Is that clear? I hope it is.”
  • FTX investors are targeting Major League Baseball, Formula 1, Mercedes-Benz Group AG’s racing team, and other high-level entities in a newly filed lawsuit this week, accusing them of participating in FTX’s $11 billion scheme to defraud investors.
  • YouTube is further breaking into the gaming industry with the launch of more than 30 mini-games for its YouTube Premium subscribers. Coined Playables, the portfolio of games are both mobile and desktop-friendly.

Lapse, a photo-sharing app that skyrocketed from No. 118 to No. 1 in Apple’s App Store in September, saw downloads drop as much as 70% in recent months. I’m going to bet that we’ll see an uptick in activity once Lapse opens up invites to the masses instead of only allowing users to join by invite codes from friends.