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Tesla On Top, Big Tech Blockades And More In This Week’s Top News

Tesla On Top, Big Tech Blockades And More In This Week’s Top News

Elon Musk and his company Tesla witnessed new heights in their respective valuation. While the automaker soared past $700 billion market value, the company’s chief saw his net worth eclipsing that of Jeff Bezos’ and making him the richest person on the planet. Musk’s net worth hit $195 billion on Thursday; a $150 billion increase over the past 12 months, thanks to Tesla’s share price, which surged 743 % in 2020. 

China Says No To “AWS”

In what is possibly a weird demand for Amazon, the Chinese authorities have banned the e-commerce giant from using its AWS logo in the country. According to reports, The Beijing Municipal High People’s Court ruled that the trademark for the term “AWS” belonged to ActionSoft, a Chinese software and data services company. The court ordered Amazon to stop using the term AWS or any similar logos in China and pay compensation equivalent to $11.8 million, to ActionSoft. “Amazon was the first to use the AWS logo in China to sell cloud services for many years. We strongly disagree with the court’s ruling and have appealed the case to the Supreme People’s Court,” responded AWS’ spokesperson to this ruling.

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OpenAI’s New Toys

On Tuesday, OpenAI released two new neural networks– DALL.E and CLIP, which combine the visual and language skills of algorithms. DALL·E is a neural network that creates images from text captions for a wide range of concepts expressible in natural language. Whereas, CLIP which stands for Contrastive Language–Image Pre-training can be applied to any visual classification benchmark by simply providing the names of the visual categories to be recognized, similar to the “zero-shot” capabilities of GPT-2 and 3. Read more about it here.

Whatsapp Faces An Exodus

On Monday, WhatsApp updated its terms of use and privacy policy, primarily to expand on its practices around how WhatsApp business users can store their communications. A pop-up has been notifying users that as of February 8, the app’s privacy policy will change and they must accept the terms to keep using the app.

This news surprised the users around the world who have already been sceptical about the privacy practices of the parent company Facebook. Tesla CEO, Elon Musk who had expressed his concerns about Facebook in the past tweeted in support of the Signal messenger app. Signal is an open-sourced nonprofit organization whose business model eliminates the need for personal data in any way.

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Musk’s tweet was followed by a surge in downloads of the Signal app. “We are currently having a record level of downloads for the Signal app around the world. Between WhatsApp announcing they would be sharing everything with the Facebook mothership and the Apple privacy labels that allowed people to compare us to other popular messengers, it seems like many people are interested in private communication,” wrote the company.

Big Tech Blockades

The events that followed the ruckus at the US Capitol Hill, might set a new precedent in the history of the internet. While Twitter and Facebook de-platformed the President of the United States, Google has temporarily banned Twitter’s alter-ego Parler from their Play Store. According to inputmag, Apple too, has ordered Parler to remove “objectionable content” from the platform within the next 24 hours or it will be removed from the App Store. Facebook’s Zuckerberg even penned a post explaining the rationale behind their decision Many applauded the social platforms for silencing the head of one of the most powerful nations in the world. Whereas, few others questioned the policing practices of the platforms and the timing of their decisions.

President Trump was not the only one who has come under the ire of the gatekeepers of internet, Twitter has also suspended the account of Sci-Hub, popular for providing free access to paywalled academic papers. Sci-Hub is currently in a tussle with academic publishers Elsevier, Wiley, and the American Chemical Society who have filed a suit with the Delhi High Court, asking for blockage of Sci-Hub. Sci-Hub’s twitter account was playing a key role in collecting statements in preparation for the case until it was banned by Twitter.

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Intel Looks East

According to reports, Intel is in talks with chip giants TSMC(Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.) and Samsung Electronics in an attempt to revamp its production. If the deal comes through, TSMC will assist Intel in manufacturing 4nm and 5nm chips. For Intel, 2020 has more or less been underwhelming. Competitors like NVIDIA and AMD moved ahead in the race relatively. Adding to the agony, one of its oldest customer Apple has announced its departure to make its own chips, a move that is predicted to become more common among other companies. Last month, Amazon too, has introduced two of its own chips. Intel, which has been revamping and launching new products since mid-2020, is no verge of a major structural change at the production as well if the talks of outsourcing come through.

Apple In Talks With Hyundai?

On Thursday, reports of a potential Apple-Hyundai partnership on driverless, electric vehicles sent Hyundai’s shares soaring. Apple, which has announced its autonomous vehicle project, a couple of weeks ago is reportedly in talks with the South Korean giant Hyundai for a cooperation on its car project. According to WSJ, Apple has been reaching out to suppliers about the possibility of doing its own car, potentially starting production as soon as 2024. Hyundai has recently purchased Boston Dynamics from SoftBank in a deal worth nearly $1 billion.

Nvidia-ARM Deal Runs Into Trouble

The British regulators are looking to probe the $40billion deal that can change the semiconductor industry forever. Last year, in September, NVIDIA announced that it would acquire Arm Limited from SBG and the SoftBank Vision Fund in a transaction valued at $40 billion. According to the terms of the transaction, NVIDIA will pay SoftBank $21.5 billion in common stock and $12 billion in cash. This includes $2 billion payable at signing. 

Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority said that it was inviting third parties to comment on the merger. According to Journal, the investigation will assess the deal’s possible effects on competition in the U.K. The regulators are looking into various angles that includes loss of jobs on the home turf and other factors. ARM currently employs 6,500 people. Read more about the deal here.

Google Employees Form A Union

The employees at Google have delivered the much dreaded to the search giant. According to reports, a group of Google employees has formed a union that would oversee the company’s practices across the world. This news comes after recent ousting of Google’s AI ethics co-lead Timnit Gebru who accused Google of creating roadblocks to few types of research. According to people familiar with the proceedings, the Google union’s main goal is to have a say in how Alphabet Inc., does business and how its products are used.

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