Connect with us

World News

If it hadn’t been for them meddlin’ kids on July 28, 2023 at 7:05 pm

Published

on

Welcome to Startups Weekly. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every Friday.

Not to get all GrumpyManYellsAtCloud.gif, but I’m getting pretty tired of the myth of the dropped-out-of-college founders. Investors — and the broader ecosystem — have known for a long time that while there are some high-profile outliers, it’s much easier to build a startup if you have a fat Rolodex, some experience, and perhaps a few failures under your belt. I know Hollywood doesn’t think it’s nearly as good of a story, but . . . perhaps it’d be good to balance things out a little on that front.

Apropos meddling: Those robots have been hard at work generating smut, and Kyle reports that as AI porn generators get better, the stakes get higher. Perhaps as a result of that story (and the internet reaching fever pitch over AI porn), an interview we did with the Unstable Diffusion team last year is hella trending again on TechCrunch.

Advertisement

Apropos even more meddling: It seems that even very experienced founders get things pretty wrong from time to time, too — Elmo isn’t done running Twitter into the ground, it seems. This week, the burning wreckage of a social media site officially changed its logo to X. That has had some, er, curious side effects, including a lot of rebranding and renaming. Uniting the themes of smut and social media, Twitter Videos has so far resisted to rename itself, and one social media account (NSFW) seems to hint at why.

More AI. Always more AI

Image Credits: nadia_bormotova / Getty Images

I know, it seems like there’s always an AI section in Startups Weekly at the moment. Don’t blame me — blame the flamin’ hot news coming out of that vertical at the moment.

Advertisement

On TC+, Nick Zamanov penned an article about how his company tried using OpenAI to generate marketing strategies — and was delighted to discover that it worked.

Meanwhile, OpenAI just released a neat feature that introduces customized instructions for ChatGPT. Instead of having to type “write me a three-section newsletter in the style of TechCrunch’s Startups Weekly, and smatter in some really dumb jokes,” you can configure that as the default behavior. Writing newsletters is going to be so quick in the future, I swear. (Just kidding: I’ve tried. ChatGPT’s attempts at writing this thing were as dull as dishwater. My job is safe for another week or two.)

The bots are coming to the Androids: ChatGPT comes to Android, and soon became available in the U.S., India, Bangladesh and Brazil. OpenAI plans to release the app in more countries very soon.

I’m sure that wasn’t a stressful job: After just 18 months in the job, OpenAI’s head of trust and safety Dave Willner steps down. The company’s CTO Mira Murati will manage the team on an interim basis while they find a replacement.

Advertisement

Let’s translate this from corporate-ese into bot-speak: A startup that’s building tools to help prepare enterprise data to get gobbled up into large language models, Unstructured raises $25 million.

The art of changing your mind

Image Credits: Images by Christina Kilgour / Getty Images

This week, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the job of a founder. I already mentioned the TechCrunch+ piece I wrote about startups not just being a young person’s game, and I spoke with a founder who decided to replace himself as the CEO of his own company. Earlier this week, I also spoke with DeeDee Deman, who has spent the past 50 years headhunting CEOs, to get some tips on how you can think about finding a new CEO for your startup.

Advertisement

While on the topic of replacements — Sequoia Capital’s Michael Moritz moves on, almost 40 years after he joined the influential venture fund. He’s going to continue board work with a handful of companies but is planning to hand over most of the workload to other Sequoia partners.

Companies are still going public. Just not startups: It’s been a drought in the tech startup IPO space, but on TC+, Alex crunched the numbers and realized that there’s still a lot of activity — and it’s making startups look silly as hell.

Optimizing for impact: More and more companies are thinking about climate — and impact investors are flocking to the segment. That scares me a bit, but Agnes Svensson, the chief impact officer at Norrsken VC, shares five key questions climate tech founders should ask impact investors.

One of the most amazing social experiments: Reddits r/place is an incredible experiment, where a logged-in user can place a single pixel on a canvas every 5 minutes. It’s one of my favorite things about the internet, because it requires something utterly rare: coordination and teamwork. Of course, redditors used this year’s evolution of the game to shout loudly about the API changes that have sparked a revolt on the social media site.

Advertisement

Pulling into the pit stop

 

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin / TechCrunch

Autonomous trucking company Aurora sells $820 million worth of stock in order to continue its drive toward launching an autonomous trucking business in 2024. Around the same time, Waymo put the brakes on its self-driving trucks program.

Advertisement

Meanwhile, peeking at Tesla’s business fundamentals, Rebecca reminds us that the company is an automaker, not a tech company — and that its margins look a lot more like Ford than, say, Salesforce.

