Silicon Valley Tech News Roundup – June 25th
President Biden meets with AI experts in San Francisco – 6/20
On Tuesday, President Biden met with Artificial Intelligence experts in San Francisco as a part of the ongoing effort by the administration to mitigate the potential risks of AI. Governor Newsom and experts in the AI field were present at the meeting.
President Biden stated before the meeting: “As I’ve said before, we will see more technological change in the next 10 years than we’ve seen in the last 50 years and maybe beyond that… My administration is committed to safeguarding America’s rights and safety, from protecting privacy to addressing bias and disinformation to making sure AI systems are safe before they are released.” As the President stated, AI technology poses “risks” and “enormous promise.” President Biden also spoke about social media and said it has shown what powerful technology can do without necessary safeguards.
Vice President Kamala Harris met with executives from companies developing AI products in May. The Vice President announced at the time the administration plans to invest $140 million in opening seven new AI research centers. Vice President Harris will meet with consumer protection groups and civil rights leaders to discuss AI technology in July.
Meta restricts news access in Canada – 6/23
On Thursday, Meta announced its plans to restrict news on its platforms (Facebook and Instagram) in Canada. News availability for Facebook and Instagram users in Canada ended on Thursday.
That same day the Canadian Senate passed the Online News Act, which forces online platforms to compensate news publishers for the content published on the platforms. The bill outlines the rules – online platforms are forced to negotiate commercial deals and pay for news content.
Meta released a statement: “A legislative framework that compels us to pay for links or content that we do not post, and which are not the reason the vast majority of people use our platforms, is neither sustainable nor workable.” The company also said the bill is “fundamentally flawed legislation that ignores the realities of how our platforms work.” Meanwhile, Google said the bill in its current form is “unworkable,” and the company is willing to work with the government to find “a path forward.”
Independent parliament budget watchdog ran an analysis of the bill. It is estimated that the news organizations could receive up to $250 million per year from social media platforms. The Canadian federal government said the Online News Act is necessary “to enhance fairness in the Canadian digital news market” and allows news organizations to “secure fair compensation.”
Tech executives meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi – 6/23
On Friday, the CEOs from several big tech companies including Apple, Google, and Microsoft, met with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House. The executives and the Prime Minister discussed the opportunities and challenges of investing in India. In his first state visit to the United States, the Indian Prime Minister visited Washington to meet with President Biden and other political and business leaders.
Following the meeting, Tim Cook (the CEO of Apple) stated to the media India represents “a huge opportunity”. Meanwhile, Sam Altman (the CEO of OpenAI) also attended the event and, according to sources, discussed potential collaboration on AI with Prime Minister Modi.
Executives from semiconductor chip companies Applied Materials and Micron announced their plans to invest in India as a way to diversify the supply chain. Micron will open a factory in Gujarat, while Lam Research announced it would train 60,000 Indian engineers.
The Department of Justice launches new cyber unit with national security focus – 6/21
On Tuesday, the Department of Justice announced it launched a new cyber unit within the National Security Division. The unit focuses on cyber threats from nation-state and state-backed hackers.
Matt Olsen (the Assistant Attorney General) stated the new cyber unit allows the National Security Division “to increase the scale and speed of disruption campaigns and prosecutions of nation-state threat actors, state-sponsored cybercriminals, associated money launderers, and other cyber-enabled threats to national security.” While the statement did not mention the North Korean or Chinese hackers, national security experts stress China remains a top cyber security concern.
While in attendance at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, Olsen spoke about the work the Department of Justice is doing to combat Chinese cyber threats. He stated: “China has compromised telecommunications firms… It conducts cyber intrusions targeting journalists and dissidents in order to suppress the free flow of information. And the PRC is capable of launching cyberattacks that could disrupt U.S. critical infrastructure.”