CES: A Look at the U.S. Security Risks of Foreign Investment

CTA Vice President of International Trade Ed Brzytwa discussed the sensitive topic of foreign investment transactions with U.S. Department of the Treasury Assistant Secretary for Investment Security Paul Rosen, who runs the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS). Rosen stated that CFIUS was established almost 50 years ago and has been reauthorized by Congress many times. “The mission is to review foreign investments that come into U.S. businesses for national security risks,” he said. “We’re looking to assess who’s getting access to sensitive U.S. assets or getting control of a U.S. company.” Continue reading CES: A Look at the U.S. Security Risks of Foreign Investment

CES: Leaders Urge Regulation to Unleash Blockchain’s Power

CTA Senior Manager of Government Affairs John Mitchell led a discussion at CES on the use of blockchain as the basis of a new economic ecosystem. Coinbase Head of U.S. Policy Kara Calvert, FinClusive CEO Amit Sharma, and Paradigm Policy Director Justin Slaughter expressed enthusiasm about the potential for financial inclusion and digital identity as well as frustration over U.S. legislators’ approach to regulation. “Here, blockchain is positioned as a problem to address, not an opportunity to be seized,” suggested Slaughter. Meanwhile, they note, Switzerland, China and other countries are taking the lead. Continue reading CES: Leaders Urge Regulation to Unleash Blockchain’s Power

SAP Plans to Launch Its New AI Assistant ‘Joule’ in November

Enterprise software firm SAP is launching its own AI assistant named “Joule,” which will be embedded throughout the company’s cloud portfolio, offering users contextualized insights across SAP apps and third-party sources on both desktop and mobile platforms. The German business solutions giant has an estimated 300 million global enterprise users using its software for applications related to managing human resources, finance, supply chain, procurement and customer experience, as well as the underlying SAP Business Technology Platform. Continue reading SAP Plans to Launch Its New AI Assistant ‘Joule’ in November

Intuit’s GenOS Spawns Its First Customer AI Product: ‘Assist’

Financial software giant Intuit is adding a customer-facing AI assistant to work with individuals and small businesses. Intuit Assist is being integrated across Intuit products starting with TurboTax and expanding to QuickBooks, Credit Karma and Mailchimp. Assist will be embedded across Intuit’s products via a common user interface, allowing customers to get personalized recommendations via contextual datasets. The generative AI assistant was built using Intuit’s Generative AI Operating System, a proprietary corporate model dubbed GenOS, launched in June. Intuit is working with OpenAI to accelerate GenAI app development on GenOS. Continue reading Intuit’s GenOS Spawns Its First Customer AI Product: ‘Assist’

SEC Provides Binance a Lifeline as It Pursues Fraud Charges

A federal court has approved an agreement between Binance co-founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao and the Securities and Exchange Commission that will allow the embattled cryptocurrency firm to continue operating while fighting an SEC civil fraud lawsuit, the outcome of which may determine the future of the crypto business in the United States. Filed June 5, the Binance charge rocked an industry already reeling from market turmoil and SEC complaints against Coinbase and the founder of FTX. The SEC initially moved to freeze Binance’s U.S. assets, but the company said that would put it out of business here. Continue reading SEC Provides Binance a Lifeline as It Pursues Fraud Charges

Google DeepMind’s AlphaDev Can Create Faster Algorithms

Google DeepMind has discovered a way to create AI algorithms that run faster than those coded by humans, which could lead to more cost-effective software development and computing that is more efficient and sustainable, according to the Alphabet company. The breakthrough, detailed in the journal Nature, is called AlphaDev. It uses a form of machine learning called reinforcement that allows computers to build on their successes, honing strategies independent of human programmers. In this case, faster algorithms were developed for computer-science functions like sorting and hashing. Continue reading Google DeepMind’s AlphaDev Can Create Faster Algorithms

Meta Back on Growth Curve Following Three Tough Quarters

After three straight quarters of declining revenue, Meta Platforms posted a 3 percent year-over-year gain in Q1, for a total of $28.6 billion. Earnings fell by 24 percent, to $5.7 billion, due in part to restructuring charges. But the bad news was offset by strong user growth, including 37 million daily active users for Facebook, up 4 percent from Q1 2022. The results beat Wall Street expectations and exceeded Meta’s own guidance. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg called it “a good quarter,” adding that “our AI work is driving good results across our apps and business.” Continue reading Meta Back on Growth Curve Following Three Tough Quarters

