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Paid Driverless Taxis Get Green Light From California Regulators.



They’re finally here. Paid driverless taxis got the green light last week from California regulators. Soon, Waymo and Cruise will start charging San Francisco passengers for rides in a car with no driver, at any time of day or night.

It’s easy to forget how far-fetched this would have seemed even a few years ago, when Uber Technologies Inc. sold off its embattled self-driving unit and most autonomous cars struggled to make left turns. But gradually, General Motors Co.’s Cruise and Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo and built out their self-driving fleets in San Francisco. Previously, the companies could offer driverless rides for free across the city, but only Cruise could charge for rides and under limited circumstances.

Now, both companies will be able to offer self-driving taxis 24/7 to the paying public, clearing the way to make robotaxis a real business. Though many hurdles remain to mass adoption, the City by the Bay will soon become a test case for a new kind of transportation business model.

In an interview with Bloomberg Television, Cruise Chief Executive Officer Kyle Vogt spoke of the development in lofty terms: “It’s a signal for California that we are going to prioritize progress, versus accepting the tragedy of the status quo on our roads today.”

For those looking for a ride, Waymo says it will start charging for trips in the coming weeks. The company will also begin accepting more riders from its waitlist, which now stretches beyond 100,000. The pricing will be competitive with ride-hail services, it said.

Cruise plans to initially charge for rides between 9 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. across the city (it previously charged for rides only in certain areas). Cruise’s waitlist also stretches into the tens of thousands.

The expansion of robotaxis will add fuel to the debate on how cities need to evolve to cope with mixed traffic. Waymo and Cruise both have hundreds of self-driving cars in operation, and each has emphasized that expansion should be incremental, slow and careful.

There’s reason for both hope and caution. Analysts at BloombergNEF found that in California the vast majority of collisions involving an autonomous vehicle appear not to have been the robotaxi’s fault. Rear-ended collisions were quite common. No human injuries or property damage were reported in 90% of the collisions that occurred while the AV was in self-driving mode.

Still, some people who testified at the public hearing prior to the vote raised concerns about the volume of robotaxis on streets and many labeled the little electric cars as a nuisance. The Teamsters Union, which represents drivers across industries, characterized regulators’ decision as “complete disregard for public safety.”

One statistic does needs to improve: The number of injuries per mile traveled by autonomous vehicles in California is four times higher than the national human average, according to BloombergNEF analysis. However, the sample size is small and the cars drive almost entirely in cities, where collisions are more likely.

For now, the California decision will be viewed as a major milestone for driverless vehicles. It’s also notable that it happened in San Francisco, which has a well-worn reputation for exporting innovation to the rest of the world. As a city resident, I’ve been enjoying riding in Waymos and Cruises for months. One day, maybe the rest of the world will, too. —Ed Ludlow Bloomberg

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Businessuite News24 International

Nvidia Is Turning Into A Casino For The YOLO Trading Crowd



Nvidia is turning into a casino for the YOLO trading crowd, with some traders on Monday placing bets the the world’s third-largest company could double in value this week. While the trade is insignificant next to wagers on single-digit moves in the stock and there’s pretty much no chance Nvidia will close remotely close to the level of those options, it does bring back memories of 2021’s meme-stock mania.

Traders could in theory sell the contracts for profit if Nvidia rallies this week, but the early signs aren’t too promising. The stock is flat in pre-market trading after Chief Executive Officer Jensen Huang’s highly anticipated speech in California Monday — in which he unveiled new Blackwell chips aimed at extending his company’s dominance of artificial intelligence — proved more of a boon for the shares of the company’s customers and partners than Nvidia itself.

Source Bloomberg

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Bank Of Japan Ends Most Aggressive Monetary Stimulus Program In Modern History



The Bank of Japan ended the most aggressive monetary stimulus program in modern history this morning, scrapping the world’s last negative interest rate. But the dovish nature of the bank’s commentary hurt the yen, as the lack of clues on future moves and the bank’s indication that financial conditions will remain accommodative clearly showed its first hike in 17 years isn’t the beginning of all-out tightening cycle of the sort seen recently in the US and Europe. Nonetheless, John Authers says everyone should be grateful for the exit from negative rates.

