🤖 Google retires AI chatbot Bard
Releases Gemini, a powerful new app
Hey Waivly Crew! 🌊 NASA says it’s cutting around 530 employees from its Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California amid budget uncertainty. Google is retiring the Bard brand and introducing an app that’ll implant the technology on smartphones.
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NASA’s Mars exploration lab lays off 570 workers
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California is trimming its workforce by eight percent, letting go of 530 employees and 40 contractors due to budget uncertainties.
This decision follows a recent hiring freeze and termination of 100 contractors. NASA cites the absence of a fiscal year 2024 appropriation from Congress as a key factor in the layoffs, deeming them necessary to adhere to budget allocations while continuing essential work for the agency and the nation.
The cuts are particularly influenced by uncertainties surrounding NASA's 2024 budget, with the agency expected to receive about $300 million for the Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission, a significant reduction from the initial budget proposal of nearly $950 million for the ambitious 2028 mission.
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FTC accuses Microsoft of contradicting merger promises
One week after Microsoft laid off nearly 2,000 employees in its gaming division, the Federal Trade Commission is accusing the tech giant of breaching its commitment to maintain Activision Blizzard's autonomy post-acquisition.
The FTC filed a complaint in a federal appeals court on Wednesday, asserting that the recent downsizing contradicts Microsoft's assurances and is seeking a temporary suspension of the acquisition for further antitrust investigation. Microsoft's earlier claims of a vertical merger with minimal layoffs were contradicted by the company's announcement on January 30 to cut 1,900 jobs, including at Activision Blizzard, forming the crux of the FTC's complaint.
The ongoing antitrust concerns may compel Microsoft to divest part or all of Activision Blizzard, despite prior approval from the UK's Competition and Markets Authority.
🚇 Working on Apple Vision Pro in the NYC Subway
⚡ Porsche upgrades Taycan with more range and fast charging
📸 New iPhone 16 prototype shows an updated camera layout
👀 YouTube CEO Neal Mohan just shared some insane stats
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Apple researchers released a new model that lets users describe in plain language what changes they want in a photo without using photo editing software.
Developed in collaboration with the University of California, Santa Barbara, the MGIE model, or MLLM-Guided Image Editing, enables users to perform actions such as cropping, resizing, flipping, and adding filters through simple text prompts. Whether for straightforward tasks or more complex edits like reshaping specific objects or enhancing brightness, MGIE employs multimodal language models.
It first interprets user prompts and then "imagines" the corresponding edits, making photo editing as simple as typing out commands. Apple has made MGIE available for download on GitHub and provided a web demo on Hugging Face Spaces, while its future applications beyond research remain undisclosed.
Google on Thursday announced a major rebrand of Bard, its AI chatbot and assistant, including a new app and subscription options. Bard, a direct competitor to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, is now called Gemini, the same name as the suite of AI models that power the chatbot.
Android users can download the new dedicated Gemini app, while iPhone users can access it within the Google app on iOS. The move highlights Google's commitment and substantial investment in AI assistants, catering to a wide range of consumer needs.
Furthermore, Google introduced a new AI subscription option, offering users access to Gemini Ultra 1.0, the company's most advanced AI model. Priced at $19.99 per month through Google One, this subscription includes the existing storage plans for Google One subscribers, with a two-month free trial also available.
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is aiming to secure trillions of dollars, including from the United Arab Emirates government, to enhance global advanced chip production and fuel AI capabilities, as per The Wall Street Journal.
Altman's ambitious initiative may necessitate up to $7 trillion, proposing the establishment of multiple chip foundries overseen by existing manufacturers like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). The move addresses challenges in OpenAI's expansion, particularly the scarcity of chips crucial for AI models like ChatGPT.
Altman has engaged with senior UAE officials, TSMC executives, US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, and SoftBank's CEO Masayoshi Son to discuss the plans. An OpenAI spokesperson, cited by the WSJ, confirmed "productive discussions" on bolstering global infrastructure and supply chains but deferred details for a later announcement.
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