Roku Adds 1.6M Streaming Accounts but Revenue Sluggish

Roku managed a 1 percent increase in Q1 revenue on sales of $741 million. While sales in is platform segment were down 1 percent, to $635 million, the company had a positive performance on the streaming side, with 1.6 million active accounts added to take it past 70 million. Streaming service distribution, including FAST channels, is part of Roku’s platform services, along with ad sales, media and entertainment promotions and Roku Pay. In Q1, the Roku operating system was again the top-selling smart TV OS, with a record-high 43 percent of TV unit share in the United States. Continue reading Roku Adds 1.6M Streaming Accounts but Revenue Sluggish

Venture Capital Investors Are Drawn to Generative AI Startups

Well-funded software startups are springing up to target the enterprise market with generative artificial intelligence technology of the type popularized by ChatGPT. In 2022, global venture-capital investors parked $1.3 billion in more than 78 generative AI startup deals, according to PitchBook Data. That’s nearly as much as the combined capital investment in other tech startups over the past five years, and it came at a time when the broader investment sector was experiencing a slowdown, PitchBook found. Two of Q4’s biggest venture deals were for the generative AI startups Jasper, based in Austin, Texas, and Stability AI, headquartered in London. Continue reading Venture Capital Investors Are Drawn to Generative AI Startups

Twitter Revenue and Adjusted Earnings Are Down 40 Percent

Twitter’s December adjusted earnings and revenue fell about 40 percent, year over year, according to reporting in The Wall Street Journal. CEO Elon Musk, who completed his acquisition of the social platform in October, has instituted deep cuts as he tries to reinvent the company hobbled with an estimated $1 billion in interest per annum on the $13 billion he borrowed to helped pay for the company. The troubles are due in part to bad timing, as the ad market on which Twitter and other socials depend took an overall downturn. Musk, nonetheless, remains optimistic the company will at least break even in 2023. Continue reading Twitter Revenue and Adjusted Earnings Are Down 40 Percent

Layoffs Are Under Way at CNET, Editor-in-Chief Steps Down

Weeks after CNET drew media attention for quietly publishing stories generated by artificial intelligence, the outlet announced layoffs of several longtime employees yesterday, representing about 10 percent of the public masthead. The move was reportedly made by Red Ventures, the private equity-backed media firm that acquired the tech news outlet three years ago. CNET editor-in-chief Connie Guglielmo will step down and transition to SVP of AI content strategy. The new editor-in-chief will be Adam Auriemma, who previously held the same position at NextAdvisor, also owned by Red Ventures. Continue reading Layoffs Are Under Way at CNET, Editor-in-Chief Steps Down

Apple Pushing Forward into Financial Services Despite Delay

Apple, which has identified financial services as a growth area, has experienced delays in rolling out such products, including Apple Pay Later, a “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) service announced in June 2022 and initially scheduled to launch in September. The service reportedly began rolling out in a beta test among Apple’s retail employees this month and could be available to consumers by March or April this year, according to recent reports. A proposed high-yield savings account tied to the Apple Card and Wallet app was unveiled in October but has yet to release. Continue reading Apple Pushing Forward into Financial Services Despite Delay

Crypto Meltdown Renewing Regulatory Interest on Capitol Hill

The FTX crash and ensuing fallout has fueled efforts by Congress and federal regulators to rein in the cryptocurrency business, which caused massive investment losses this past year. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-North Carolina) are among those leading the charge to put consumer safeguards in place. McHenry in January became chair of the House Financial Services Committee. Legislators are also calling for robust enforcement of existing laws, which the crypto industry has been resisting. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) said Congress needs the resources “to be an effective cop on the beat.” Continue reading Crypto Meltdown Renewing Regulatory Interest on Capitol Hill

CES: As Risks Rise, Experts Reimagine Path to Cyber Safety

At a CES panel, CISA director Jen Easterly sounded the alarm on the current state of cybersecurity in the U.S. “We cannot accept that ten years from now it will be the same or worse than it is now,” she said. “All the critical infrastructure we rely on is underpinned by a technology base that was created in an insecure way.” As head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Easterly is in a position to assess the coming damage, projected to be $8 trillion this year. Moderator Rajeev Chand, Wing Venture Capital partner led Easterly and CrowdStrike chief executive George Kurtz in a discussion on how to halt the increase of cyber-insecurity. Continue reading CES: As Risks Rise, Experts Reimagine Path to Cyber Safety

Cloud Deal: Microsoft Buys Stake in London Stock Exchange

Microsoft is entering the finance market in a 10-year partnership with the London Stock Exchange Group. As part of the deal, Microsoft has acquired nearly 4 percent of the UK bourse operator and teed-up its executive VP, Cloud and AI Group, Scott Guthrie, to be appointed a non-executive director of LSEG, which in January 2021 completed its acquisition of leading investment data firm Refinitiv. “Together we look forward to empowering the future of financial markets by delivering next generation data, analytics and workspace solutions,” Microsoft said of the agreement. Continue reading Cloud Deal: Microsoft Buys Stake in London Stock Exchange