Top tech stories today: January 29, 2024

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1. Google’s Lumiere brings AI video closer to reality

Google’s Lumiere AI model pioneers video generation with Space-Time-U-Net, creating realistic motion from prompts. It surpasses competitors like Runway, offering image-to-video, stylized generation, and cinemagraphs. Concerns about misuse prompt calls for bias detection tools. (The Verge)

2. Elon Musk says his AI startup xAI not raising capital

Elon Musk denies xAI’s fundraising talks amidst reports of a $6 billion target. The AI race intensifies with notable investments. Musk refutes prior claims of $500 million secured. His commitment to AI safety is evident, including through xAI’s “Grok” chatbot. (Business Today)

3. Hedge funds cash in on Grayscale bitcoin ETF conversion

Hedge funds capitalized on Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) prior to its conversion into an ETF, betting on regulatory approval. Fir Tree Partners and Hunting Hill among investors. Despite profits, GBTC sees outflows post-conversion. Some funds exit, uninterested in Bitcoin. (Reuters)

4. Intel tumbles as chipmaker falls further behind in AI race

Intel’s stock plunges over 12% as it struggles in the AI race, trailing competitors like Nvidia and AMD. Bleak revenue outlook signals challenges ahead. Despite positive outlook from some analysts, Intel faces concerns of being left behind in AI chip market. (CNA)

5. Spotify accuses Apple of ‘extortion’ with new App Store tax

Spotify accuses Apple of “extortion” over new App Store tax, calling it a “complete farce.” The Core Technology Fee imposes charges on developers, triggering backlash. Apple defends changes, claiming to offer options and support developers, but criticism persists. EU Commission to respond to regulations in March. (The Verge)

6. US to announce billions in subsidies for advanced chips

The Biden administration is expected to announce billions of dollars in subsidies for top semiconductor companies, including Intel and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., to build new factories in the US. The aim is to boost the production of advanced chips for smartphones, AI, and weapons systems. Other contenders for the subsidies include Micron Technology, Texas Instruments, and Samsung Electronics. (WSJ)

7. Taylor Swift searches blocked on X after fake explicit images spread

X has temporarily blocked searches for Taylor Swift after fake sexually explicit images of the singer were widely shared. The move is intended to prioritize safety, according to an executive. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre criticized the spread of such misinformation as disproportionately affecting women. (Reuters)

8. Musk’s X aims to hire 100 content moderators in Austin by end of year

X is hiring 100 content moderators for its new office in Austin, Texas. The focus will be on fighting child abuse content, with the goal of completing the hiring process by the end of the year. X aims to address online child sexual exploitation and other harmful content.  12.4 million accounts were suspended last year for violating its rules against child sexual exploitation. (Reuters)

9. World’s largest cruise ship sets sail, bringing concerns about methane emissions

The world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas, is set for its maiden voyage. However, environmental groups are concerned about methane emissions from its liquefied natural gas (LNG) engines. Critics argue that using LNG as a marine fuel emits over 120% more greenhouse gas emissions than marine gas oil. The cruise industry is exploring fuel alternatives to reduce their carbon footprint. (Reuters)

10. Eying China, US proposes ‘know your customer’ cloud computing requirements

The Biden administration is proposing a regulation “know your customer” that would require US cloud computing companies to verify the identity of foreign users to prevent China from accessing their technology for AI training, citing security concerns. Top cloud providers include Amazon.com’s AWS, Alphabet’s Google Cloud, and Microsoft’s Azure unit. (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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