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Meta Publicly Launches AI Image Generator Trained On Your Facebook, Instagram Photos

Thu, 2023-12-07 22:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp and Quest VR headsets and creator of leading open source large language model Llama 2 -- is getting into the text-to-image AI generator game. Actually, to clarify: Meta was already in that game via a text-to-image and text-to-sticker generator that was launched within Facebook and Instagram Messengers earlier this year. However, as of this week, the company has launched a standalone text-to-image AI generator service, "Imagine" outside of its messaging platforms. Meta's Imagine now a website you can simply visit and begin generating images from: imagine.meta.com. You'll still need to log in with your Meta or Facebook/Instagram account (I tried Facebook, and it forced me to create a new "Meta account," but hey -- it still worked). [...] Meta's Imagine service was built on its own AI model called Emu, which was trained on 1.1 billion Facebook and Instagram user photos, as noted by Ars Technica and disclosed in the Emu research paper published by Meta engineers back in September. An earlier report by Reuters noted that Meta excluded private messages and images that were not shared publicly on its services. When developing Emu, Meta's researchers also fine-tuned it around quality metrics. As they wrote in their paper: "Our key insight is that to effectively perform quality tuning, a surprisingly small amount -- a couple of thousand -- exceptionally high-quality images and associated text is enough to make a significant impact on the aesthetics of the generated images without compromising the generality of the model in terms of visual concepts that can be generated. " Interestingly, despite Meta's vocal support for open source AI, neither Emu nor the Imagine by Meta AI service appear to be open source.

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FTC Tries Again To Stop Microsoft's Already-Closed Deal For Activision

Thu, 2023-12-07 21:02
U.S. antitrust regulators told a federal appeals court Wednesday that a federal judge got it wrong when she allowed Microsoft's $69 billion purchase of Activision to close. Reuters reports: Speaking for the Federal Trade Commission, lawyer Imad Abyad argued that the lower-court judge held the agency to too high a standard, effectively requiring it to prove that the deal was anticompetitive. He told a three-judge appeals court panel in California that the FTC had only to show that Microsoft had the ability and incentive to withhold Activision's games from rival game platforms to prove the agency's case. He said the FTC "showed that in the past that's what Microsoft did," referring to allegations that Microsoft made some Zenimax games exclusive after buying that company. Speaking for Microsoft, lawyer Rakesh Kilaru called the FTC case "weak" and said that the agency had asked the lower-court judge for too much leeway. "It is also clear that the standard can't be as low as the FTC is suggesting," he said. "It can't be kind of a mere scintilla of evidence." He argued that the agency failed to show that Microsoft had an incentive to withhold "Call of Duty" from rival gaming platforms. The judges actively questioned both attorneys, with Judge Daniel Collins pressing the FTC's attorney on how concessions that Microsoft gave British antitrust enforcers affect the U.S. market. He also appeared to take issue with Abyad's assertions that more analysis of the deal was necessary, especially since Microsoft had struck agreements with rivals recently, including one with Sony this past summer. "This was not a rush job on the part of the FTC," he said. Two antitrust scholars who listened to the arguments said the FTC faced a tough slog to prevail. A finding of "clear error" by a lower court judge is "really stark," said Alden Abbott, a former FTC general counsel, comparing it to the idea that a court ignored key evidence from a witness. Abbott said the appeals court noted that the trial judge had considered "a huge amount of record evidence."

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Fairphone 5 Scores a Perfect 10 From iFixit For Repairability

Thu, 2023-12-07 20:25
The iFixit team pulled apart the newest Fairphone 5 smartphone and awarded its highest score for repairability: 10 out of 10. With the exception of one or two compromises, the Fairphone 5 is just as repairable as its predecessors. The Register reports: As before, opening the phone is a simple matter of popping off the back of the case. The beefier battery -- 4200 mAh instead of the previous 3905 mAh -- remains easy to remove, although the bigger size has implications elsewhere in the device. Replacing the USB-C port remains simple thanks to a metal lip that allows it to be removed easily. Individual cameras can also be replaced, a nice upgrade from the all-in-one unit of the preceding phone. However, rather than something along the lines of the Core Module of the previous phone, the iFixit team found a motherboard and daughterboard more akin to other Android handsets. According to Fairphone, the bigger battery made the change necessary, but it's still a little disappointing. Still, the teardown team noted clear labeling to stop cables from being accidentally plugged into the wrong places. It said: "That's what intuitive repair design is all about: it should be easy to do the right thing and complicated to do the wrong thing." According to iFixit co-founder and CEO Kyle Wiens: "Fairphone's promise of five Android version upgrades and over eight years of security updates with the Fairphone 5 is a bold statement in an industry that leans towards fleeting product life cycles. This is a significant stride towards sustainability and sets a new benchmark for smartphone lifespan." "At iFixit, we believe in tech that lasts, and Fairphone is making that belief a reality. Fairphone's effort to attain a 10-year lifespan is not just impressive; it's unparalleled."

