Outsmarting Humans Just One Step for AI Video Game Players

This image released by Sony Interactive Entertainment shows a scene from the video game Gran Turismo Sophy. (Sony Interactive Entertainment via AP)
This image released by Sony Interactive Entertainment shows a scene from the video game Gran Turismo Sophy. (Sony Interactive Entertainment via AP)
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Outsmarting Humans Just One Step for AI Video Game Players

This image released by Sony Interactive Entertainment shows a scene from the video game Gran Turismo Sophy. (Sony Interactive Entertainment via AP)
This image released by Sony Interactive Entertainment shows a scene from the video game Gran Turismo Sophy. (Sony Interactive Entertainment via AP)

Speed around a French village in the video game Grand Turismo and you might spot a Corvette behind you trying to catch your slipstream.

The technique of using the draft of an opponent's racecar to speed up and overtake them is one favored by skilled players of PlayStation's realistic racing game.

But this Corvette driver is not being controlled by a human — it's GT Sophy, a powerful artificial intelligence agent built by PlayStation-maker Sony.

Grand Turismo players have been competing against computer-generated racecars since the franchise launched in the 1990s, but the new AI driver that was unleashed last week on Grand Turismo 7 is smarter and faster because it's been trained using the latest AI methods.

“Grand Turismo had a built-in AI existing from the beginning of the game, but it has a very narrow band of performance and it isn’t very good,” said Michael Spranger, chief operating officer of Sony AI. “It’s very predictable. Once you get past a certain level, it doesn’t really entice you anymore.”

But now, he said, “this AI is going to put up a fight.”

Visit an artificial intelligence laboratory at universities and companies like Sony, Google, Meta, Microsoft and ChatGPT-maker OpenAI and it’s not unusual to find AI agents like Sophy racing cars, slinging angry birds at pigs, fighting epic interstellar battles or helping human gamers build new Minecraft worlds -- all part of the job description for computer systems trying to learn how to get smarter in games.

But in some instances, they are also trying to learn how to get smarter in the real world. In a January paper, a University of Cambridge researcher who built an AI agent to control Pokémon characters argued it could “inspire all sorts of applications that require team management under conditions of extreme uncertainty, including managing a team of doctors, robots or employees in an ever-changing environment, like a pandemic-stricken region or a war zone.”

And while that might sound like a kid making a case for playing three more hours of Pokémon Violet, the study of games has been used to advance AI research — and train computers to solve complex problems — since the mid-20th century.

Initially, AI was used on games like checkers and chess to test at winning strategy games. Now a new branch of research is more focused on performing open-ended tasks in complex worlds and interacting with humans, not just for the purpose of beating them.

“Reality is like a super-complicated game,” said Nicholas Sarantinos, who authored the Pokémon paper and recently turned down a doctoral offer at Oxford University to start an AI company aiming to help corporate workplaces set up more collaborative teams.

In the web-based Pokémon Showdown battle simulator, Sarantinos developed an algorithm to analyze a team of six Pokémon — predicting how they would perform based on all the possible battle scenarios ahead of them and their comparative strengths and weaknesses.

Microsoft, which owns the popular Minecraft game franchise as well as the Xbox game system, has tasked AI agents with a variety of activities — from steering clear of lava to chopping trees and making furnaces. Researchers hope some of their learnings could eventually play a role in real-world technology, such as how to get a home robot to take on certain chores without having to program it to do so.

While it “goes without stating” that real humans behave quite differently from fictional video game creatures, “the core ideas can still be used,” Sarantinos said. “If you use psychology tests, you can take this information to conclude how well they can work together.”

Amy Hoover, an assistant professor of informatics at the New Jersey Institute of Technology who’s built algorithms for the digital card game Hearthstone, said “there really is a reason for studying games” but it is not always easy to explain.

“People aren’t always understanding that the point is about the optimization method rather than the game,” she said.

Games also offer a useful testbed for AI — including for some real-world applications in robotics or health care — that’s safer to try in a virtual world, said Vanessa Volz, a researcher and co-founder of the Danish startup Modl.ai, which builds AI systems for game development.

But, she adds, “it can get overhyped."

“It’s probably not going to be one big breakthrough and that everything is going to be shifted to the real world,” Volz said.

Japanese electronics giant Sony launched its own AI research division in 2020 with entertainment in mind, but it's nonetheless attracted broader academic attention. Its research paper introducing Sophy last year made it on the cover of the prestigious science journal Nature, which said it could potentially have effects on other applications such as drones and self-driving vehicles.

