November 8, 2022
Good morning! Some experts worry that pointing fingers at China’s surveillance techniques allows the government to deflect from some of the questionable practices happening in the U.S.. How real are those concerns?
As national security fears of China’s AI advancements propel U.S. AI policy, some human rights and AI watchdogs worry investments in AI with military applications will become a major focus, allowing the U.S. to deflect scrutiny or legal guardrails for its own AI practices, Protocol’s Kate Kaye reports.
The so-called AI race is considered a competition with China for democratic values, as well as economic or technological superiority. Miriam Vogel, co-chair of the White House National AI Advisory Committee, suggested at a POLITICO event in September that democratic values can be baked into U.S. tech like cinnamon and nutmeg in an apple pie.
But the U.S. has yet to pass any federal regulations or laws governing AI development and use, despite an explosion of AI deployment by businesses and government. Letting China’s AI threat distract the U.S. from meaningful AI regulations would be a mistake, Sheehan said.
Read more: Why an "us vs. them'"approach to China lets the U.S. avoid hard AI questions. Read all the stories in this series here.
The gloves are off. Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao and FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried — who run the No. 1 and No. 3 crypto exchanges by volume, respectively — have been trading barbs on Twitter. It kicked off after people noticed Binance had moved a massive amount of FTT, an FTX-linked token, Protocol Fintech editor Owen Thomas writes. Now people are asking if FTX is going under, and everyone’s mad!
Binance and FTX used to be best buds. Binance even invested in FTX when it was just an upstart crypto derivatives exchange.
Crypto lobbying has reached a high-stakes moment. Zhao also suggested that FTX’s behind-the-scenes machinations in Washington were an issue. “We won't support people who lobby against other industry players behind their backs,” he tweeted.
This isn’t just about mean tweets, though. The heart of the dispute seems to be what crypto regulation looks like in the United States. Congress is considering the Digital Commodities Consumer Protection Act, or DCCPA, a bill that Bankman-Fried says he’s “optimistic” about and that would advance the CFTC’s position in regulating crypto. If that law ends up giving his exchange an edge against Binance, well, all’s fair in love and crypto.
Electric vehicles are essentially batteries on wheels. Figuring out not only how to charge them for mobility but also use them to put power back on the grid will be one of the challenges of the next decade, reports Protocol's Lisa Martine Jenkins.
Taking power from EV batteries is more complicated than it seems. The technology, called bidirectional charging, is still very much in the pilot phase, in part because making use of the power stored in an EV’s battery involves getting utilities on board to feed power back onto the grid.
Reasons for using bidirectional charging largely fall into two buckets: keeping the lights on and making money. Both are pretty good ideas!
There are some barriers to widespread adoption. Utilities and the state-level commissions that regulate them are slow-moving and cautious about change.
The current bidirectional charging policy landscape is fragmented, though state and federal lawmakers are beginning to push utility commissions to create plans for vehicle-to-grid charging. But if policymakers, utilities, and automakers can get their collective act together, bidirectional charging could entice would-be EV customers, who stand to benefit in terms of both finances and peace of mind.
While tech can be a transformational tool for change, there must be a balance to ensure we are not only depending on multilateral institutions to implement policy and standards, as authoritative regimes can easily dismiss those initiatives. Instead, we must have a holistic diplomatic approach that ensures tech diplomacy and collaboration can be spread through various platforms.
Chris Sacca — who was an early Twitter investor — said in a tweet thread that Elon Musk’s inner circle is “sycophantic and opportunistic”:
Twitter Blue could actually lose the company money, one former Twitter employee told Platformer’s Casey Newton:
A new venture from former Peloton execs: Founder and former CEO John Foley — as well as ex-legal chief Hisao Kushi, ex-CTO Yony Feng, and other Peloton alums — launched Ernesta, an online shop selling custom-designed rugs. It just raised $25 million in its series A.
Carbon Re is spinning out from U.K. universities Cambridge University and UCL. The startup, which uses AI to decarbonize energy-intensive industries, also received around $4.8 million in funding.
Smruti Patel is the new VP of engineering for Apollo GraphQL, an app-building platform. She formerly led engineering at Stripe.
Jumia co-founders Sacha Poignonnec and Jeremy Hodara stepped down from their roles at the Africa-focused ecommerce group, as the company faces persistent losses.
Foxconn plans to invest $170 million in Lordstown Motors, the EV startup. The two companies plan to develop an electric vehicle together.
The Justice Department seized $3.4 billion worth of bitcoin stolen in the 2012 hack of the Silk Road dark web marketplace.
Amazon said Rivian EVs will be making deliveries in more than 100 U.S. cities by the holidays. The company said it already has more than 1,000 Rivian EVs making deliveries in a dozen U.S. cities.
Nvidia responded to U.S. export controls by offering a new advanced chip for sale in China that complies with the Commerce Department's rules.
BlockFi introduced a new digital assets interest product for accredited investors after previously agreeing to shut down a yield-paying crypto product that the SEC said was illegal.
The vibe has shifted in Twitter’s Slack channels. The chaos, with Musk posting employee messages and people finding public channels, is a reminder that work Slacks are never really private.
Elon Musk is headed to trial to defend his $56 billion Tesla paycheck against investor claims it unjustly enriches him without requiring his full-time presence at the carmaker.
Elizabeth Holmes was denied a new trial, with none of her three motions requesting one passing muster for U.S. District Judge Edward Davila.
Airbnb will let users search by total cost of the stay before taxes, including cleaning and other fees, starting in December.
It's the end of an era: SoftBank's Masayoshi Son will no longer present his wild slideshows on quarterly earnings calls.
Elon Musk has long been averse to chatting with the media. So one user on AI chat platform Character.AI made an Elon that anyone can talk with. Using parameters on topics like business, tech, and politics, as well as neural language models to get Musk’s “voice,” the platform created an Elon-eque AI chatbot. And it kinda works: When we asked about the Twitter acquisition, the bot responded it was “a key to the Everything App.”
New tech innovations like Web3, blockchain, and AI have massive potential to strengthen democracies and global economic security while decreasing the digital divide. However, these innovations come with significant risks. Political scientist Ian Bremmer underscores disruptive technology as one of three looming global crises for which we are largely unprepared.
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