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By Michelai Graham
Boardroom's Tech Reporter
August 20, 2023

This week, Michelai Graham is on a much-deserved vacation. Boardroom’s Bernadette Doykos is stepping in temporarily to dive into a big week of tech news. The Tech Talk queen will return next week.

A peek into today’s edition:

  • Google is looking to get into the life advice business
  • Vinfast is the newest name in the expanding EV market
  • Bored Ape Yacht Club owners are stepping up with a lawsuit

Hackers Assembled in Vegas for a White House-sanctioned Event to Break AI

More than 2,000 hackers gathered in Las Vegas for the 31st annual Defcon conference. This year, amidst the multiple stations, the ones that were dedicated to artificial intelligence drew huge crowds. Many attendees collectively tried to predict all of the darkest, least ethical capacities of and uses for artificial intelligence. As the group gathered, they had the blessing of both the White House and each of the biggest companies leading the AI revolution. By exposing the risks of AI technology, the hackers prepared companies with new questions to solve as they roll out the technology in new and innovative ways, staving off some of the more nefarious capabilities. Judges scored the efforts, and two of the peak performances came from Stanford student Cody Ho, who didn’t realize that he was a winner until contacted by a reporter from the New York Times.


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Google is Prepping an AI Tool to Hand Out Life Advice

“Hey Google, what should I do with my life?”

The tech giant is reportedly working on building AI technology that will help users make sense of this crazy, mixed-up world. Google’s DeepMind project is testing technology that would enable artificial intelligence to give users life advice. Up until now, this use of AI has been expressly avoided. The technology fields prompts and hands out potential solutions in return, acting as a modern-day “Dear Abby.” But this is only one aspect of DeepMind’s potential, which spans 21 opportunities, including critical breakdowns of complex topics, fact-checking, and more.

Vinfast Leaps into the Market with $18.5 Billion Valuation

The race for top market share in the electric vehicle world is heating up. Just this week, Tesla announced that it will reduce the price of its X and S models by nearly $10,000. However, it has a new competitor in the global market. Vietnamese company VinFast made its Nasdaq debut on Wednesday. Although the stock plummeted nearly 20% on its first day of trading, its market cap remained above $18.5 billion. This huge number placed it above legacy brands such as Ford and GM. Will the company keep up with the rising demand for EVs across the world? More on that in our Bet of the Week.

Bored Ape Owners Sue Sothebys, Paris Hilton, and More

Remember last year when every day there was a new celebrity scooping up a coveted Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT? From Justin Bieber to Snoop Dogg, anyone who was anyone was getting into the exclusive club. As NFTs have fallen out of favor, the value of the digital collectibles has plummeted. Now, a collective of Bored Ape owners is headed to court, suing Sotheby’s, Paris Hilton, and more for “misleadingly promot[ing]” the NFTs and artificially inflating the prices. Today, the average Bored Ape is valued at just over $50,000, whereas in May 2022 that number was 8x greater. Yuga Labs, the company behind the BAYC, responded to the claim, saying, “We believe that these new allegations, like those in the previous iteration of this opportunistic complaint, are completely without merit or factual basis.”

In Other News: Welcome to "Slivingland," Reliable Service is Coming to FedEx Field, & More

    • Microsoft and OpenAI execs sat down and reflected on the current moment in AI, equating its potential impact to be as big as when Bill Gates called the internet at “tidal wave” in 1995. Meanwhile, chipmaker Nvidia saw its stock soar this week, as analysts got bullish on its potential role in the industry boom.

    • She may be named in the Bored Ape lawsuit, but she won’t let that bother her. Paris Hilton launched the entertainment hub “Slivingland” on Roblox this week. That’s hot, we guess.

    • There is a new ownership group in town in nation’s capital and sponsors are lining up to collab. Verizon announced a wide-ranging, two-year deal with the Washington Commanders this week. The partnership will focus on increasing connectivity at FedEx Field and improving the overall fan experience.

    • The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup has come to an end after an incredible month. Despite breaking attendance and viewership records, Amazon’s Alexa couldn’t answer the simplest of questions about the competition. The technology encountered a system error when users asked who won the semifinal match between England and Australia, highlighting potential evidence of sexism embedded in the device’s programming and operation.
    • Netflix is bidding farewell to its DVD business by sending some keepsakes to diehard fans. Users will receive up to 10 DVDs when the streaming giant sends them out the final time during the week of Sept. 29. However, you have to wonder if DVDs will have a resurgence similar to records, as Gen Z’ers double down on tangible goods.
    • Bitcoin sank below $26,000 this week, marking its worst week since November 2022. The dip was motivated by a Wall Street Journal report that revealed that Elon Musk sold off a significant amount of SpaceX’s Bitcoin holdings in 2022.
    • TikTok launched its music streaming app in select markets last month; however, things may not be going according to plan. The app was expected to expand into the U.S. next month, but the company implemented layoffs in the music department this week that included both its heads of partnerships and strategy. The move throws the future of the streaming service into question.

VinFast will go the way of Rivian, facing an extreme challenge (and plummeting stock prices) as it is unable to keep up with the sky-high demand for its EV offerings.