Musk and Meta enter the AI ring
The rivalry between Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk won’t be limited to social media posts or cage brawls. Tech heavyweights are accelerating push-ups in the AI world to take on Microsoft-backed OpenAI and Google, taking different approaches to the software industry’s busiest sectors.
Meta is further than Mr. Musk in developing an artificial intelligence business. The social media giant is set to release an open source version of its AI language model, allowing startups and developers to build their own tools and software using the technology, Financial Times reports.
This approach runs counter to the proprietary systems developed by OpenAI and Google; It may also be Meta’s fastest way to catch up with its cornered competitors. The company said so Encouraging industry collaboration It could allay some of the big fears surrounding technology.
Meta has spent billions on AI for decades. Long before the Meta became the metaverse, the company’s programmers developed LLaMA, an artificial intelligence technology that could run chatbots. Yan to bethe chief AI scientist at Meta, is considered one of the three “godfathers” of AI, but unlike his peers, who have recently warned of the existential threat posed by the technology, he insists these concerns are “ridiculous”.
Enter xAI Mr. Musk. The new company and its team of dozens of AI experts who used to work at Google, Microsoft and OpenAI will be led by the head of Tesla / SpaceX / Twitter. Musk, who co-founded OpenAI but left it after a clash with management, has often warned about the potential dangers of the technology. He also complained bitterly about AI companies taking Twitter down, slowing down its servers.
There was no such grumbling on Wednesday. The goal, according to the xAI website, “is to understand the true nature of the universe.” Tune in on a Friday night To Twitter Spaces for an explanation.
Here’s what happens
Bob Iger will remain CEO of Disney for another two years. Mughal was initially scheduled to step down next year, but he will delay his second retirement until 2026, in part to give him time to find a new successor. In his second run as CEO, Mr. Iger had to contend with massive layoffs, a rethink of the company’s streaming strategy, a stagnant share price, and high-profile failures at the box office.
Pink inflation data lifts global stocks. A better-than-expected CPI report on Wednesday, which showed inflation subdued in June, sent stocks near year-highs Thursday morning, and the dollar. It fell to its lowest level in 15 months. Traders now Pricing in greater possibilities That the Fed will raise interest rates this month and then stop tightening.
Chinese hackers accessed the Minister of Commerce’s emails. US officials said an account belonging to Gina Raimondo was among those hacked by hackers believed to be linked to the Chinese military or intelligence services ahead of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Beijing last month. Ms. Raimundo is among the more vocal China hawks in the Biden administration, having tightened restrictions on exports to Chinese companies.
A second front opens in the war in Hollywood
The day after the entertainment industry celebrated its latest Emmy nominations, it faces one of its worst crises in decades: the prospect of a complete shutdown, after contract negotiations between studios and the major union representing the actors collapsed overnight.
Hollywood was already struggling with a writers’ strike that shut down most film and television productions. Adding high-profile actors could deal a huge blow to beleaguered studios.
The representatives are preparing to go on strike this morning. The SAG-AFTRA union council unanimously called for a halt to the work after weeks of difficult negotiations with the group representing the studios. Sticking points included higher wages and batches of flow and limitations on the use of AI tools—issues also raised by the Writers Guild of America.
The studios were surprised by the tough negotiations. According to the Times. Although many in the industry were prepared for the writers’ strike – with some suggesting that Hollywood executives intended it It causes economic damage to the book To end this hiatus—they didn’t expect the Actors Guild to come up with a 48-page list of proposals.
The writers and actors haven’t slammed together since the 1960’s. The consequences are dire: All US productions with syndicated performances are likely to be put on hold, while other projects in pre-production are likely to be shelved. Stars may also join writers’ picket lines, giving those demonstrations even more significance.
Studios have already responded to the writers’ strike by greenlighting more unscripted projects — as in reality TV — until the fall. But prolonged delays of new scripted content could hurt these companies, which are already grappling with box office bombs, rising broadcast costs and declining viewership numbers.
Khan is keeping her big fight with Microsoft alive
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has not backed down in its efforts to block Microsoft from a $70 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard after suffering a major loss in court this week. On Wednesday, the agency said it would appeal a federal judge’s ruling allowing the deal to proceed.
