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By Michelai Graham
Boardroom's Tech Reporter
June 2, 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.

HBO‘s newest documentary, MoviePass, Movie Crash, premiered this past week. It explores the rise and unfortunate fall of a promising company. I was a MoviePass subscriber myself, and I have to say, I miss what it used to be.

A peek into today’s edition: 

  • TikTok heads to court in September
  • Tech Talk Reviews: Google Pixel 8 Pro
  • YouTube officially launches a gaming vertical

TikTok Ban Will be Challenged in a US Appeals Court in September

TikTok and a group of creators on the platform will face off with the Justice Department in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in September. President Joe Biden signed the legislation into law on April 24. As it stands, ByteDance has until Jan. 19, 2025, to either sell TikTok or face a ban in the US due to national security concerns. TikTok and a group of creators filed separate lawsuits against the US government to challenge the new law, though the White House has said it ultimately wants to see the app’s Chinese-based ownership come to an end.

The court announced a fast-track schedule for the cases on Tuesday after all parties requested it earlier this month. Oral arguments will begin in September, and all parties hope a ruling will come by Dec. 6. If necessary, both sides also want to see the Supreme Court review the ruling to make a final decision.

I wonder if ByteDance would consider relocating its headquarters from Beijing to another region to evade these legal battles, but it seems like too big of a move just to appease the US.

OpenAI Forms Safety and Security Committee + More Company Updates

OpenAI is following in Meta’s footsteps by announcing the formation of a new safety committee that will be responsible for making critical safety and security recommendations regarding the company’s projects and operations. The Safety and Security Committee will be led by OpenAI board members, including CEO Sam Altman, board chair Bret Taylor, Adam D’Angelo, and Nicole Seligman. Once new tasks are presented, the committee will have 90 days to provide recommendations. The committee’s first task will be evaluating OpenAI’s existing safety practices and recommending updates.

OpenAI iced its Superalignment team in early May after its leaders left the company. This team focused on ensuring the company’s AI products aligned with their intended goals and objectives. This new committee seems to be a replacement for that.

More news updates from OpenAI:

  • The Atlantic and Vox Media signed separate licensing and product deals with OpenAI, joining a growing list of media companies working with the AI leader.
  • OpenAI also announced that it’s already training its next AI model, which is expected to succeed GPT-4 models.
  • The company is reportedly reviving its robotics team, per some new job listings.
  • OpenAI inked a major ChatGPT enterprise deal with PwC that will bring the AI chatbot to the company’s more than 100,000 employees.

Pinterest Expands its Inclusion Fund With Help from Shopify

The Pinterest Inclusion Fund is expanding to support small businesses, independent publishers, and boutique creator agencies from underrepresented communities. Pinterest’s incubator program first launched in 2021. It is now teaming up with Shopify’s Build Black & Build Native initiatives to provide more resources to content creators looking to grow on its platform and reach new audiences and customers. The program expansion launched this week in the US and Canada and will expand to Australia, Indonesia, India, Argentina, and Mexico later this year. Pinterest and Shopify are especially looking to support individuals within BIPOC, Disability, LGBTQIA+, and plus-size communities.

US and Canada applications are open through Friday, June 7, at 9 p.m. ET.

Tech Talk Reviews: Google Pixel 8 Pro

I’ve been falling in love with Android all over again since I’ve been testing the Google Pixel 8 Pro since February, a mobile device I’ve decided to keep active and use as my content creation hub beyond this Tech Talk Review. From the camera quality to the integration with all my Google accounts and easy access to Gemini, there is a lot this smartphone offers.

Be sure to check out my latest tech review here.

  • YouTube officially launched its gaming vertical, Playables, which allows users to play free games directly on the platform. The new feature debuted with over 75 games, including Angry Birds Showdown8 Ball Billiards ClassicChess Classic, and more.
  • Kabosu, the late Shiba Inu dog that went viral as a meme in 2013 and inspired Dogecoin‘s imagery, will be the subject of a documentary called underDOGE. The film will tell the story of the dog and her owner, from the pair’s claim to fame to Kabosu becoming the face of a popular cryptocurrency.
  • GameStop‘s stock soared, once again, on Tuesday after the company announced that it profited nearly $933 million from selling 45 million common shares. The video game retailer saw a 25% uptick in its shares this week, and the company is pacing toward its best month on the stock market since January 2021.
  • Former OpenAI researcher and safety leader Jan Leike is joining rival Anthropic to build a team that will work on scalable oversight and automated alignment research. Leike recently resigned from OpenAI over safety and governance concerns.
  • Elon Musk‘s xAI reported closing a $6 billion Series B funding round with investments from Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, Valor Equity Partners, and others. The fresh funding will be used to bring the company’s first products to market and accelerate research. According to The Information, xAI is also working on building a supercomputer to train and run the next version of Grok.

Nvidia is narrowing the gap in its market cap as its value inches closer to the ranks of Apple and Microsoft. A year ago, Nvidia’s market cap hadn’t even surpassed $1 trillion, but now the company’s value is in the $2.8 trillion range. I’m going to make a bet that Nvidia will surpass the $3 trillion threshold for the first time before 2024 is up.