Top tech stories today: February 1, 2024

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1. Google Splits Up a Key AI Ethics Watchdog

Google’s AI ethics watchdog, the Responsible Innovation team, is facing uncertainty after its leader and founder, Jen Gennai, left the role. The team has been split into two and some employees are concerned that the restructuring could lead to rushed product development. (WIRED)

2. AI’ stays front-and-center on quarterly conference calls

AI continues to be a prominent topic on earnings conference calls, with Microsoft, Alphabet, and other companies discussing the technology. AI has been mentioned on 38% of S&P 500 conference calls in January, indicating sustained interest in the potential of AI. However, investors are also concerned about the high costs associated with AI development. (Reuters)

3. Finvest app will have you invested in US Treasury Bills in minutes

Finvest is an investment app that simplifies the process of investing in U.S. Treasury Bills. It charges a flat management fee and offers a 4.4% high yield cash management account. The company has received $2.7 million in funding and plans to expand and add other asset classes to the app, as well as launch internationally. (TechCrunch)

4. Investors punish Microsoft, Alphabet as AI returns fall short of lofty expectations

Investors punished Microsoft and Alphabet as the returns from their AI-powered products fell short of expectations. Both companies reported increased cloud revenue, but the high costs of development disappointed investors and led to a decline in their stock prices. Investors are looking for more contribution from AI, but the heavy investments are a concern. (Reuters)

5. Apple’s Vision Pro battery pack is hiding the final boss of Lightning cables

The Apple Vision Pro battery pack has a hidden 12-pin Lightning connector, discovered by pushing a SIM removal tool into a small hole in the silver external battery pack. The discovery raises questions about why Apple has chosen to use its proprietary connector instead of USB-C, which is widely adopted. (The Verge)

6. Shopify is rolling out an AI-powered image editor for products

Shopify is launching an AI-powered image editor that allows merchants to enhance product images by editing backgrounds and scenes. The platform also introduces semantic search, improved merchandising tools, and headless storefronts for B2B merchants. These features are part of Shopify’s Winter Edition rollout aimed at enhancing the e-commerce experience for merchants. (TechCrunch)

7. Amazon left Roomba with a huge mess to clean up

iRobot’s dominant market share has been declining, and competitors from China and other countries are offering cheaper options and innovative features, putting the company at a disadvantage without the support of Amazon. (The Verge)

8. Mark Zuckerberg says Apple and Google should manage parental consent for apps, not Meta

During a congressional hearing on online safety, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg suggested that app store providers like Apple and Google should be responsible for managing parental consent systems for kids’ use of social media apps. This proposal aims to ensure a level playing field among competitors and respects user privacy. (TechCrunch)

9. Meta CEO Zuckerberg apologizes to parents at US Senate social media hearing

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized to families at a US Senate hearing, acknowledging the impact of social media on children. He expressed sympathy for the harm caused and pledged continued efforts to prevent such suffering in the future. (Reuters)

10. Argentina’s Milei seeks Tinder hook-up with global Big Tech

Argentina’s President Javier Milei plans to meet with Tinder co-founder Sean Rad in Buenos Aires to foster business interest in the country’s tech sector. Milei aims to revitalize Argentina’s economy, which is currently facing significant challenges. (U.S.News)

Cassie-Gong

Cassie Gong

Cassie is a news reporter at BTW media focusing on company profiles, interviews, networking, and AI. She graduated from Newcastle University, UK and now works in London and Hangzhou. Send tips to c.gong@btw.media.

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