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A Massive Repair Lawsuit Against John Deere Clears a Major Hurdle

Thu, 2023-12-07 19:45
Jason Koebler reports via 404 Media: A judge rejected John Deere's motion to dismiss a landmark class action lawsuit over the agricultural giant's repair monopolies, paving the way for a trial that will determine whether the company's repair practices are illegal. The case will specifically examine whether Deere has engaged in a "conspiracy" in which Deere and its dealerships have driven up the cost of repair while preventing independent and self-repair of tractors that farmers own. In a forceful, 89-page memorandum, U.S. District Court Judge Iain Johnson wrote that the founder of John Deere "was an innovative farmer and blacksmith who -- with his own hands -- fundamentally changed the agricultural industry." Deere the man "would be deeply disappointed in his namesake corporation" if the plaintiffs can ultimately prove their antitrust allegations against Deere the company, which are voluminous and well-documented. Reuters first reported on Johnson's memo. At issue are the many tactics Deere has used to make it more difficult and often impossible for farmers to repair their own tractors, from software locks and "parts pairing" that prevent farmers from replacing parts without the authorization of a Deere dealership. "Only Deere and Dealer authorized technicians have access to the Repair Tools, and Deere withholds these resources from farmers and independent repair shops," Johnson wrote.

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Meta Defies FBI Opposition To Encryption, Brings E2EE To Facebook, Messenger

Thu, 2023-12-07 19:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Meta has started enabling end-to-end encryption (E2EE) by default for chats and calls on Messenger and Facebook despite protests from the FBI and other law enforcement agencies that oppose the widespread use of encryption technology. "Today I'm delighted to announce that we are rolling out default end-to-end encryption for personal messages and calls on Messenger and Facebook," Meta VP of Messenger Loredana Crisan wrote yesterday. In April, a consortium of 15 law enforcement agencies from around the world, including the FBI and ICE Homeland Security Investigations, urged Meta to cancel its plan to expand the use of end-to-end encryption. The consortium complained that terrorists, sex traffickers, child abusers, and other criminals will use encrypted messages to evade law enforcement. Meta held firm, telling Ars in April that "we don't think people want us reading their private messages" and that the plan to make end-to-end encryption the default in Facebook Messenger would be completed before the end of 2023. Meta also plans default end-to-end encryption for Instagram messages but has previously said that may not happen this year. Meta said it is using "the Signal Protocol, and our own novel Labyrinth Protocol," and the company published two technical papers that describe its implementation (PDF). "Since 2016, Messenger has had the option for people to turn on end-to-end encryption, but we're now changing personal chats and calls across Messenger to be end-to-end encrypted by default. This has taken years to deliver because we've taken our time to get this right," Crisan wrote yesterday. Meta said it will take months to implement across its entire user base. A post written by two Meta software engineers said the company "designed a server-based solution where encrypted messages can be stored on Meta's servers while only being readable using encryption keys under the user's control." "Product features in an E2EE setting typically need to be designed to function in a device-to-device manner, without ever relying on a third party having access to message content," they wrote. "This was a significant effort for Messenger, as much of its functionality has historically relied on server-side processing, with certain features difficult or impossible to exactly match with message content being limited to the devices." The company says it had "to redesign the entire system so that it would work without Meta's servers seeing the message content."

