Silicon Valley Tech News Roundup – May 21st
Sam Altman calls on lawmakers to regulate AI – 5/19
On Tuesday, Sam Altman (the CEO of OpenAI) testified before a Senate Committee and discussed the issues surrounding Artificial Intelligence.
During the hearing, Altman said the government should form a new agency to issue AI licenses. He stated: “I think if this technology goes wrong, it can go quite wrong…we want to be vocal about that… We want to work with the government to prevent that from happening.” One of his suggestions for the new agency regulating the AI industry included “a combination of licensing and testing requirements” for AI companies. Likewise, Altman stated companies like OpenAI need to be independently audited.
Altman also conceded AI could have an impact on the economy and jobs as there is a potential it could replace some jobs, and that would lead to layoffs. He said: “There will be an impact on jobs. We try to be very clear about that.”
Prior to his testimony on Tuesday, Altman met for dinner with a group of lawmakers. It raised concerns with AI experts who did not attend the hearing. AI experts believe Congress needs to hear from a wide array of diverse voices in the sector to ensure a range of concerns is addressed instead of just hearing from people who serve corporate interests.
San Francisco opens an investigation into Twitter’s HQ following a new lawsuit – 5/18
San Francisco is opening up an investigation over building code violations at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters.
The development is a result of a lawsuit filed in Delaware by six former Twitter employees. The lawsuit claims Musk’s transitional team ordered them to break local and federal laws. Some examples include violating building codes like installing locks on employees’ bedrooms that would not open during an emergency and disabling lights. Likewise, they claim the company did not pay the promised severances. The lawsuit states: “Twitter’s new leadership deliberately, specifically, and repeatedly announced their intentions to breach contracts, violate laws, and otherwise ignore their legal obligations.” In the lawsuit, the employees’ legal team noted they quit rather than break the law.
After taking over the company, Musk’s transition team also ordered employees on the real-estate management team to cut the cost by $500 million. The higher-ups told the employees to refuse to pay the rent to landlords.
The Department of Building Inspection confirmed they received the complaint. According to the spokesperson: “We expect to reach out to building management soon… We are not speculating on future potential enforcement action.”
Details of Instagram’s potential Twitter competitor leaked – 5/19
Lia Haberman (digital media marketing expert) revealed details about Instagram’s rival to Twitter in her Substack newsletter. According to the leaked details, Meta is meeting with content creators to discuss the new platform and its features.
According to Haberman, users will be able to sign into the new app by using their Instagram log-in details. The followers, verification, handle, and bio will transfer from the Instagram app. Likewise, your blocked accounts from Instagram will also be transferred. Users will be able to create text posts of up to 500 characters and include images, videos, and links. Based on the slides in the newsletter, the new app will have moderation controls “equipping you with settings to control who can reply to you and mention your account.”
In March, rumors started circulating that Meta was working on a new app to rival Twitter. The company confirmed the news: “We’re exploring a standalone decentralized social network for sharing text updates. We believe there’s an opportunity for a separate space where creators and public figures can share timely updates about their interests.” The app has no official name yet. However, Haberman claims its code name is P92 and Barcelona.
Ad report reveals Twitter is no longer considered “high risk” – 5/19
A report published by the Financial Times revealed GroupM (the world’s biggest advertising agency) removed Twitter’s “high risk” classification this week. The report comes after Elon Musk confirmed he named Linda Yaccarino (NBC’s former head of advertising) as the new CEO of Twitter.
GroupM stated it removed the “high risk” classification and is “cautiously optimistic” about the latest development. According to the sources, the ad agency waited until the level of harmful content on the platform “returned to normalcy,” and Twitter repopulated its senior executive team. Likewise, sources stated GroupM is working with Twitter to ensure “brand safety” to avoid ads appearing together with problem content.
In November, GroupM classified Twitter as “high risk” following the Musk takeover. The ad agency was concerned over the exodus of senior executives and the verification system, which resulted in impersonators taking over high-profile Twitter accounts. It advised its clients to stop buying ads on the platform.