Silicon Valley Tech News Roundup – July 23rd
Seven AI companies commit to managing risks posed by AI – 7/22
On Friday, the White House announced seven AI companies signed an agreement to manage the risk posed by AI technology. Companies that signed the agreement include OpenAI, Google, Meta, Microsoft, Amazon, Inflection, and Anthropic.
The stipulations of the agreement include security testing of AI systems and products by internal and external experts prior to their release. Likewise, the companies agreed to research potential risks like discrimination, bias, and invasion of privacy. Furthermore, the companies will publicly and regularly report on AI’s capabilities and limitations and implement watermarks so users can spot AI. According to the White House, the purpose of the agreement is to ensure people are able to spot AI-created content.
In his remarks, President Biden stated: “We must be clear-eyed and vigilant about the threats emerging from emerging technologies that can pose – don’t have to but can pose – to our democracy and our values… This is a serious responsibility, we have to get it right… And there’s enormous, enormous potential upside as well.” The White House also confirmed it is working on an executive statement.
The Head of Trust and Safety at OpenAI exits the company – 7/21
Dave Willner, the Head of Trust and Safety at OpenAI, announced he is leaving the company. Willner held the position since February 2022.
In a LinkedIn post, Willner stated he is “leaving OpenAI as an employee and transitioning into an advisory role.” He wrote: “OpenAI is going through a high-intensity phase in its development.” He added his role had “grown dramatically in its scope and scale since I first joined.” Mira Muratti, the current Chief Technology Officer, will take over as an interim manager for Willner. Meanwhile, he will consult the team until the end of the year.
OpenAI released a statement regarding Willner’s exit: “His work has been foundational in operationalizing our commitment to the safe and responsible use of our technology, and has paved the way for future progress in this field… We are seeking a technically-skilled lead to advance our mission, focusing on the design, development, and implementation of systems that ensure the safe use and scalable growth of our technology.”
OpenAI’s Chat GPT has gone viral since its launch last year. But the company is facing intense scrutiny. Lawmakers and regulators expressed concerns over the technology, its safety, and potential societal implications. Governments are calling for safeguards to ensure AI products are safe.
Taiwan Semiconductor delays its production at Arizona factory – 7/21
During an earnings presentation on Thursday, Mark Liu (the Chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor) announced the company is delaying the start of production of advanced microprocessors in its Arizona factory. The production was scheduled to start in 2024 but has been pushed back to 2025. The reason for the delay is a shortage of skilled workers.
Liu stated the plant has a shortage of skilled workers with the “specialized expertise required for equipment installation in a semiconductor-grade facility.” According to Liu, the company is “working to improve the situation, including sending experienced technicians from Taiwan to train the local skilled workers (in the US) for a short period of time.”
After the announcement, Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC) shares closed more than 3% lower in Taiwan on Friday. During the earnings presentation, the company also announced it expects a 10% drop in sales due to a lower semiconductor demand.
In December last year, TSMC announced it would triple its investment in the Arizona factory project to $40 billion, which marked it as one of the largest foreign investments in the United States history.
Twitter limits the number of DMs unregistered users can send a day – 7/22
On Friday, Twitter announced its plan to limit the number of DMs unregistered users can send daily. The company clarified the new rule would reduce spam.
Earlier this month, Twitter implemented a new setting that saw DMs from accounts users follow sent to their primary inbox. Meanwhile, messages from accounts Twitter users do not follow go to the message request inbox. According to the company, the new setting reduced spam by 70%. Likewise, at the beginning of July, the company limited the number of tweets unverified users can see daily. The company explained that measure as an attempt to minimize data scraping.
While the company justified the new setting as an attempt to reduce spam, in the same tweet, it urged users to subscribe to Blue verification service. Experts see it as a push to ramp up subscriptions.