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Apple Launches MLX Machine-Learning Framework For Apple Silicon

Thu, 2023-12-07 18:40
Apple has released MLX, a free and open-source machine learning framework for Apple Silicon. Computerworld reports: The idea is that it streamlines training and deployment of ML models for researchers who use Apple hardware. MLX is a NumPy-like array framework designed for efficient and flexible machine learning on Apple's processors. This isn't a consumer-facing tool; it equips developers with what appears to be a powerful environment within which to build ML models. The company also seems to have worked to embrace the languages developers want to use, rather than force a language on them -- and it apparently invented powerful LLM tools in the process. MLX design is inspired by existing frameworks such as PyTorch, Jax, and ArrayFire. However, MLX adds support for a unified memory model, which means arrays live in shared memory and operations can be performed on any of the supported device types without performing data copies. The team explains: "The Python API closely follows NumPy with a few exceptions. MLX also has a fully featured C++ API which closely follows the Python API." Apple has provided a collection of examples of what MLX can do. These appear to confirm the company now has a highly-efficient language model, powerful tools for image generation using Stable Diffusion, and highly accurate speech recognition. This tallies with claims earlier this year, and some speculation concerning infinite virtual world creation for future Vision Pro experiences. Ultimately, Apple seems to want to democratize machine learning. "MLX is designed by machine learning researchers for machine learning researchers," the team explains.

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Notepad On Windows 11 Is Finally Getting a Character Count

Thu, 2023-12-07 18:20
Microsoft's Notepad app on Windows 11 is getting a character count at the bottom of the window. "When text is selected, the status bar shows the character count for both the selected text and the entire document," explains Microsoft's Windows Insider team in a blog post. "If no text is selected, the character count for the entire document is displayed, ensuring you always have a clear view of your document's length." The Verge reports: This is the latest addition in a line of changes to Notepad this year, with the app recently getting a new autosave option that lets you close it without seeing the pop-up save prompt every time. Microsoft has also added tabs to Notepad, a dark mode, and even a virtual fidget spinner. Alongside the Notepad changes in this latest Windows 11 test build, the widgets section of the OS is also getting some improvements. You'll soon be able to just show widgets and hide the feed of news and articles that appear inside the widgets screen.

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New systemd Update Will Bring Windows' Infamous Blue Screen of Death To Linux

Thu, 2023-12-07 17:40
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Windows' infamous "Blue Screen of Death" is a bit of a punchline. People have made a hobby of spotting them out in the wild, and in some circles, they remain a byword for the supposed flakiness and instability of PCs. To this day, networked PCs in macOS are represented by beige CRT monitors displaying a BSOD. But the BSOD is supposed to be a diagnostic tool, an informational screen that technicians can use to begin homing in on the problem that caused the crash in the first place; that old Windows' BSOD error codes were often so broad and vague as to be useless doesn't make the idea a bad one. Today, version 255 of the Linux systemd project honors that original intent by adding a systemd-bsod component that generates a full-screen display of some error messages when a Linux system crashes. The systemd-bsod component is currently listed as "experimental" and "subject to change." But the functionality is simple: any logged error message that reaches the LOG_EMERG level will be displayed full-screen to allow people to take a photo or write it down. Phoronix reports that, as with BSODs in modern Windows, the Linux version will also generate a QR code to make it easier to look up information on your phone.

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The Extremely Large Telescope Will Transform Astronomy

Thu, 2023-12-07 17:00
The Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) under construction in Chile's Atacama Desert will be the world's biggest optical telescope when completed in 2028. With a giant 39.3-meter main mirror and advanced adaptive optics, the ELT will collect far more light and achieve much sharper images than any existing ground-based telescope, revolutionizing the study of exoplanets, black holes, dark matter, and the early universe. Economist adds: But when it comes to detecting the dimmest and most distant objects, there is no substitute for sheer light-gathering size. On that front the ELT looks like being the final word for the foreseeable future. A planned successor, the "Overwhelmingly Large Telescope," would have sported a 100-metre mirror. But it was shelved in the 2000s on grounds of complexity and cost. The Giant Magellan Telescope is currently being built several hundred kilometres south of the elt on land owned by the Carnegie Institution for Science, an American non-profit, and is due to see its first light some time in the 2030s. It will combine seven big mirrors into one giant one with an effective diameter of 25.4 metres. Even so, it will have only around a third the light-gathering capacity of the ELT. A consortium of scientists from America, Canada, India and Japan, meanwhile, has been trying to build a mega-telescope on Hawaii. The Thirty Meter Telescope would, as its name suggests, be a giant -- though still smaller than the elt. But it is unclear when, or even if, it will be finished. Construction has been halted by arguments about Mauna Kea, the mountain on which it is to be built, which is seen as sacred by some. For the next several decades, it seems, anyone wanting access to the biggest telescope money can buy will have to make their way to northern Chile.