Time for another U-turn: We’ve been flip-flopping on this one for a while, but it seems like GM has changed its mind once again, saying it isn’t going to kill off the Chevy Bolt EV after all. Personally, I think that’s great. We need smaller, more affordable EVs.

Tapping the zap: Seven of the largest automakers today announced a joint venture to create a massive EV charging network across North America.

Topping up at home: In smaller charging news, Voltpost raised a $3.6 million seed round to bring EV charging to the curbside.

Advertisement

Top reads on TechCrunch this week

In addition to some of the big hitters sprinkled throughout above, here are some of our mustn’t-miss stories for the week:

Maybe it’s just taking a nap?: I argued that VR as a category is dead and failed to find a killer app. AR is picking up the mantle, but we’ll see if it can do better.

I dunno, maybe hide better?: Zack reports that North Korean hackers targeting JumpCloud may have forgotten to mask their IP addresses properly, researchers say.

Buy it, then kill it: Aria reports that SpaceX has made only one acquisition to date (that we are aware of), but Swarm Technologies is halting new device sales. It seems that the acquisition may have been an aqui-hire, as Swarm’s founders are finding senior positions across SpaceX.

Advertisement

Stalking for cash: Zack had a couple of popular articles this week. He reported that Spyhide stalkerware is spying on tens of thousands of phones, and he dug into how TheTruthSpy stalkerware made its millions.

Enough, already: It’s getting more and more frustrating to report on this, but startups with all-women founding teams raised just $1.4 billion in H1, Dominic-Madori reports. That’s a paltry 1.6% of all venture funding invested. Mixed-gender teams picked up 28%.

Get your TechCrunch fix IRL. Join us at Disrupt 2023 in San Francisco this September to immerse yourself in all things startup. From headline interviews to intimate roundtables to a jam-packed startup expo floor, there’s something for everyone at Disrupt. Save up to $600 when you buy your pass now through August 11, and save 15% on top of that with promo code STARTUPS. Learn more.

Advertisement

​ Welcome to Startups Weekly. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every Friday. Not to get all GrumpyManYellsAtCloud.gif, but I’m getting pretty tired of the myth of the dropped-out-of-college founders. Investors — and the broader ecosystem — have known for a long time that while there are some high-profile outliers, it’s much easier 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

News

Humans Need Not Apply: The AI Candidate Promising to Disrupt Democracy

Published

on

The rise of AI Steve, the artificial intelligence candidate running for a seat in the UK Parliament, has sparked a heated debate about the role of AI in governance and the potential disruption it could bring to traditional democratic processes.

Steven Endacott, the human force behind AI Steve, envisions his AI co-pilot as a conduit for direct democracy, enabling constituents to engage with the AI, share concerns, and shape its policy platform through a voting system of “validators.” Endacott has pledged to vote in Parliament according to the AI’s constituent-driven platform, even if it conflicts with his personal views.

Proponents argue that AI Steve can revolutionize politics by bringing more voices into the process and ensuring that policies truly reflect the will of the people. They claim that an AI candidate can engage in up to 10,000 conversations simultaneously, allowing for unprecedented levels of public participation and input.

Advertisement

However, critics raise valid concerns about transparency, accountability, and the potential for AI systems to be manipulated or influenced by their creators, data limitations, or external actors. There are also questions about whether an AI can fully grasp the nuances and human elements involved in complex political issues.

Some argue that AI Steve is merely a clever marketing ploy to garner attention and votes, rather than a genuine effort to “humanize” politics. There are fears that the use of AI in elections could undermine faith in electoral outcomes and democratic processes if voters become aware of potential scams or manipulation.

 

Beyond the specific case of AI Steve, the rise of AI candidates and the increasing use of AI in political campaigns and elections raise broader questions about the integrity of democratic systems and the need for effective regulations and guidelines.

Anti-democratic actors and authoritarian regimes may seek to exploit AI technologies for censorship, surveillance, and suppressing dissent under the guise of enhancing governance. There are also concerns about the potential for an “AI arms race” between political parties to develop and deploy the most sophisticated AI technologies, further eroding public trust.

Advertisement

As AI tools become more advanced and accessible, upholding electoral integrity will require proactive efforts to establish guardrails, transparency measures, and accountability frameworks around their use in politics. Policymakers, advocates, and citizens must work together to ensure that AI is leveraged as a force for a better and more inclusive democracy, rather than a tool for manipulation or consolidation of power.

The rise of AI candidates like AI Steve serves as a wake-up call for democratic societies to grapple with the implications of artificial intelligence in governance and to strike the right balance between harnessing its potential benefits and mitigating its risks to the democratic process.

