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Can't Get Any Sexier Than Bird-Watching, A.I. Regulation, and Filing Your Taxes
Wednesday, May 17th, 2023
1. Apple's App Store Shuts Down Fraudsters, But Can't Save Us from Subscription Traps
Apple's App Store, the virtuous guardian of digital transactions, valiantly thwarted over $2 billion in fraudulent schemes last year, leaving scammers everywhere weeping into their ill-gotten bitcoins. Apple rejected 1.7 million app submissions for not meeting privacy and security standards and highlighted the dangers of downloading apps from unofficial sources or places not approved by the company. Thanks Apple, now if I could get that $1.99 back for the Candy Crush free trial that sneakily rolled over into a paid subscription, that'd be great.
2. Calling All Bird Ladies Withering Away on Park Benches
Bird Buddy, the AI-powered smart bird feeder startup, is expanding its product line with a smart hummingbird feeder and bird bath, proving there's a market for just about any niche. The company's original bird feeder, connected camera, and mobile app have attracted around 100,000 avian-obsessed users. The app allows users to identify bird species, collect photos and videos, and engage with the birdwatching community. Bird Buddy has raised $8.5 million in funding and is currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to raise $100,000 for its new products. So go donate if this is something you'd like to be a part of for whatever reason.
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3. IRS to Launch Groundbreaking Tax-Filing System Because Filing Taxes Couldn't Get Any More Exciting
The IRS is gearing up to finally join the 21st century and launch its own online tax-filing system, aptly named "Direct File," in a pilot program slated for next year. This initiative aims to test a government-run service that streamlines tax filing and reduces costs. To ensure seamless integration, the IRS will collaborate with state tax departments to handle federal, state, and local returns. The pilot program will invite a lucky few to take the plunge and file their taxes directly with the IRS. We'll stick to our tried-and-true tax software, but kudos to them for their adventurous spirit!
4. Lyft's Financial Future Uncertain as ex-CFO Elaine Paul Says 'I'll Take an Uber from Here'
Lyft, the thrill-ride provider that never runs out of surprises, just dropped a bombshell. Elaine Paul, their Chief Financial Officer since January 2022, is peacing out on May 19, 2023. Erin Brewer, a major finance player with Charles Schwab and Atlassian on her resume, will take on the CFO role starting July 10, 2023. In the interim, Lisa Blackwood-Kapral, the Chief Accounting Officer, will take the reins temporarily. This shuffling comes after the recent appointment in March 2023 of David Risher as the new CEO so things sound pretty stable at Lyft right now.
5. Artificial Intelligence: To Regulate or Not To Regulate
Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, gave senators a crash course on AI in a hearing that left everyone wondering if they accidentally walked into a sci-fi convention. Altman revealed the obvious truth that Congress failed to regulate social media, and now they have an opportunity to address AI before its threats and risks become real. Altman tried to calm the room by saying that AI is just a tool, not a sentient being plotting world domination. However, Professor Gary Marcus, the resident buzzkill, reminded everyone that humanity is on the back burner while corporations race to create AI that might go terribly wrong. Altman reluctantly admitted that, yup, things could get pretty messy. So brace yourselves, regulation is coming sometime in the next decade because of Congress's glacial pace.