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Actors Recorded Videos for 'Vladimir.' It Turned Into Russian Propaganda.

Thu, 2023-12-07 16:20
Internet propagandists aligned with Russia have duped at least seven Western celebrities, including Elijah Wood and Priscilla Presley, into recording short videos to support its online information war against Ukraine, according to new security research by Microsoft. From a report: The celebrities look like they were asked to offer words of encouragement -- apparently via the Cameo app -- to someone named "Vladimir" who appears to be struggling with substance abuse, Microsoft said. Instead, these messages were edited, sometimes dressed up with emojis, links and the logos of media outlets and then shared online by the Russia-aligned trolls, the company said. The point was to give the appearance that the celebrities were confirming that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was suffering from drug and alcohol problems, false claims that Russia has pushed in the past, according to Microsoft. Russia has denied engaging in disinformation campaigns. In one of the videos, a crudely edited message by Wood to someone named Vladimir references drugs and alcohol, saying: "I just want to make sure that you're getting help." Wood's video first surfaced in July, but since then Microsoft researchers have observed six other similar celebrity videos misused in the same way, including clips by "Breaking Bad" actor Dean Norris, John C. McGinley of "Scrubs," and Kate Flannery of "The Office," the company said.

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How Tech Giants Use Money, Access To Steer Academic Research

Thu, 2023-12-07 15:40
Tech giants including Google and Facebook parent Meta have dramatically ramped up charitable giving to university campuses over the past several years -- giving them influence over academics studying such critical topics as artificial intelligence, social media and disinformation. From a report: Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg alone has donated money to more than 100 university campuses, either through Meta or his personal philanthropy arm, according to new research by the Tech Transparency Project, a nonprofit watchdog group studying the technology industry. Other firms are helping fund academic centers, doling out grants to professors and sitting on advisory boards reserved for donors, researchers told The Post. Silicon Valley's influence is most apparent among computer science professors at such top-tier schools as Berkeley, University of Toronto, Stanford and MIT. According to a 2021 paper by University of Toronto and Harvard researchers, most tenure-track professors in computer science at those schools whose funding sources could be determined had taken money from the technology industry, including nearly 6 of 10 scholars of AI. The proportion rose further in certain controversial subjects, the study found. Of 33 professors whose funding could be traced who wrote on AI ethics for the top journals Nature and Science, for example, all but one had taken grant money from the tech giants or had worked as their employees or contractors.

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Cable Lobby To FCC: Please Don't Look Too Closely at the Prices We Charge

Thu, 2023-12-07 15:00
The US broadband industry is protesting a Federal Communications Commission plan to measure the affordability of Internet service. From a report: The FCC has been evaluating US-wide broadband deployment progress on a near-annual basis for almost three decades but hasn't factored affordability into these regular reviews. The broadband industry is afraid that a thorough examination of prices will lead to more regulation of ISPs. An FCC Notice of Inquiry issued on November 1 proposes to analyze the affordability of Internet service in the agency's next congressionally required review of broadband deployment. That could include examining not just monthly prices but also data overage charges and various other fees. [...] Cable industry lobby group NCTA-The Internet & Television Association complained in a filing released Monday that the Notice of Inquiry's "undue focus on affordability -- or pricing -- is particularly inappropriate." The group, which represents cable providers such as Comcast and Charter, said that setting an affordability benchmark could lead to rate regulation.

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Nintendo Cancels Japanese Esports Events Following Threats to Staff and Spectators

Thu, 2023-12-07 14:20
Nintendo has cancelled Nintendo Live 2024 Tokyo and postponed other Japanese esports events after persistent threats were made to both staff and spectators. From a report: A Japanese press release, shared by reliable translator Genki on X/Twitter, revealed the "all ages celebration of Nintendo fun," which took place in the United States for the first time in 2023, has been cancelled and its main esports tournaments postponed. Nintendo said its employees have received relentless threats which have also recently targeted spectators, attendees, and staff at Nintendo Live 2024, forcing the cancellation in the interest of safety. It was due to take place from January 20 to 21.