Registration Code: BolanleVIP

Stay Connected

If you want to create awesome branded experiences that truly captivate your audience, look no further than Bolanle Media. Our team of experts specializes in crafting immersive, unforgettable events that seamlessly blend creativity and strategy. From product launches to experiential marketing activations, we’ll ensure your brand makes a lasting impression. With our finger on the pulse of the latest trends and technologies, we’ll help you engage customers in innovative ways they’ll be buzzing about. Don’t settle for ordinary – let Bolanle Media elevate your brand with extraordinary experiences tailored to your unique vision. Click this link to learn more and take your marketing to new heights.

Continue Reading

Business

Saudi Arabia Says ‘Thank You, Next’ to the US Dollar

Published

on

Saudi Arabia is reportedly considering abandoning the US dollar for oil trade settlements, a move that could shake the foundations of the global financial system. For decades, the petrodollar system has propped up the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency, with Saudi Arabia insisting on dollar payments for its vast oil exports.

However, recent comments from Saudi officials hint at exploring alternatives to the dollar amid growing tensions with the US over various geopolitical issues and the rise of economic powerhouses like China.

Implications of a Petrodollar Shift

If Saudi Arabia abandons the petrodollar, the implications could be significant:

Advertisement

1. Dollar Dominance Eroded: The dollar’s reserve currency status could weaken, potentially leading to a decline in its value.
2. Global Financial Instability: A sudden shift could trigger volatility in global markets as investors adjust portfolios.
3. Geopolitical Realignment: The move could signal Saudi alignment with China and challenge US economic hegemony.

Challenges and Uncertainties

While the prospect is significant, challenges remain:

1. Finding a suitable alternative currency with the dollar’s liquidity and stability.
2. Potential economic disruption for Saudi Arabia and trading partners.
3. Political backlash and strained relations with the US and allies.

Advertisement

As the world watches, it remains uncertain whether Saudi Arabia’s comments signal a negotiating tactic or a profound shift in the global financial order.

 

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Business

X Opens the Door to Adult Content With New Policy

Published

on

X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, has made a significant policy shift by officially permitting adult content on its platform with some restrictions and guidelines.

In an update to its rules, X stated that users can now share “consensually produced and distributed adult nudity or sexual behavior” as long as it is properly labeled and not prominently displayed in areas like profile pictures or header images.

Registration Code: BolanleVIP

“We recognize that many of our users are adults who want to freely express themselves by sharing legal adult content,” said an X spokesperson. “At the same time, we have a responsibility to protect minors and prevent exposure to explicit material without proper labeling.”

Under the new guidelines, users who “regularly post” adult content must adjust their settings to automatically mark images and videos as sensitive content, which blurs or hides the media by default. By default, users under 18 or who haven’t entered their birth date cannot view this sensitive adult content.

Advertisement

The policy prohibits content “promoting exploitation, nonconsent, objectification, sexualization or harm to minors, and obscene behaviors.” It applies to all adult content, whether photographic, animated, or AI-generated.

X has stated that it will monitor user-generated content and adjust account settings for those who fail to properly mark pornographic posts. Similar rules and enforcement will apply to violent content as well.

The move aligns X with Apple’s app store guidelines, which allow apps with adult content as long as it is hidden by default and behind proper age gates and content warnings.

While adult content was already present on X, this policy update officially permits and regulates it, aiming to balance freedom of expression for consenting adults with protecting minors from exposure to explicit material.

Advertisement

However, enforcing these rules consistently may prove challenging for X’s reduced content moderation teams following recent layoffs and cost-cutting measures.

The policy shift has drawn mixed reactions, with some praising X for embracing adult expression while others raise concerns about the potential for the platform to become inundated with pornographic content despite the restrictions.

As X navigates this new territory, the effectiveness of its labeling requirements, age verification measures, and content moderation efforts will be closely watched by users, regulators, and advocacy groups alike.

Stay Connected

If you want to create awesome branded experiences that truly captivate your audience, look no further than Bolanle Media. Our team of experts specializes in crafting immersive, unforgettable events that seamlessly blend creativity and strategy. From product launches to experiential marketing activations, we’ll ensure your brand makes a lasting impression. With our finger on the pulse of the latest trends and technologies, we’ll help you engage customers in innovative ways they’ll be buzzing about. Don’t settle for ordinary – let Bolanle Media elevate your brand with extraordinary experiences tailored to your unique vision. Click this link to learn more and take your marketing to new heights.

 

Advertisement

Continue Reading

Trending

0
    0
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop