• Front Research
  • Posts
  • 🔍 X Rolls Out Annual $1 'Not A Bot' Subscription in Two Countries

🔍 X Rolls Out Annual $1 'Not A Bot' Subscription in Two Countries

+ Nvidia Exports: China Hit? | iPhone 15 Underperforms | AI Surges Market Caps

Hello, tech enthusiasts!

Welcome to your daily dose of tech updates for October 18, 2023. Dive in and discover the stories that are shaping the tech world today.

Today's Highlights:

  • Bot Subscription - X's new $1 offer.

  • Nvidia Exports - Potential setback for China.

  • Spotify Merch - A fresh shopping experience.

  • YouTube vs. AdBlock - The new rules.

  • Netflix Innovates - Game-changing ad formats.

  • iPhone 15 - Disappointing China sales.

  • EU AI Rules - Tightening tech regulations.

  • AI Market Surge - $2.4 trillion increase.

  • GenAI Funding - Billions amidst a tech dip.

  • Apple Accessories - Revolutionizing charging.

  • and more…

Dive in below and get updated!

Spotlight (sponsored)

Tech Companies

X, previously known as Twitter, will implement a $1 yearly subscription for new web users in New Zealand and the Philippines as part of its ""Not A Bot"" program to curb spam and bot activity on the platform. The previously free service will now require new subscribers to verify their accounts with a phone number. Non-subscription users will have limited, "read only" actions on the site. This is alongside X's existing $8 per month main subscription.

💡 Why does this matter?

The introduction of X's $1 annual subscription for new web users in New Zealand and the Philippines is significant as it shows advancement in efforts to reduce spam and bot activity on its platform. We assume New Zealand and the Philippines will act as testing markets and be evaluated before the broader roll-out.

U.S. tighter restrictions on AI chip exports to China caused a drop in share prices for Nvidia and other chipmakers. These measures may potentially slow China's technological progress and impact Nvidia's future sales.

💡 Why does this matter?

The new U.S. restrictions on AI chip exports to China could significantly impact tech manufacturers, particularly chipmakers like Nvidia, Intel and Broadcom. It might create opportunities for local production and alternative sources outside of China. The regulations also underscore the strategic importance of AI technology in global geopolitics.

Spotify is introducing a personalized in-app Merch Hub, offering tailored merch recommendations based on users' listening habits. The hub, accessible through a partnership with Shopify, is part of Spotify's strategy to enable artists to monetize their art. The company is also readying to launch a 'Superpremium' subscription tier priced at $19.99/month, featuring advanced features including a personalized offering termed 'Your Sound Capsule'.

YouTube has launched an anti-adblock feature, interrupting viewing with pop-up alerts. Users either have to disable their adblocker, subscribe to the ad-free YouTube Premium ($13.99 monthly), or close the alert to continue viewing. The adblocker community is devising ways to bypass this feature, as many rely on adblockers to limit trackers and prevent spyware threats. Meanwhile, YouTube maintains the feature serves to support creators, by ensuring they get paid for their content.

Netflix is broadening its ad business with offerings like title sponsorships and a 'Binge' ad format and bringing sponsorships into live events. These measures seek to reach all Netflix subscribers.

Meta is enhancing Instagram user control over data tracking and sharing, introducing a feature for blocking business data collection and enhancing the Accounts Center with personalized ad transparency tools.

Apple's new iPhone 15 experienced a disappointing sales start in China, recording a 4.5% decline versus its predecessor within the first 17 days of release.

AI Corner

The European Union is reportedly working on a three-tiered regulatory approach for generative AI models and systems. This groundbreaking move could make the EU the first Western government to impose mandatory rules on artificial intelligence. New laws, known as the AI Act, would require systems forecasting crime or sorting job applications to undergo risk assessments, among other measures. This system design aims to enforce further testing for technologically advanced AI systems. Tech companies need to prepare for these more rigid rules concerning their AI technologies.

The hype around generative artificial intelligence (AI) contributed to a $2.4 trillion increase in the market capitalization of U.S. tech giants in 2023. Successful AI funding deals with OpenAI and Anthropic lead the charge, aiding a resurgence in the generation of unicorns to pre-Covid levels. Despite a decline in sector fundraising, largely due to increasing interest rates, notable growth was still seen in cloud and SaaS companies.

The rise of generative AI, particularly ChatGPT, has contributed to heightened efficacy and complexity of email phishing attacks, with a marked increase in sophisticated social engineering attacks observed. However, as cyber attackers shift tactics, impersonating IT teams instead of executives, defensive AI evolves to detect suspicious activities based on familiar patterns, offering hope for cyber defense against AI-enhanced threats.

According to CEO Robin Li, Baidu's latest AI chatbot, Ernie 4.0, rivals OpenAI's GPT-4 in performance. Showing extensive capabilities, Ernie 4.0 will upgrade functionalities across multiple Baidu products.

Markets & Money

Generative AI companies have been driving the surge in tech unicorns, with nine $1B+ valuations emerging this year in the US alone, and growing presence in Europe and Israel, despite sector-wide cutbacks, a recent Accel report revealed. Funding amounts into these startups hit $18B in 2023 (up from $3.9B in 2022), while around 60% of new cloud and SaaS unicorns worldwide are generative AI-driven. The report further suggested that healthcare, legal, and drug discovery sectors embody significant potential for specialized AI uses.

💡 Why does this matter?

The explosion of Generative AI Startups signifies a massive leap in technology and immense investment opportunities. Investors and tech businesses need to watch this space as this news underscores the sector's considerable market potential and future growth. The surge in generative AI's value and relevance may also pivot the tech job market towards these skill sets.

Insights & Analysis

The Techno-Optimist Manifesto urges individuals to view technology as a tool for human progress and societal growth, debunking the narrative that technology robs jobs or threatens human existence. It champions the techno-optimism principle, believes in continuous growth driven by technological advancement, and advocates for accelerating technological progression to solve real-world issues and foster material abundance. It challenges stagnation, bureaucracy, and non-progressive ideologies, encouraging a push toward material abundance through intelligence and energy.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has identified two primary factors in considering acquisitions: whether Microsoft can add unique value to the acquiree and whether the acquisition makes financial sense. These criteria have led to several significant acquisitions under Nadella's tenure, including LinkedIn, GitHub, the recent $69b Activision Blizzard deal, and the 2014 purchase of Minecraft creator Mojang Studios.

Apps & Gadgets

ADAM Elements introduces a suite of charging accessories set to enhance your Apple device usage. The products range from the compact 3-in-1 Mag 3 charger, the versatile Mag 4 GaN 30W power pack, the on-the-move OMNIA CX2 Magnetic car mount, the minimalist OMNIA M2+ Wireless Charging Station, to the compact OMNIA A1+ Apple Watch Magnetic Fast Charger. Each accessory is designed for maximum charging efficiency, with a strong focus on portability and safety.

WhatsApp enables passwordless logins for Android via passkeys, based on WebAuthn technology. These keys, backed up over multiple devices, are supported by Apple, Google, 1Password, and Dashlane.

Your next read.

If you’re down here, I bet you’ll like these newsletters too:

The Average Joe - Become a better investor in just 5 minutes. Receive the best free investing newsletter, simplifying the stock market with the latest trends, analysis, and ideas. Join now.

Bay Area Times - 🗞️ The visual daily newsletter on business and tech. 📈 Analyzing the news with one visual per story. Join 200,000+ subscribers now.

Join the conversation

or to participate.