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By Michelai Graham
Boardroom's Tech Reporter
September 10, 2023

TIME published its inaugural TIME100 Most Influential People in AI, which includes big names such as Sam Altman, Elon Musk, and Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang. At first glance, the list lacks diversity, but that’s no surprise in the tech industry.

A peek into today’s edition: 

  • Happy 25th birthday, Google!
  • Ghostwriter is back with another AI hit
  • TikTok Music expands internationally

Google Celebrates a Quarter Century in Business

Google was founded on Sept. 4, 1998, marking 25 years in business. I don’t know about y’all, but I feel like Google has been around much longer than that because it’s so deeply ingrained in my daily digital interactions. But that’s the point. Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin set a big goal to organize the world’s information and make it more accessible and searchable online. They did just that, plus much more over the years, but search is still at the nucleus of the Big Tech company’s mission. Google has expanded with 15 core products, including YouTube, Google Maps, and Gmail, which will turn 20 years old next year.

So, what does Google have planned for the next 25 years? Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, detailed the company’s hopes and dreams in a blog post, which mainly includes finding its lane in the artificial intelligence landscape. Speaking of AI, the Big Tech giant will soon require political advertisers to disclose whether AI was used in the development of their ads.

Pichai said in the blog post that “AI will be the biggest technological shift we see in our lifetimes,” and I have to say I agree. What do you think?


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Ghostwriter Drops AI-powered Travis Scott & 21 Song While Chasing a Grammy

Anonymous artist Ghostwriter told the New York Times that they are chasing a few Grammy Awards for their viral AI-generated song “Heart on My Sleeve” featuring Drake and The Weeknd’s vocals, even though the song was pulled from streaming platforms for copyright infringement claims. There have been conflicting reports about whether this is even possible, so Harvey Jay Mason Jr., CEO of The Recording Academy, which produces the Grammy Awards, shut all rumors down and said this version of “Heart on My Sleeve” is not eligible for an award. While a human wrote the song, the vocals were illegally used, and the song is not commercially available.

Ghostwriter submitted “Heart on My Sleeve” in the Best Rap Song and Song of the Year categories. The anonymous artist also got busy this week with the drop of a new track called “Whiplash” featuring Travis Scott and 21 Savage’s AI-generated vocals. This time, though, Ghostwriter is calling on the artists to collaborate on an official release and promising they will get the royalties.

Chipmaker Arm's Valuation Up to $52B Following Apple Deal

British software design company and computer chipmaker Arm inked a deal with Apple that will run through 2040 and “beyond” to license its chip tech to the Big Tech firm for the foreseeable future. The details of the deal were laid out in Arm’s initial public offering documents filed on Tuesday. The Softbank-backed company hopes to enter the public market with a $52 billion valuation, marking the largest tech IPO in the US this year. Arm is a leader in developing mobile phone chips, which Apple already uses across some of its products, including the iPhone. The chipmaker said roughly 250 billion of its chips have shipped to power smartphones since it started developing them decades ago.

Along with Apple, Google, Nvidia, Samsung, Intel, and other notable tech companies have expressed interest in buying Arm shares as part of its public offering in the coming weeks.

FTC Inches Closer to Filing Amazon Antitrust Lawsuit

The US Federal Trade Commission could file an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon as soon as later this month after the e-commerce giant failed to offer concessions to settle claims in closed meetings last month. The FTC is most concerned about Fulfillment by Amazon, the company’s logistics program, and third-party sellers’ prices since regulators believe Amazon favors its own products on its platform over outside sellers. If filed, the lawsuit could force Amazon to break up some of its business practices.

This isn’t the first time the FTC is going after Amazon. The Big Tech firm agreed to pay $25 million in May to settle claims that Alexa devices illegally collected children’s data. The FTC turned right around in June and sued Amazon again, this time claiming that the e-commerce giant deceived customers into signing up for its Prime subscription service and making it hard for them to cancel it.

In Other News: Tik Tok Music, COD Brings in AI Cops, & More

  • TikTok is slowly but surely clearing the way for TikTok Music to enter the US market after retiring its Resso brand in Indonesia and Brazil in favor of its flagship music streaming platform. To jog your memory, TikTok filed a patent in the US for TikTok Music in May 2022.
  • An AI-powered moderator dressed up as a robot cop will debut with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 to identify and flag toxic speech such as hate speech, discriminatory language, harassment, sexism, and bullying in multiplayer games. The moderator won’t flag specific words but will instead focus on the intent behind a player’s communication.
  • Meta is getting rid of Facebook’s News tab in the UK, France, and Germany in early December, though it will still honor its existing news deals with publishers in those areas until they expire. To soothe regulators’ worries, the Big Tech giant is also considering offering paid versions of Facebook and Instagram in the European Union so users can avoid advertisements.
  • OpenAI CEO Sam Altman received the first Indonesian golden visa, which grants him access to the country for 10 years with priority security screening, longer stays, a smoother entry and exit process, and more. Altman got the honor as Indonesia seeks to draw foreign investors with positive international reputations.
  • Former FTX executive Ryan Salame pleaded guilty to fraud charges and agreed to forfeit more than $1.5 billion. He is the fourth executive from the fallen crypto exchange to plead guilty, while disgraced former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Friedm will go on trial on Oct. 3 to fight wire fraud and securities fraud charges.
  • A software update caused a slowdown in United Airlines‘ tech systems, resulting in the Federal Aviation Administration grounding the airline’s departures for as long as an hour earlier this week. United is still investigating the incident.

Warner Music Central Europe signed a record deal with AI pop singer Noonoouri, and while this is a first for Warner Music, I’m going to bet that we won’t see a deal of this nature in the US anytime soon.