Tech Turmoil: Apple’s EV Project Cancellation, Meta’s News Tab Shutdown, SpaceX Challenges and OpenAI Legal Battles: Weekly Tech Roundup

This week, explore the latest in tech news. From Apple pausing its electric car project to Meta’s closure of Facebook’s news tab, there’s much to uncover. Also, there is lots of space news and legal battles with OpenAI and Elon Musk. Don’t miss our Interesting Thing of the Week and more in the Other News section.

Events this Week

At Pokémon Presents, major announcements included Pokémon Legends: Z-A and Pokémon TCG Pocket, alongside minor mobile game reveals. At MWC, highlights comprised HMD Fusion’s introduction and media’s first hands-on experience with Samsung’s Galaxy Ring, along with several intriguing concept unveilings. For further details, check out the dedicated article.

Apple Cans EV Project

On Tuesday, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that Apple had made the decision to cancel its decade-long effort to build an electric car. This decision was communicated internally to the nearly 2,000 employees involved in the project. Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams and Kevin Lynch, a vice president overseeing the project, were reported to have informed the staff of this significant development.

Facebook Ditches News Tab is US and Australia

On Thursday, Meta announced its decision to discontinue the news tab on Facebook in the United States and Australia, effective April 2024. This move aligns with previous actions taken by the company in other countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, and France. The decision is driven by a significant drop in user engagement with Facebook News and a strategic reallocation of resources towards content formats like short-form video. Regulatory pressures and Meta’s shift away from investing in news-related products have also influenced this decision. Despite existing agreements with publishers, Meta has clarified that it will not pursue new commercial deals for traditional news content. This retreat from news distribution contrasts with Meta’s earlier efforts to support journalism and has raised concerns about access to news and the impact of regulatory interventions.

Space News

FAA Releases Report on SpaceX Starship

On Monday, the FAA released its report on SpaceX’s Starship flight mishaps, detailing corrective actions necessary for Booster 9 and Ship 25. SpaceX aims for a March launch attempt after completing another Wet Dress Rehearsal (WDR) to gather crucial data. Ship 25 experienced a fire due to a LOX dump leak, while Booster 9 faced engine shutdowns from a filter blockage. These issues prompted hardware redesigns, improved fire protection, and updated control algorithms. Despite progress, FAA approval is still pending.

Mars Sample Return Audit Released

On Friday, the NASA Office of Inspector General (OIG) published an audit on the Mars Sample Return (MSR) program, revealing significant delays and cost overruns. The program struggles to finalize designs for essential components like the Earth Return Orbiter (ERO) and Sample Retrieval Lander (SRL). Collaboration challenges between NASA and ESA further hinder progress. The OIG recommends a comprehensive review of MSR’s architecture and budget to ensure success. With a Key Decision Point (KDP-C) looming in March, funding uncertainties add pressure to NASA’s decision-making process.

OpenAI News

The New York Times Case

OpenAI has accused The New York Times (NYT) of utilizing deceptive prompts to extract verbatim passages from its articles using ChatGPT. OpenAI contends that the Times exploited a bug and directly fed articles to the chatbot, which goes against normal usage patterns. The company is seeking dismissal of several claims in the NYT’s copyright infringement lawsuit. However, the Times denies these allegations, stating they were merely using OpenAI’s products to identify copyright infringement. OpenAI’s legal battle with the NYT underscores broader concerns about the use of AI in content generation and copyright enforcement.

Elon Musk’s New Suit

Elon Musk has filed a lawsuit against OpenAI, alleging that the company has recklessly developed artificial general intelligence (AGI) and licensed it to Microsoft without proper transparency. Musk’s lawsuit claims that OpenAI has breached its founding agreement, which pledged to develop AGI openly for the benefit of humanity. However, experts are skeptical of Musk’s claims, pointing out that GPT-4, developed by OpenAI, falls short of true AGI. The lawsuit raises questions about the legal basis of Musk’s claims and highlights ongoing debates surrounding the development and regulation of advanced AI technologies.

Interesting Things of the Week

Crash of the Titan: a short history of Apple’s doomed car project – The VergeLink
Podcasting’s data rules get a refresh – The VergeLink

Other News

In other news, the tech world faces another legal skirmish as Nintendo initiates a lawsuit against the developers of the Yuzu Emulator, aiming to protect its intellectual property. Meanwhile, Automatic, a notable AI firm, strikes a significant deal involving and Tumblr, potentially raising concerns about user data privacy. Meta, formerly Facebook, garners attention after reportedly rejecting a proposed collaboration with Google to utilize Android XR for its Quest VR platform, highlighting the complexities of corporate partnerships in the evolving landscape of virtual reality technology. In the realm of gaming, layoffs shake the industry as Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) announces a massive reduction in its workforce, affecting 900 employees across renowned studios such as Insomniac, Naughty Dog, and Guerrilla Games. Similarly, Electronic Arts (EA) implements workforce cuts, signaling further challenges for employees and the gaming community alike.

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