Tech Pokes the EU Bear with a Giggle and a Wink
Friday, May 26th, 2023
1. Ford and Tesla Shake Hands On Making Electric Car Charging a Little Less Annoying
In a move that can only be described as "shocking" (dumb pun intended), Ford and Tesla have joined forces to bring joy (or at least some convenience) to owners of Ford electric vehicles. Ford EV owners will gain access to over 12,000 Tesla Superchargers scattered across the US and Canada which also means that the future generation of Ford EVs will be rocking Tesla's charging port, offering a much-needed boost to Ford's charging capabilities. If you can't beat em, join em! The future of electric vehicles just got a little brighter (and faster).
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2. Twitter's EU Exit: A Big Nothingburger
Twitter is expected to withdraw from a voluntary EU code of practice aimed at addressing disinformation, though this decision does not indicate its departure from operating in Europe. Allegedly, the company has been giving signs that it will leave the code, but it's not like it's putting in a lot of effort anyway... This is despite the fact that violating the terms of this code can result in fines as much as 6% of a company's global turnover. Google, Meta Platforms, Microsoft, and TikTok all partake in this fake news blood oath and it looks like Twitter is just waiting for the right moment to drop the mic and say, "We're outta here!"
3. OpenAI CEO Threatens to Leave EU, EU Threatens to Regulate AI
Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, has been on a whirlwind tour of Europe, meeting with politicians in France, Spain, Poland, Germany, and the UK to discuss the future of AI and ChatGPT. But his threats to leave the European Union if it overregulates AI have sparked a backlash from lawmakers. Altman cancelled a scheduled visit to Brussels, where EU regulators are working on the EU AI Act, which could be the first set of rules globally to govern AI. Meanwhile, EU lawmakers added new proposals to the bill, forcing any company using generative tools like ChatGPT to disclose any copyrighted material used to train its systems. The final details of the bill are expected to be thrashed out later this year. It's this dance of claiming to support AI regulation to protect the well-being of humanity, then lashing out and throwing a tantrum as soon as a governing body actually tries to regulate.
4. Neuralink's First Human Study Approved by the FDA, But Don't Expect Results Anytime Soon
Neuralink, Elon Musk's audacious brain-chip venture, has gotten the green light from the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) to begin human testing. The company's aim is to utilize microchips in the treatment of conditions like paralysis and blindness, as well as to assist disabled individuals in utilizing computers and mobile technology. These specialized chips are designed to interpret brain signals and transmit information to devices via Bluetooth. Sidenote, what happens if your bluetooth-enabled brain chip runs out of battery? Is there a charging port in the back of your head or something? Elon, get back to us on that. Anyway, while the study's participant recruitment plans remain undisclosed, experts emphasize the need for extensive testing to tackle technical and ethical hurdles. Neuralink has encountered setbacks in the past, including allegations of animal welfare violations and an ongoing investigation. Neuralink has repeatedly overestimated the speed at which it can execute its plans so perhaps don't expect a commercial product hitting shelves within the next decade or so.
5. Checkmate's Latest Funding Round: A Love Letter to Retailers and Shoppers
Checkmate, a startup that helps users save money on online shopping, has just raised $15 million in Series A funding. The company's app, which is available on iOS and desktop, helps users find promo codes and discounts on over 40,000 online stores during check out. After hitting number 1 in the App Store at the end of last year, Checkmate now boasts 600,000 followers on Instagram, 400,000 on TikTok and over 60,000 daily active users. Their rapid growth has attracted an investor base that includes celebrities such as The Chainsmokers' (via their venture fund Mantis VC) and Paris Hilton - because that's hot.