“They trained illegally using Twitter data. Lawsuit time.” So spake Elon Musk yesterday, as war broke out between the poly-CEO and Microsoft.
This has been brewing for a while. Microsoft is in a tight partnership with OpenAI, which Musk cofounded and (according to a recent Semafor report) unsuccessfully tried to take over; when rebuffed, he reportedly stomped off with his funding, at which point Microsoft stepped in. Now Musk is working on his own chatbot to rival OpenAI’s ChatGPT, and OpenAI is using Microsoft’s cash to invest in robots that will compete with Tesla’s promised Optimus. Everyone is in everyone’s face.
The final straw came yesterday when Microsoft informed users that, as of next Tuesday, they will no longer be able to use its ad platforms to access their Twitter accounts and manage their Twitter campaigns. This may be connected with Twitter’s recent decision to charge at least $42,000—and as much as $210,000 a month—for enterprise access to its API. Microsoft declined to explain its precise motivation when I asked earlier today.
Which brings us to Musk’s legal threat. When someone responded to that tweet by criticizing Twitter’s shift from open access to high API fees, he explained further: “I’m open to ideas, but ripping off the Twitter database, demonetizing it (removing ads), and then selling our data to others isn’t a winning solution.” Microsoft declined to comment on that one, too.
This isn’t just a matter of Musk being sore at Microsoft; it does at least partly seem to be about the principle of standing up to the scraping and use of its data to train A.I. models. Earlier this week, investor Jason Calacanis tweeted about Reddit’s decision to charge large companies for API access—CEO Steve Huffman said he was motivated by A.I. companies training their large language models on Reddit data—and Musk responded: “They’re right.”
But Musk sees OpenAI as having been swallowed up by Microsoft. “In effect, Microsoft has a very strong say [in], if not directly controls, OpenAI at this point,” he told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson when revealing his rather loose-sounding plans for TruthGPT, a less politically correct ChatGPT rival.
I wonder what TruthGPT is going to be trained on if Musk is so against scraping data on the sly. As it happens, I don’t disagree with him on that principle (though Twitter’s API fees are absurdly high and an insurmountable barrier for researchers). But given that he said he wants to create “a maximum truth-seeking A.I. that tries to understand the nature of the universe” and would therefore be “unlikely to annihilate humans,” I’m also mildly terrified by the prospect of the chatbot being primarily trained on Twitter data.
Anyhow, congratulations to Musk’s SpaceX for getting Starship’s full package off the launchpad today—even though not all engines fired properly, and the rocket failed to separate from its Super Heavy booster, and the whole thing blew up after launch, this must have been a valuable experience. SpaceX is probably going to be Musk’s most important legacy, easy as that is to forget in the noise of Musk’s excessively numerous other ventures. To which we will soon be able to add an omniscient yet hopefully merciful chatbot. Joy.
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Data Sheet’s daily news section was written and curated by Andrea Guzman.
Apple’s App Store control faces a threat. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek is visiting Washington, D.C., and pushing for rules that would loosen Apple’s control over its App Store. Bloomberg reports that his visit comes at a time when Apple is being investigated for allegedly anticompetitive tactics. But Ek says his focus isn’t on past behavior and instead wants legislation that would bring Apple to change. A measure known as the Open App Markets Act has stalled in Congress; it would require Apple and Google to make it easier for users to download from other app stores and switch default apps on their phone.
Chipmakers are hit with profit-sharing agreements for aid. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. is seeking $15 billion in U.S. government support for its project in Arizona, expecting around $7 billion to $8 billion in tax credits, and more in grants. But it’s concerned about rules requiring the company to share some profits with the U.S. government if returns exceed projections. TSMC Chairman Mark Liu said in an industry meeting in Taiwan last month that some of the conditions are “unacceptable.” The profit-sharing agreements are just some of the conditions that companies receiving money must meet with another being a requirement to provide affordable childcare.
SpaceX’s rocket explodes. During its second launch attempt, SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft made it about four minutes into flight before exploding and landing in the Gulf of Mexico. After launching, the booster was supposed to unravel from the spacecraft, but the test was cut short when the rocket, carrying no people or satellites, burst into flames. SpaceX says it still learned from the test since it will help improve Starship’s reliability.
—The share of creators who say they earned over $200 per reel. By comparison, 28% of TikTok creators earned similar amounts, according to a report by social media management platform Later on creator rates.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
No matter how much we hate it, email refuses to die. A.I. might resuscitate the 50-year-old technology and make it smarter, by Trey Williams
Michael Schumacher’s family is planning legal action against a German tabloid that published a ‘deceptively real’ A.I. interview with the former F1 driver, by Nicholas Gordon
Snapchat is making its ChatGPT-powered A.I. bot available to all users, by Alexandra Sternlicht
Mark Zuckerberg’s year of efficiency takes another turn as he joins McDonald’s and Google by laying off thousands in the metaverse, by Chloe Berger
Taylor Swift avoided $100 million FTX debacle by questioning whether the exchange was selling unregistered securities, by Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez
BEFORE YOU GO
Snap is letting shoppers try clothes on digitally. Snap will install augmented-reality mirrors in stores so shoppers can try different outfits without changing in a dressing room. The mirrors will go up in some Nike stores later this year, and in the Men’s Wearhouse in Paramus, N.J., MIT Technology Review reports.
It’s part of the company’s efforts to push AR lenses outside of the app and into physical spaces since Snap will also be launching AR products for music festivals and vending machines. “Our goal is to have people use their time more efficiently in the world instead of getting immersed in a virtual one,” Snap’s chief technology officer Bobby Murphy said.
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