Tech billionaires keep getting richer
Image: Neon Brand / Unsplash
Good morning! This Wednesday, tech's richest men are absolutely cleaning up, Zoox thinks the self-driving revolution is coming fast (again), YouTube has a new way to measure moderation success, chaos continues inside Google Brain and will.i.am made a face mask.
There are 2,755 billionaires in the world, according to the new version of Forbes' "World's Billionaires List." That's 660 more than last year, including 493 newcomers. (Special congrats to the 167 who got that third comma back!) Together they're worth $13.1 trillion, up more than 60% from last year.
Surprise surprise, tech CEOs dominate the list. In all, eight of the top 10 richest people on Earth are tech people:
The list of new billionaires is unsurprisingly also tech-heavy, after a year of relentlessly huge IPOs and massive VC spending.
And don't forget about crypto! Forbes said nine people have now made a B from cryptocurrencies, including the Winklevii and Tim Draper. Leading the pack: FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, who is worth $8.7 billion.
The autonomous car industry feels … complicated right now. Tesla's stock is still volatile, would-be competitors are being bought and sold, Amazon seems to be investing in everybody, SPACs abound, lots of companies are getting permits to test autonomous cars in SF, John Krafcik left Waymo, the old guard is raring for a fight and it feels like the whole space is in turmoil.
Inside the industry, though, there's excitement about what's coming soon. Zoox CTO Jesse Levinson told me on today's episode of the Source Code podcast that after a few years of "self-driving is right around the corner" excitement and a few more years of "no it's not" malaise, the light is back at the end of the tunnel.
And one thing that won't hold the industry back? The government. "We've actually done pretty well as a country, in terms of being progressive with" autonomous regulation, Levinson said. And with the Biden administration itching to spend big on EV charging and Pete Buttigieg continuing to investigate the potential for self-driving at the Department of Transportation, an auto revolution might be coming faster than we thought. Even if it's slightly slower than we used to expect.
0.16% to 0.18%. That's approximately the proportion of YouTube's total views in Q4 2020 of videos that violated its policies. That means for every 10,000 video views on YouTube, 16 to 18 were of videos that shouldn't have been on YouTube.
This metric is a directionally good idea, but some researchers think YouTube should be doing more. For one thing, YouTube is compiling the data and making rules and decisions itself, rather than submitting for any kind of outside analysis.
Even Facebook liked it. "Prevalence is an incredibly important metric for understanding how internet platforms are doing at content moderation," Guy Rosen tweeted. "Kudos to YouTube for sharing theirs today (Violative View Rate), a really important step forward for the industry."
Trust in technology has declined dramatically – so how do we move forward from here? ICYMI: Protocol's Tammy Wincup moderated a panel with Edelman's Bay Area GM, Margot Edelman, Trinity Cyber's President, Tom Bossert, and The Pill Club's SVP of Communications & Public Affairs, Chelsea Kohler, to discuss Edelman's 2021 Trust + Tech findings and the path to a more trusted future.
President Biden wants to raise corporate taxes, and Jeff Bezos approves:
On Protocol | Enterprise: Target is hiring more tech talent, and CIO Mike McNamara said it's because retail engineering is a good gig:
A group of senators has some serious concerns about Facebook's "Instagram for kids" plan:
Will.i.am helped design a crazy high-tech face mask, and I kind of love his rationale:
Toshiba might go private. Private equity firm CVC has offered $20 billion for the company, sending Toshiba's shares skyrocketing.
Plaid raised $425 million, valuing the company at $13.4 billion. That's more than double the $5.3 billion Visa planned to pay.
Grab's planning a $35 billion SPAC merger, The Financial Times reported. It's reportedly in talks to go public via Altimeter Capital's SPAC in a deal that could be announced this week.
Flipkart is planning to go public this year, Bloomberg reported. The Walmart-owned company wants to IPO in the fourth quarter.
Morgan McGuire is Roblox's new (and first) chief scientist, joining from Nvidia.
Samy Bengio is leaving Google, as chaos continues inside the Google Brain team. Timnit Gebru and Margaret Mitchell both reported to him.
Whether NFTs will change the art game forever remains to be seen. One thing we know for sure: It's already a great way for celebrities to make money. And Tom Brady is ready to cash in, launching Autograph with a group of other celebs and celeb-platform builders to sell "unique digital collectibles." As always, a fan and their money are soon parted.
As trust in technology has fallen, its employees have become more engaged in workplace protest – even as 83% say they trust their employers. With increased pressure from all stakeholders – employees, regulators, the media, and the public – how can the sector chart a trusted path forward?
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Today's Source Code was written by David Pierce, with help from Anna Kramer and Shakeel Hashim. Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or our tips line, email@example.com. Enjoy your day; see you tomorrow.