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UK Says Russia Targeted Officials in Email-Hacking Campaign

Thu, 2023-12-07 13:40
The UK accused Russia's main intelligence agency of seeking to hack the emails of British politicians and officials in an attempt to interfere in its democratic processes. From a report: "They have been targeting high-profile individuals and entities with a clear intent: using information they obtained to meddle in British politics," Foreign Office minister Leo Docherty told the House of Commons on Thursday. The intrusions include targeting personal email accounts and impersonation attempts against universities and media organizations, according to Docherty. Civil servants and journalists have also been targeted by Russia's Federal Security Service, known as the FSB, he said. In November, the UK's National Cyber Security Centre warned that Russian and other state-sponsored hackers posed an "enduring and significant threat" to the country. The agency said that Russia was one of the most prolific state actors in cybercrime, and had dedicated substantial resources to conducting hacking operations internationally.

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Maybe We Already Have Runaway Machines

Thu, 2023-12-07 13:00
A new book argues that the invention of states and corporations has something to teach us about A.I. But perhaps it's the other way around. From a report: One of the things that make the machine of the capitalist state work is that some of its powers have been devolved upon other artificial agents -- corporations. Where [David] Runciman (a professor of politics at Cambridge) compares the state to a general A.I., one that exists to serve a variety of functions, corporations have been granted a limited range of autonomy in the form of what might be compared to a narrow A.I., one that exists to fulfill particular purposes that remain beyond the remit or the interests of the sovereign body. Corporations can thus be set up in free pursuit of a variety of idiosyncratic human enterprises, but they, too, are robotic insofar as they transcend the constraints and the priorities of their human members. The failure mode of governments is to become "exploitative and corrupt," Runciman notes. The failure mode of corporations, as extensions of an independent civil society, is that "their independence undoes social stability by allowing those making the money to make their own rules." There is only a "narrow corridor" -- a term Runciman borrows from the economists Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson -- in which the artificial agents balance each other out, and citizens get to enjoy the sense of control that emerges from an atmosphere of freedom and security. The ideal scenario is, in other words, a kludgy equilibrium.

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Early Impressions of Google's Gemini Aren't Great

Thu, 2023-12-07 12:20
Google this week took the wraps off of Gemini, its new flagship generative AI model meant to power a range of products and services including Bard. Google has touted Gemini's superior architecture and capabilities, claiming that the model meets or exceeds the performance of other leading gen AI models like OpenAI's GPT-4. But the anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise. TechCrunch: The model fails to get basic facts right, like 2023 Oscar winners: Note that Gemini Pro claims incorrectly that Brendan Gleeson won Best Actor last year, not Brendan Fraser -- the actual winner. I tried asking the model the same question and, bizarrely, it gave a different wrong answer. "Navalny," not "All the Beauty and the Bloodshed," won Best Documentary Feature last year; "All Quiet on the Western Front" won Best International Film; "Women Talking" won Best Adapted Screenplay; and "Pinocchio" won Best Animated Feature Film. That's a lot of mistakes. Translation doesn't appear to be Gemini Pro's strong suit, either. What about summarizing news? Surely Gemini Pro, Google Search and Google News at its disposal, can give a recap of something topical? Not necessarily. It seems Gemini Pro is loathe to comment on potentially controversial news topics, instead telling users to... Google it themselves.

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HP TV Ads Claim Its Printers Are 'Made To Be Less Hated'

Thu, 2023-12-07 11:40
Launched in the Nordics, BeneLux, Ireland, and the UK, the ads insist that HP printers are "made to be less hated." From a report: Which may come as news to HP's long-suffering users who still, for whatever reason, need to brand mushed-up trees with corporate nonsense despite this alleged digital age. The three ads run touch upon a spectrum of negative emotions that will be highly relatable to those who have ever tried to print something at home or work -- sorrow, anger, despair -- and all end with extreme and cathartic human-on-printer violence.