It’s a sign that FTC Chair Lina Khan, who is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, is determined to continue her tough antitrust enforcement strategy despite a number of legal setbacks. But for Ms. Khan to achieve her goal of blocking the deal, a number of things must work their way through.
The FTC wants to extend a temporary restraining order on the deal, Which is set to end at 11:59 PM PST on Friday. It’s not clear on what basis the regulator will appeal, but a law professor known to speak with the FTC previously told DealBook that he believes the judge applied the wrong standard for how the deal affects competition.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has to come to terms with the British antitrust watchdog. The Competition and Markets Authority unexpectedly said after the US ruling was published that it was open to hearing offers of settlement, after blocking the deal in May.
Investors initially questioned whether a compromise could be reached quickly, but the financial market regulator suggested on Wednesday that it would need to make a move. new review.
It’s not clear what concessions would be acceptable, or how quickly any new review would take place.
Time is ticking for Microsoft and Activision. The deal agreement is set to expire on July 18, though they may extend that deadline.
How bad was the last quarter?
Earnings season kicks off Thursday with PepsiCo and Delta Air Lines, and major banks begin reporting on Friday, with questions looming over corporate earnings and the financial health of consumers.
Companies ran into problems last quarter. According to FactSet, S&P 500 companies estimate that they have The worst drop in profits Since the second quarter of 2020, at the height of the covid pandemic.
Earnings for BlackRock, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup rose through Friday. Investors will be eager to see how lenders weather the turbulent collapse of the Silicon Valley bank in March and prepare for tighter capital requirements and regulatory scrutiny. Also in the spotlight: banks exposure to commercial real estate market. McKinsey, a consulting firm, estimates that a post-pandemic shift to remote work will occur Reduce the value of office buildings by $800 billion.
All eyes will be on Goldman Sachs on July 19th. On rare occasions, Goldman has provided updates before its earnings report — and none of them have been particularly optimistic. “This is probably the worst quarter since David Solomon became CEO,” Mike Mayo, an analyst at Wells Fargo, said. Tell Bloomberg. “There are probably six items this quarter that fall into the weak, bad, or ugly category.”
Deals continue to slow down and trading declines Analysts say its investor clients will hurt Goldman and rival Morgan Stanley. Reports were rife That both companies will reduce the number of employees to bypass the downturn.
“I sincerely believe that with today’s actions, Farmers Insurance is on its way to becoming Bud Light Insurance.”
– Jimmy PatronisFlorida’s chief financial officer this week, Farmers became the latest insurer to say it will reduce its risk exposure in Florida, as climate change intensifies storm surges.
ESG at home
Republican lawmakers kicked off “ESG Month” on Wednesday, a series of hearings that mark the final step in their fight against so-called awakened capitalism, a hearing that preceded Hit the investors. Patrick McHenry, R-North Carolina and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, made clear his goal: “It is time to get politics out of corporate boardrooms and discourage financial regulation from becoming a weapon of environmental and social policy leadership on the far left.”
The legislation they proposed may not go far. the A list of 18 bills It mostly focuses on changing the rules around the proxy process and reining in the SEC, but Republicans don’t seem to have the votes to pass it. “This is all about signals and politics,” Joshua Lichtenstein, a partner at the law firm Ropes & Gray that tracks ESG policies, told DealBook. But, he added, “red states may pick lines of inquiry from Congress” for new investigations and enforcement actions.
Senior asset managers dodged a bullet. Companies like BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard that face government boycotts or have been hurt by divestment pension funds have not been targeted by House Republicans, they have been defended by an expert witness.
“I urge this committee to focus on legislative reforms geared toward proxy advisors and regulators,” testified Benjamin Zeicher of the American Enterprise Institute think tank. Companies should respond to shareholders interested in higher returns, Mr. Zeicher said, but influential proxy advisory firms such as ISS and Glass Lewis can “indulge their political preferences” without having much say in management decisions.
The businessman, who is accused of orchestrating a $590 million nickel fraud, said the scheme It was the invention of its victimTrafigura commodities trader. (foot)
The Carlyle Group and Trustar are reportedly trying to sell some of their stakes in McDonald’s China and Hong Kong operations For $4 billion. (bloomberg)
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