Market Calm

The hike had been well-flagged beforehand, allowing it to be quickly absorbed by markets. Japanese bonds gained and the Topix closed at the highest since 1990, while the dollar strengthened and Treasuries were little changed. Elsewhere, the Australian dollar was set for the weakest level in about two weeks after the Reserve Bank of Australia held policy rates at a 12-year high.

Source Bloomberg

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Sam Altman returns as CEO, OpenAI has a new initial board



Mira Murati as CTO, Greg Brockman returns as President. Read messages from CEO Sam Altman and board chair Bret Taylor.

Message from Sam to the company

I am returning to OpenAI as CEO. Mira will return to her role as CTO. The new initial board will consist of Bret Taylor (Chair), Larry Summers, and Adam D’Angelo.

I have never been more excited about the future. I am extremely grateful for everyone’s hard work in an unclear and unprecedented situation, and I believe our resilience and spirit set us apart in the industry. I feel so, so good about our probability of success for achieving our mission.

Before getting to what comes next, I’d like to share some thanks.

I love and respect Ilya, I think he’s a guiding light of the field and a gem of a human being. I harbor zero ill will towards him. While Ilya will no longer serve on the board, we hope to continue our working relationship and are discussing how he can continue his work at OpenAI.

I am grateful to Adam, Tasha, and Helen for working with us to come to this solution that best serves the mission. I’m excited to continue to work with Adam and am sincerely thankful to Helen and Tasha for investing a huge amount of effort in this process.

Thank you also to Emmett who had a key and constructive role in helping us reach this outcome. Emmett’s dedication to AI safety and balancing stakeholders’ interests was clear.

Mira did an amazing job throughout all of this, serving the mission, the team, and the company selflessly throughout. She is an incredible leader and OpenAI would not be OpenAI without her. Thank you.

Greg and I are partners in running this company. We have never quite figured out how to communicate that on the org chart, but we will. In the meantime, I just wanted to make it clear. Thank you for everything you have done since the very beginning, and for how you handled things from the moment this started and over the last week.

The leadership team–Mira, Brad, Jason, Che, Hannah, Diane, Anna, Bob, Srinivas, Matt, Lilian, Miles, Jan, Wojciech, John, Jonathan, Pat, and many more–is clearly ready to run the company without me. They say one way to evaluate a CEO is how you pick and train your potential successors; on that metric I am doing far better than I realized. It’s clear to me that the company is in great hands, and I hope this is abundantly clear to everyone. Thank you all.

Jakub, Szymon, and Aleksander are exceptional talents and I’m so happy they have rejoined to move us and our research forward. Thank you.

To all of you, our team: I am sure books are going to be written about this time period, and I hope the first thing they say is how amazing the entire team has been. Now that we’re through all of this, we didn’t lose a single employee. You stood firm for each other, this company, and our mission. One of the most important things for the team that builds AGI safely is the ability to handle stressful and uncertain situations, and maintain good judgment throughout. Top marks. Thank you all.

Satya, Kevin, Amy, and Brad have been incredible partners throughout this, with exactly the right priorities all the way through. They’ve had our backs and were ready to welcome all of us if we couldn’t achieve our primary goal. We clearly made the right choice to partner with Microsoft and I’m excited that our new board will include them as a non-voting observer. Thank you.

To our partners and users, thank you for sticking with us. We really felt the outpouring of support and love, and it helped all of us get through this. The fact that we did not lose a single customer will drive us to work even harder for you, and we are all excited to get back to work.

Will Hurd, Brian Chesky, Bret Taylor and Larry Summers put their lives on hold and did an incredible amount to support the mission. I don’t know how they did it so well, but they really did. Thank you.

Ollie also put his life on hold this entire time to just do everything he could to help out, in addition to providing his usual unconditional love and support. Thank you and I love you.

So what’s next?

We have three immediate priorities.

Advancing our research plan and further investing in our full-stack safety efforts, which have always been critical to our work. Our research roadmap is clear; this was a wonderfully focusing time. I share the excitement you all feel; we will turn this crisis into an opportunity! I’ll work with Mira on this.

