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By Michelai Graham
Boardroom's Tech Reporter
August 13, 2023

Amazon‘s second Prime Day event of the year is coming in October, and no, we will not call it Prime Big Deal Days as they named it. Still, let’s see if the retailer can surpass the $12.7 billion it brought in during Prime Day in July.

A peek into today’s edition:

  • Threads on the web
  • Google and UMG sync on AI music tool
  • Microsoft is betting on Web3

Threads is Headed to the Web

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Threads that the new microblogging platform is getting a web version and conventional search function in the next few weeks. Meta launched Threads from stealth with a lot of missing features social media users typically expect. Still, millions of users flocked to the platform in the last month, and Meta hopes to retain early adopters with the rollout of some much-anticipated features. Threads is bringing in about 8 million daily active users, which is down from its peak of 44 million daily active users around its launch. Still, Meta is rolling out Threads updates, including the ability to share a post to Instagram DMs directly, a more intuitive mention button, and custom text for photos and videos.

For now, Threads is still only mobile-friendly, and it’s unclear if Meta will release iPad and Mac apps soon, but the Big Tech company has been internally testing more versions of the platform.

Google and UMG in Negotiations For AI Music Tools

Remember that viral AI-generated song featuring Drake and The Weeknd’s vocals that Universal Music Group got pulled from streaming platforms for copyright infringement claims? Well, it seems like UMG had a change of heart following a potential new partnership with Google. UMG and the Big Tech firm are in negotiations on a deal to license artists’ voices and melodies for AI-generated songs. The pair are discussing developing an AI tool for users to generate songs, with the appropriate copyright owners getting compensated. Artists will have a choice to participate in the licensing platform. Warner Music Group is discussing a similar deal with Google.

A deal of this magnitude gestures at how the major labels will look to monetize AI and potentially combat unauthorized deepfakes and other pitfalls. The biggest question now is how many artists will get on board with this new idea.


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OpenAI Funds NYU's New Journalism Ethics Project

ChatGPT‘s parent company OpenAI is dishing out a $395,000 grant to fund a journalism ethics initiative at New York University. The new opportunity will be part of NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and offer workshops and discussions centered on journalism ethics issues, and produce articles and papers for its own website and other news outlets, Axios reported. Stephen Adler, former editor-in-chief of Reuters and veteran journalist, will lead the new initiative and conduct research about quality journalism in the age of AI.

OpenAI’s investment in NYU comes after the company announced last month that it would invest up to $10 million in the American Journalism Project to bolster local news. OpenAI is also partnering with the Associated Press to explore use cases for AI in newsrooms.

The White House Announces a $20M AI Cyber Challenge

The Biden-Harris Administration announced a two-year hacking challenge with nearly $20 million in prizes up for grabs. Led by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the AI Cyber Challenge is calling on US competitors to create AI-focused tech solutions that fix software vulnerabilities. The initial qualifying event will take place in the spring of 2024, where up to 20 teams will advance to the semifinal competition. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency made a commitment to invest $1 million each into seven small businesses that participate in the challenge. Anthropic, Google, Microsoft, and OpenAI are some of the top companies that will lend their AI tech to competitors who must build open-source systems that could potentially be widely used.

In Other News

  • Microsoft announced a partnership with layer-1 blockchain developer Aptos Labs to build AI tools for blockchain integrations and accelerate mass Web3 adoption.
  • Amazon will meet with the FTC next week to avoid an antitrust lawsuit that’s been brewing for a long time. If filed, the lawsuit could force the e-commerce giant to break up some of its business practices.
  • In its latest push to make crypto payments and transfers the norm, PayPal launched its own stablecoin, PayPal USD, that will be pegged to the US dollar and become its official digital coin.
  • Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is back in custody less than two months ahead of his fraud trail after a judge revoked his bail due to his involvement with media leaks.
  • There’s trouble in the C Suite. Tesla’s longtime CFO Zach Kirkhorn stepped down after 13 years of working in various roles at the company, and Disney’s metaverse lead, Mike White, left his post after only a year and a half in the role.
  • Renowned online streamer Kai Cenat is in the hot seat again and is facing criminal charges after running an electronics giveaway in NYC that incited chaos and resulted in dozens of arrests.
  • Dogecoin founder Billy Markus tweeted that he’s made five times more revenue from posting on X than he did in creating his notable cryptocurrency.

Despite the Detroit Police Department’s trouble with facial recognition tech, I’m going to bet that more law enforcement agencies will adopt the tech, leading to more false arrests.