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Accountability or Lack Thereof
Wednesday, May 10th, 2023
1. Bankman-Fried's Lawyers: Indicting Sam Was Just Too Easy
In a maneuver that some are likening to a cat knocking over a vase and then pretending it never happened, Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of FTX cryptocurrency exchange, has requested a US judge to throw out 10 of the 13 criminal charges against him. He argued that prosecutors charged him too quickly after FTX declared bankruptcy in November, claiming that they were in a rush to judgment. Bankman-Fried has maintained his innocence and pleaded not guilty to fraud and conspiracy, despite federal prosecutors accusing him of bribing Chinese officials and siphoning billions of dollars from customer funds to offset losses at Alameda, his cryptocurrency-focused hedge fund. Since his arrest in the Bahamas last December, Bankman-Fried has been holed up in his parents' home in Palo Alto, California, where he's under house arrest. His parents, who are both Stanford law professors, co-signed his hefty $250 million bond. We're sure they're proud parents!
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2. Explainability is Everything
OpenAI is building a tool that can explain their language models' behaviors and outputs. For example, if ChatGPT insults you or says something racist like your senile grandmother, we need to be able to explain why and hold it accountable. The tool was able to generate explanations for all 307,200 neurons in GPT-2 and for about 1,000 of those neurons, a small fraction of the total, in subsequent iterations of GPT. A cynical person (or publication called The Beautiful Scoop) might argue that the tool is essentially an advertisement for GPT-4, given that it requires GPT-4 to work. However, the tool was not created with commercial applications in mind and, in theory, could be adapted to use LLMs besides GPT-4. It's just safe to assume that they aren't actively working on that and probably never will.
3. Palantir's AI Tool: The Only Thing More Powerful Than a Billionaire CEO
Palantir Technologies' AI tool has sent shockwaves through the tech industry, with demand for the product "without precedent." The company's stock soared 21% in pre-market trading, and the company expects to stay in the black for the rest of 2023 - its first profitable year. The company's AI platform will be made available only to select customers this month, and the company's CEO has warned that the risks presented by the latest and most advanced forms of generative AI are "real." Palantir's software is also responsible for scrutinizing data for behemoths such as Airbus SE and Merck & Co. If the machines aren't already watching you, they will be soon.
4. Rivian's Q1 Earnings: Up and Coming
Rivian, the EV maker that's taking on the big boys, has stunned industry insiders by notching up a narrower loss and revenue beat for the first quarter. It's a move that's giving investors a much-needed dose of electric hope after recent bummers from rivals Lucid and Fisker. The company also reaffirmed its annual production guidance of 50,000 units. Rivian produced slightly less than 25,000 vehicles in 2021, as it suffered from component shortages and production issues at its Normal, Illinois plant. Take a second and imagine what a city called Normal is like day to day... Anyway, Rivian is still expecting to lose a cute $4.3 billion this year, but hey, that's an improvement on last year's loss of $5.2 billion!
5. Airbnb's Q1 Earnings Estimates Surpassed, But No One Cared
Airbnb managed to surpass the earnings estimates of industry analysts in Q1, but unfortunately for the home-sharing platform, that wasn't enough to impress investors. Despite exceeding expectations on both the top and bottom lines, the company's conservative forecast for the current quarter left shareholders feeling a bit deflated, sending Airbnb's shares plummeting by 10% in after-hours trading yesterday. Adding insult to injury, the platform's projected Q2 revenue of $2.35 billion to $2.45 billion failed to excite analysts who had been hoping for more.