Continuing to improve and deploy our products and serve our customers. It’s important that people get to experience the benefits and promise of AI, and have the opportunity to shape it. We continue to believe that great products are the best way to do this. I’ll work with Brad, Jason and Anna to ensure our unwavering commitment to users, customers, partners and governments around the world is clear.

Bret, Larry, and Adam will be working very hard on the extremely important task of building out a board of diverse perspectives, improving our governance structure and overseeing an independent review of recent events. I look forward to working closely with them on these crucial steps so everyone can be confident in the stability of OpenAI.

I am so looking forward to finishing the job of building beneficial AGI with you all—best team in the world, best mission in the world.




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Sam Altman OpenAI’s co-founder Ousted By His Board Of Directors, Silicon Valley Upended



OpenAI’s Sam Altman, co-founder of the hottest startup on Earth and its most prominent spokesperson for the promises and perils of artificial intelligence, has been ousted by his board of directors.

Ilya Sutskever,

Altman’s firing followed an intensifying dispute with his fellow co-founder, OpenAI chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, over the speed and safety of the startup’s product rollouts, according to people close to the company, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. The pair and their respective allies on the board also disagreed over Altman’s campaign to raise funds for a separate company to make AI chips to compete with Nvidia Corp., and another project to produce AI-related hardware in partnership with former Apple chief designer Jony Ive.

Sutskever and his friends on the OpenAI board may have also been put off by Altman using OpenAI’s name to raise capital, and by the proposed new companies not sharing the same capped-profit governance model as OpenAI, according to one of the people.

In a statement on Friday night, former OpenAI President Greg Brockman, who also resigned amid yesterday’s imbroglio, said he and Altman were surprised by the company’s decision. “Sam and I are shocked and saddened by what the board did today,” Brockman wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter. “We too are still trying to figure out exactly what happened.”

Brockman ended by writing, “Greater things coming soon,” suggesting the pair might soon launch another company to compete with OpenAI. If so, it could further scramble the balance of power in Silicon Valley.

Microsoft Corp. has invested $13 billion in OpenAI since 2019, and has devoted significant computing and engineering capacity to the startup. (Microsoft said in a statement that it’s committed to OpenAI.)

Of course, companies firing their founders is part of the recurring foundational lore of Silicon Valley. Apple fired Steve Jobs in 1985; Twitter dismissed its co-founder Jack Dorsey in 2008. Both executives famously returned to their firms years later. But Altman’s exit could have a larger impact on the industry and the futuristic technology he came to represent.

For much of the last year, Altman has been on a world tour rivaling Taylor Swift’s. In a given week, he might meet with a head of state, testify before Congress and sit for a magazine interview. In appearance after appearance, he touted the promise of AI with a strange blend of optimism and pessimism, maddening his critics. This week, Altman was a prominent figure at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in San Francisco.

But it all ground to a halt on Friday, days shy of the one-year anniversary of the release of ChatGPT, which introduced generative AI to the masses. In a blog post disclosing the news of Altman’s firing, OpenAI said its board had lost confidence in the CEO’s leadership after conducting a review that showed that he “was not consistently candid in his communications with the board.”

“If I start going off, the OpenAI board should go after me for the full value of my shares,” Altman posted late Friday night. But Altman famously has no equity in the company he once led.

In other words, he was being sarcastic. Sam Altman is unlikely to go quietly. —Brad Stone and Julia Love
Source Bloomberg

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US Federal Trade Commission sues Amazon



The US Federal Trade Commission sued Amazon Tuesday, bringing the hammer down on the e-commerce giant for allegedly monopolizing online marketplace services by—among other things—overcharging sellers and stifling competition. The company is also accused of illegally forcing sellers on its platform to use its logistics and delivery services in exchange for prominent placement, and punishing merchants who offer lower prices on competing sites. This is the fourth lawsuit this year the FTC has filed against Amazon, underscoring President Joe Biden’s push to rein in the concentration of corporate power, especially among tech behemoths. Other regulatory agencies also have filed antitrust suits against Google and Facebook parent Meta. The case against Amazon is arguably a career defining one for FTC Chair Lina Kahn, who has had Amazon in her sights since she was a student and has transformed her office into a fierce watchdog.

Source—Margaret Sutherlin Bloomberg

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