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  • 💸 Zuckerberg Dumps $185M in Meta Shares After Epic 172% Surge

💸 Zuckerberg Dumps $185M in Meta Shares After Epic 172% Surge

+ Threads' Advertiser Shift | IBM Quantum Leap | Gmail's AI Spam Solution

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Hello there, tech enthusiasts!

Today is December 5, 2023, and we're excited to bring you the latest and most impactful stories from the world of technology. Here's what's making headlines:

  • Advertiser Shift - Threads experience a surge in downloads as advertisers redirect their focus.

  • Music China Growth - Exploring the rapid rise of Tencent Music in China's entertainment landscape.

  • IBM Quantum Milestone - IBM announces a significant breakthrough in quantum computing.

  • Zuckerberg's Big Sale - Zuckerberg offloads $185M in Meta shares following a substantial stock surge.

  • AI Expectations Reset - OpenAI COO provides a reality check on AI's business applications.

  • ChatGPT Security Enhancements - OpenAI revises ChatGPT rules in response to Google DeepMind's hack.

  • ByteDance's AI Ambition - TikTok's parent company intensifies efforts in AI chatbot development.

  • Meta's Strategic Retreat - Meta discontinues Instagram and Messenger integration, citing regulatory concerns.

  • Apple's VPN Integration - Apple TV introduces its first native ExpressVPN app for global users.

  • Gmail's AI Evolution - Gmail unveils an advanced AI system to combat spam like never before.

Stay informed, stay ahead!

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Tech Companies

Threads, Meta's Twitter alternative, is seeing a surge in downloads, surpassing X, formerly Twitter. App analysis firm Apptopia recorded an increase to 620,000 daily downloads compared to 350,000 in early November. This growth is credited to Meta's promotion strategies and is particularly noticeable in India, where 11.2% of new downloads originate. On the other hand, X needs to gain momentum due to its rebranding despite its larger user base. Notably, X is also facing a mass advertiser exodus, including Walmart, following antisemitic posts by owner Elon Musk.

China's Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) has exceeded 100 million online music subscribers for the first time, a considerable leap from Spotify's 574 million users, spanning 184 countries. Morgan Stanley predicts TME's subscriber count will grow by over 3 million each quarter. Further, music revenue is expected to double and profits to triple over the next three years. This growth makes China's music industry the fastest-growing entertainment sector in the country.

IBM has announced two quantum computers, IBM Quantum Heron and IBM Quantum System Two, at the ongoing IBM Quantum Summit in New York, marking a significant stride towards next-generation quantum supercomputing. These systems, expected to revolutionize technology, will be employed to solve complex scientific problems and reshape fields like drug discovery and climate forecasting.

Mark Zuckerberg has sold around 682,000 Meta Platforms Inc. shares, amounting to nearly $185 million, marking his first sale in two years. Meta's stock, which experienced a 172% surge this year, has been leveraged to fund Zuckerberg's external activities, including venture capital, scientific research, and impact investments. Tech company Nvidia Corp. was the only major U.S. tech firm to outperform Meta in 2022.

Twilio Inc. announced a workforce reduction of around 400 employees, roughly 5%, due to underperformance in its Data & Applications unit, a segment under scrutiny by activist investors. This move is part of a broader strategy to optimize Twilio's offerings, including retiring its Programmable Video product.

Rockstar has finally released the eagerly awaited trailer for 'Grand Theft Auto VI', a decade after its last game. Despite rampant speculation and leaks in 2022, this is the first significant release from the franchise.

Startup Scene

AssemblyAI, an applied AI venture offering models to developers and businesses, has raised $50 million in a funding round led by Accel. The start-up claims a 200% increase in its paying customer base, now reaching 4000 brands. Investment in AI-based systems may hit $154 billion by year-end, as companies seek to utilize better AI systems and forego challenges of deployment and training.

Mistral AI, an OpenAI competitor, is close to a $2 billion valuation, thanks to nearly $487 million in investment from backers including Nvidia, Salesforce, and Andreessen Horowitz. The French AI startup focuses on open-source software for chatbots and AI tools and positions itself as a cheaper and more efficient alternative to American counterparts.

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AI Corner

OpenAI COO Brad Lightcap warns that the impact of AI technology on businesses will take time, despite high expectations. He argues that AI is still in the experimental phases and still needs to be part of critical tools and applications. However, OpenAI has launched a guarded, enterprise version of its ChatGPT platform amidst increased demand and concerns around accidental data leaks. Despite this, early adaptors like Morgan Stanley and several news publishers have reported initial frustrations with AI applications.

OpenAI has modified the rules of its flagship bot, ChatGPT after Google DeepMind researchers discovered a vulnerability by commanding it to repeat words indefinitely. Apparently, this hack divulged the bot's training data and OpenAI's info. OpenAI swiftly changed its rules to prevent users from replicating this exploit, emphasizing the necessity for increased scrutiny into the safety of machine learning systems.

TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, is developing an open platform for users to create AI chatbots, joining competitors in the expanding large language models service market. The public beta is scheduled for release this month.

Markets & Money

Last month's sharp rally tempered as investors anticipate key employment figures this week, leading to a general dip in major indexes and the Nasdaq closing at a two-week low. The upcoming jobs reports, including the November Nonfarm Payrolls Report, are expected to influence Federal Reserve policy and 2024 interest rates, with job creation forecasted to rise slightly. Treasury yields saw a small increase, causing a modest setback, and tech and communication services performed weakly while small-cap stocks held up.

Software provider Five9 is potentially exploring a sale, following the fallout of a failed buyout by Zoom Video Communications over two years ago. As Five9 engages advisers and gauges potential buyer interest, there is still no guarantee of sale. Zoom previously scrapped its $14.7 billion acquisition of Five9 after shareholder disapproval.

Apps & Gadgets

Meta will cease its cross-platform integration between Instagram and Facebook Messenger by mid-December 2023. The move, implemented in 2020, allowed Facebook friends to chat on Instagram. Existing chats or calls from Instagram will become read-only, and existing chats won't transfer to either platform inbox. The decision may be motivated by potential EU regulatory penalties under the 2022 Digital Markets Act, aimed at preventing platform dominance.

ExpressVPN has introduced its app for the Apple TV, marking the device's first native VPN application. It will allow Apple TV users to connect to servers in any of 105 worldwide countries, circumventing region-locked content. Although there are some user-reported issues and lack of advanced VPN features, this represents a significant addition to the Apple TV's functionality. ExpressVPN is also working on updates to its Android TV app.

Google has upgraded Gmail's spam filters with a new AI-powered text classification system, RETVec. The system can understand "adversarial text manipulations" such as typos and special characters, improving spam detection by 38% and reducing false positive rates by 19.4%. The upgrade, described as "one of the largest defense upgrades in recent years", is already live on Gmail.

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