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By Michelai Graham
Boardroom's Tech Reporter
April 7, 2024
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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.

Google‘s flagship email service, Gmail, turned 20 years old this week, marking two decades since the Big Tech giant introduced it on April Fool’s Day in 2004. Initially, people thought it was a joke since Google offered 1 gigabyte of storage at launch, a massive offering that was unusual at that time.

A peek into today’s edition: 

  • Updates at OpenAI
  • The NFL launches new mobile game
  • Apple Vision Pro digital personas are here

OpenAI Shakeups and Updates

OpenAI’s ChatGPT will no longer require users to make an account to use its platform, though those who don’t won’t be able to save or share chats. Essentially, without an account, users will be able to access a limited version of the conversation AI chatbot.

Elsewhere, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has stepped back from overseeing the OpenAI Startup Fund, the company’s venture arm that invests in early-stage AI companies. Ian Hathaway, an executive who has helped manage the fund since its inception in 2021, will succeed Altman.

More updates from OpenAI:

  • Users can now edit DALL-E images directly in ChatGPT by selecting parts of images and texting out the changes they want to make.
  • OpenAI teased its new AI-powered voice cloning tool, Voice Engine, to a select group of businesses.
  • Microsoft and OpenAI are teaming up to build a $100 billion supercomputer coined Stargate

A16z to Invest $30M in Tech & Gaming Startups

A16z general partner Andrew Chen announced via X that he’s investing $30 million in startups building at the intersection of tech and gaming, specifically across the web3, AI, and augmented reality industries. The $30 million fund is part of the venture capital firm’s Speedrun program, which is an early-stage accelerator for startups at the intersection of tech and games. Accepted startups will receive a $750,000 investment and participate in a 12-week intensive program running between July and October in LA later this year.

The deadline to apply is May 19, and selected startups will be notified in June.

  • Apple officially launched Spatial Personas from beta for the Vision Pro to help solve the device’s isolating experience. This new offering allows users to display digital versions of themselves in SharePlay-enabled apps to interact with other Apple Vision Pro users.
  • Three TikTok-fueled trends are coming together as one. Alo, the omnipresent sportswear company, is teaming up with Beats by Dre for a special edition headphone drop. The campaign features singer Tyla and is soundtracked by her song Safer. The collaboration is a “celebration of the rhythm of life and the practice of being present.”
  • Stevie Wonder, Nicki Minaj, Billie Eilish, and more than 200 other artists signed an open letter penned by the Artist Rights Alliance that calls on AI developers and digital music services to stop using AI to infringe on artists’ rights.
  • In an effort to bring more educational content to its platform globally, TikTok is expanding its dedicated STEM feed to Europe after first launching it in the US last year.
  • It’s been a busy week over at Microsoft. As the US House of Representatives announced that it’s banning the Big Tech company’s AI chatbot, Copilot, on government devices, Microsoft also announced that it’s unbundling Teams from the rest of its Office subscription services following complaints from the European Union and rivals like Slack.
  • Google has agreed to delete millions of users’ web browsing data as part of a settlement for a 2020 class action lawsuit that alleged the Big Tech giant wasn’t being honest about how Chrome tracks web activity.
  • AT&T is investigating a widespread data leak that resulted in sensitive information from 73 million of its current and former customers being released on the dark web a few weeks ago.
  • Popular NFT collection Doodles is expanding its range with an animated special featuring Pharrell, Lil Wayne, and Coi Leray. The campaign, titled “Project Grey,” will begin its rollout this summer. This isn’t the first time Doodles and Pharrell have linked up, having been named the company’s Chief Brand Officer in 2022.

Tesla‘s annual sales are down for the first time since 2020 due to increased competition. To entice interested buyers, I’m going to bet that Tesla will kick down prices for its EVs at least one more time this year.