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Tech Giants Skirt Rules in Desperate Hunt for AI Data

+ 7 other breaking tech stories in todays briefing.

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TECH BRIEF

With a shortage of reputable English-language text to develop their AI systems, OpenAI, Google, and Meta reportedly disregarded corporate policies and potentially violated copyright laws to gather online data. OpenAI developed a speech tool that transcribed YouTube video content to enhance their AI, despite this move possibly conflicting with YouTube's rules. Google also transcribed YouTube videos for data, which may have violated copyright laws. Meanwhile, Meta considered measures such as acquiring Simon & Schuster and gathering copyrighted data across the internet to advance its technology. These actions demonstrate how crucial data is to develop innovative AI systems.

Spotify has introduced personalized AI playlists in beta, providing users the ability to generate custom playlists using written prompts. The AI technology, which utilizes large language models, considers users' listening histories and preferences to create personalized playlists according to the prompts, with the power to revise and modify the final output. Initially available to Android and iOS users in the U.K and Australia, the feature is said to be unique for its understanding of a wider range of prompts, including genres, moods, artists, and decades.

Apple is actively seeking its next breakthrough product, exploring the potential of personal robotic devices infused with artificial intelligence. Despite facing setbacks with the Vision Pro and cancellation of the Apple car project, the company remains committed to innovation and fresh offerings. Meanwhile, Apple plans to launch new iPads and accessories in May, while an overhaul of its smart home strategy is also in the pipeline.

Tesla is slashing prices for its Model Y electric crossover to reduce its record-high inventory, created after producing 46,561 more vehicles than it delivered in Q1 2024. Reduced prices include a $4,600 cut for rear-wheel-drive Model Y, with the Model Y Long Range and Model Y Performance seeing a $5,000 reduction. Tesla's global sales decline has been partially blamed on factory shutdowns and changes in production lines. The company's stock has fallen around 2.7% and is down over 33% this year.

Apple has updated its App Store guidelines, introducing two significant changes. Firstly, to comply with the EU's Digital Market Act, music streaming apps within the EU can now redirect users to an external website for purchases. Secondly, in a worldwide change, Apple will for the first time allow game emulators on its platforms. However, developers distributing emulator software will be responsible for ensuring legal compliance.

In March, the US added 303,000 new jobs, surpassing forecasts. The unemployment rate decreased slightly from 3.9% to 3.8%. Average hourly earnings rose by 4.1% year-on-year and significant employment growth was seen in the leisure, hospitality, construction, and healthcare industries. Declining wage growth could compel the Federal Reserve to cut rates later in the year.

Apple has licensed millions of images from Shutterstock, likely for a deal between $25-50 million, to train their AI models, a practice becoming increasingly common as copyright concerns rise. Other tech giants like Meta, Google, and Amazon have also made similar deals. Apple, shifting to focus more on AI, plans to announce iOS 18 loaded with AI-powered features on June 10 at the WWDC event.

Meta revealed that Instagram garnered $32.4 billion in ad revenue for 2021, outperforming YouTube's earnings of $28.8 billion. Instagram's ad revenues have consistently remained higher than YouTube's over the past years. The income from Instagram now accounts for nearly 30% of Meta's total revenue, up from 26% in 2020.

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