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🚀 Revolutionary SpaceX Direct-to-Cell Service: Launching 2024

Today: Netflix Price Up: Exodus? | SpaceX 2024 Cell Service | Chrome's AI Tab Organizer

Good day, Tech Enthusiast!

Today's Monday, October 16. We've gathered a mix of surprises and insights from the tech universe. Feast your eyes on today's top tech tidbits:

  • Netflix Exodus? - Price increases may drive viewers away.

  • SpaceX 2024 Launch - Unveiling the Direct-to-Cell service.

  • GPT-4V Analysis - Response to malicious commands dissected.

  • Adobe's AI Leap - A new frontier in video editing tools.

  • Chrome's Tab Revamp - AI-driven tab organization in the works.

  • Gmail Efficiency Boost - Discover essential inbox add-ons.

  • and more…

Stay tuned for these stories and more. Let's delve in!

Tech Companies

Netflix users may cancel their subscriptions in response to the platform's upcoming price hike, according to a study by CivicScience. About 39% of current customers and those intending to subscribe stated they would terminate their plans if prices increased. Even those with ad-free plans starting at $15.49/month, nearly half may maintain their subscription, but over a third would quit, with some downgrading to a cheaper, ad-inclusive plan. The predicted price rise coincides with increasing costs in competitor platforms like Disney+, Hulu, HBO's Max, Peacock, and Starz.

💡 Why does this matter?

Amid speculations of Netflix's imminent price hike, a new study suggests a considerable reduction of subscribers could follow, impacting the streaming giant's market share. The sentiment is aggravated by inflation, leading consumers to cut multiple subscription costs. Furthermore, the potential shift may create opportunities for competitors or ad-based streaming services.

SpaceX plans to launch a direct-to-cell service in 2024, starting with texting abilities, followed by voice and data service in 2025. The service will function via satellites beaming LTE signals, compatible with unmodified cell phones, and also aims to support IoT hardware connectivity. The company has partnered with global cell carriers like T-Mobile and KDDI to prepare for the project launch.

💡 Why does this matter?

SpaceX's planned launch of direct-to-cell service in 2024 means that the remote and satellite connectivity standard could drastically change. The development will create opportunities for new applications and services that leverage enhanced global connectivity.

In response to high-profile departures, Apple has made an unusual number of Vice President promotions, impacting several divisions. The reshuffle includes Karen Rasmussen as VP of online retail, Jeremy Sandmel and David Biderman as VPs in software engineering, and Harry Guo as VP of video engineering. Additionally, Rob Hardy and Vashist Vasanthakumar have been elevated to VPs in operations.

Microsoft has finalized its biggest acquisition ever, buying Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion and cementing its position as the third-largest gaming company. The deal will boost Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass offering.

Netflix is branching into the physical retail space, planning to launch 'Netflix House' outlets by 2025. The stores will offer immersive experiences and merchandise tied to its popular programming.

AI Corner

GPT-4V, the image-inclusive mode of GPT-4, has exposed new vulnerabilities for prompt injection attacks. Despite the model's advanced ability to interpret and give detailed context to images, users have found ways to incorporate dangerous instructions, leading to potential privacy invasions and data theft. Considering the seemingly 'gullible' nature of Large Language Models and the difficulty distinguishing 'good' from 'bad' instructions, ensuring vigilance and cautious optimization is important.

Polish video game developer CD Projekt SA utilized artificial intelligence (AI) to emulate the voice of deceased actor Miłogost Reczek in Cyberpunk 2077’s expansion, Phantom Liberty. The company consulted with Reczek's family and leveraged Ukrainian voice-cloning software Respeecher to retain Reczek’s performance in the game. This development has sparked discussions regarding the ethical use of AI in the entertainment sector.

Adobe is developing a generative AI tool, Project Fast Fill, that transforms video editing tasks. The experimental tool allows users to alter video content in real time using simple text prompts, such as adding or removing objects and modifying background elements. The tool's effectiveness was displayed at Adobe's annual MAX creative conference, though its availability and launch details remain unspecified.

Executives at Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit addressed AI's potential and risks. Improvements in productivity and innovation were noted, along with concerns over misinformation, bias, and misuse. Measures to mitigate risks, like the bias analyzer tool and industry collaboration, were highlighted.

Insights & Analysis

Microsoft's top legal officer, Brad Smith utilized the firm's $1bn law and lobbying machine to clinch the Activision deal. The 21-month battle showcased the power of Microsoft's corporate diplomacy and legal strategy, overcoming obstacles from US and UK regulators. This success marks Microsoft's shifts in policy and tactics over two decades, moving away from an aggressive approach towards trust-building and transparency. However, the increased scrutiny of big tech deals hints at an inflection point in Microsoft's relationship with regulators.

💡 What can we learn from this?

Even as legal and political hurdles rise for big tech companies, skilled corporate diplomacy can help navigate deals, as seen with Microsoft's acquisition of Activision. These tactics, spearheaded by the company's top legal officer, Brad Smith, could serve as a playbook for tech businesses navigating regulatory environments. The proactive approach to regulations and efforts to cultivate favorable relations with governments globally may boost the chances of business expansion success. However, as Microsoft's power grows, its strategies might face greater scrutiny, which requires adaptability.

Apps & Gadgets

Google Chrome test-bed, Chrome Canary is integrating an organization tabs feature akin to one available in Microsoft Edge. Using AI to sort bills efficiently, the introduction of this feature could significantly improve the user experience. While already having a manual version, this function should automatically organize tabs better, saving users time. However, the effectiveness of the AI-devised solution still needs to be confirmed. Official release information is yet to be declared by Google.

Chrome extensions and add-ons for Gmail that provide unique and valuable features include Checker Plus, which allows scheduling and editing events in Google Calendar. Grammarly is useful for checking grammar mistakes, and Mailtrack is for tracking emails. WiseStamp enables personalized email signatures, RingCentral permits calls or texts from Google apps, and DocuSign eSignature for signing documents. Some add-ons replicate functions Gmail already provides or depend on third-party systems and may be less beneficial.

Microsoft is replacing Cortana with Copilot, an AI-powered assistant in Windows 11. Offering Bing Chat on desktop and harnessing the power of OpenAI's GPT-4, Copilot is available in Windows' latest version, 23H2. Users can enable it via settings, and it's currently in a preview phase, with more features coming in the future. The new AI assistant provides enhanced functionalities but may appeal to only some users.

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