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Bungie Devs Say Atmosphere Is 'Soul-Crushing'

Thu, 2023-12-07 11:00
In the wake of laying off about 100 of its 1,200 employees, Bungie, the developer behind Destiny, is reportedly grappling with internal challenges and cost-saving measures, amid efforts to maintain some autonomy from Sony. Although Bungie operates as an independent Sony subsidiary, its leadership is seemingly striving to prevent a complete Sony takeover, IGN reports. The company's board, split between Bungie and Sony representatives, faces potential dissolution if Bungie fails to meet specific financial goals. This risk has been heightened by the delay of Destiny 2 expansion "The Final Shape" and investments in Marathon, challenging Bungie's financial performance. The report adds: Along with the recent layoffs, this has resulted in a massive decay in morale within the company, according to IGN's sources, one of whom told us that the mood within the studio has been "soul-crushing" over the last month. And it doesn't sound like management is making any significant efforts toward improving the atmosphere, either. According to those still with the company, employee frustration and sadness in the days and weeks following the layoffs was met with a surprising amount of indifference or even outright flippancy or hostility from management. Several people we spoke to told us that leaders had reiterated, across multiple meetings, that they couldn't guarantee there wouldn't be more layoffs, with two specifically confirming previous reports that chief people officer Holly Barbacovi outright stating that layoffs were a "lever" the company would pull again.

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Microsoft Readies 'Groundbreaking' AI-focused Windows Release

Thu, 2023-12-07 10:20
What's next for Windows? Microsoft plans next-gen Windows AI release in 2024, plus details on recent changes to the Windows roadmap. From a report: According to my sources, the new Windows bosses are now returning to an annual release cycle for major versions of the Windows platform, meaning Windows is going back to having just one big feature update a year instead of multiple smaller ones throughout. Microsoft may still use Moment updates sparingly, but they will no longer be the primary delivery vehicle for new features going forward. These changes are said to take effect after Hudson Valley launches in 2024, so I'm still expecting at least one more Moment update for the current version of Windows 11, which sources say will ship in the February or March time frame early next year. [...] According to my sources, Microsoft's blockbuster new feature will be the introduction of an AI-powered Windows Shell, enhanced with an "advanced Copilot," that's able to constantly work in the background to enhance search, jumpstart projects or workflows, understand context, and much more. Sources say these AI features will be "groundbreaking." The company is working on a new history/timeline feature that will let users scroll back in time through all the apps and websites that Copilot has remembered, which can be filtered based on a user's specific search criteria. For example, you could type "FY24 earnings" and every instance where that term was on-screen will reappear for you to see and open. AI will also enhance search in Windows, with the ability to use natural language to find things that you've previously opened or seen on your PC.

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From Unicorns To Zombies: Tech Startups Run Out of Time and Money

Thu, 2023-12-07 09:40
After staving off collapse by cutting costs, many young tech companies are out of options, fueling a cash bonfire. From a report: WeWork raised more than $11 billion in funding as a private company. Olive AI, a health care start-up, gathered $852 million. Convoy, a freight start-up, raised $900 million. And Veev, a home construction start-up, amassed $647 million. In the last six weeks, they all filed for bankruptcy or shut down. They are the most recent failures in a tech start-up collapse that investors say is only beginning. After staving off mass failure by cutting costs over the past two years, many once-promising tech companies are now on the verge of running out of time and money. They face a harsh reality: Investors are no longer interested in promises. Rather, venture capital firms are deciding which young companies are worth saving and urging others to shut down or sell. It has fueled an astonishing cash bonfire. In August, Hopin, a start-up that raised more than $1.6 billion and was once valued at $7.6 billion, sold its main business for just $15 million. Last month, Zeus Living, a real estate start-up that raised $150 million, said it was shutting down. Plastiq, a financial technology start-up that raised $226 million, went bankrupt in May. In September, Bird, a scooter company that raised $776 million, was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange because of its low stock price. Its $7 million market capitalization is less than the value of the $22 million Miami mansion that its founder, Travis VanderZanden, bought in 2021. "As an industry we should all be braced to hear about a lot more failures," said Jenny Lefcourt, an investor at Freestyle Capital. "The more money people got before the party ended, the longer the hangover." Getting a full picture of the losses is difficult since private tech companies are not required to disclose when they go out of business or sell. The industry's gloom has also been masked by a boom in companies focused on artificial intelligence, which has attracted hype and funding over the last year. But approximately 3,200 private venture-backed U.S. companies have gone out of business this year, according to data compiled for The New York Times by PitchBook, which tracks start-ups. Those companies had raised $27.2 billion in venture funding. PitchBook said the data was not comprehensive and probably undercounts the total because many companies go out of business quietly. It also excluded many of the largest failures that went public, such as WeWork, or that found buyers, like Hopin.

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