The technology behind Sophy is based on an algorithmic method known as reinforcement learning, which trains the system by rewarding it when it gets something right as it runs virtual races thousands of times.

“The reward is going to tell you that, ‘You’re making progress. This is good,’ or, ‘You’re off the track. Well, that’s not good,’” Spranger said.

PlayStation players will only get to try racing against Sophy until Wednesday, on a limited number of circuits, so it can get some feedback and go back into testing. Peter Wurman, director of Sony AI America and project lead on GT Sophy, said it takes about two weeks for AI agents to train on 20 PlayStations.

“To get it spread throughout the whole game, it takes some more breakthroughs and some more time before we’re ready for that,” he said.

And to get it onto real streets or Formula One tracks? That could take a lot longer.

Self-driving car companies adopt similar machine-learning techniques, but “they don’t hand over complete control of the car the way we are able to,” Wurman said. “In a simulated world, there’s nobody’s life at risk. You know exactly the kinds of things you’re going to see in the environment. There’s no people crossing the road or anything like that.”



Apple Fined Nearly $2 Billion by the European Union Over Music Streaming Competition 

In this Jan. 3, 2019, file photo the Apple logo is displayed at the Apple store in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP)
In this Jan. 3, 2019, file photo the Apple logo is displayed at the Apple store in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP)
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Apple Fined Nearly $2 Billion by the European Union Over Music Streaming Competition 

In this Jan. 3, 2019, file photo the Apple logo is displayed at the Apple store in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP)
In this Jan. 3, 2019, file photo the Apple logo is displayed at the Apple store in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP)

The European Union leveled its first antitrust penalty against Apple on Tuesday, fining the US tech giant nearly $2 billion for breaking the bloc's competition laws by unfairly favoring its own music streaming service over rivals.

Apple banned app developers from "fully informing iOS users about alternative and cheaper music subscription services outside of the app," said the European Commission, the 27-nation bloc’s executive arm and top antitrust enforcer.

That is illegal under EU antitrust rules. Apple behaved this way for almost a decade, which meant many users paid “significantly higher prices for music streaming subscriptions,” the commission said.

The 1.8 billion-euro fine follows a long-running investigation triggered by a complaint from Swedish streaming service Spotify five years ago.

The EU has led global efforts to crack down on Big Tech companies, including a series of multbillion-dollar fines for Google and charging Meta with distorting the online classified ad market. The commission also has opened a separate antitrust investigation into Apple's mobile payments service.

The commission's investigation initially centered on two concerns. One was the iPhone maker's practice of forcing app developers that are selling digital content to use its in-house payment system, which charges a 30% commission on all subscriptions.

But the EU later dropped that to focus on how Apple prevents app makers from telling their users about cheaper ways to pay for subscriptions that don’t involve going through an app.

The investigation found that Apple banned streaming services from telling users about how much subscription offers cost outside of their apps, including links in their apps to pay for alternative subscriptions or even emailing users to tell them about different pricing options.

The fine comes the same week that new EU rules are set to kick in that are aimed at preventing tech companies from dominating digital markets.

The Digital Markets Act, due to take effect Thursday, imposes a set of do's and don'ts on “gatekeeper” companies including Apple, Meta, Google parent Alphabet, and TikTok parent ByteDance — under threat of hefty fines.

The DMA's provisions are designed to prevent tech giants from the sort of behavior that's at the heart of the Apple investigation. Apple has already revealed how it will comply, including allowing iPhone users in Europe to use app stores other than its own and enabling developers to offer alternative payment systems.

The commission also has opened a separate antitrust investigation into Apple’s mobile payments service, and the company has promised to open up its tap-and-go mobile payment system to rivals in order to resolve it.


Minister: Google's Removal of Apps from Play Store in India 'Cannot Be Permitted'

FILE PHOTO: India's Minister for Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw addresses the audience during the 'SemiconIndia 2023', India’s annual semiconductor conference, in Gandhinagar, India, July 28, 2023. REUTERS/Amit Dave/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: India's Minister for Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw addresses the audience during the 'SemiconIndia 2023', India’s annual semiconductor conference, in Gandhinagar, India, July 28, 2023. REUTERS/Amit Dave/File Photo
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Minister: Google's Removal of Apps from Play Store in India 'Cannot Be Permitted'

FILE PHOTO: India's Minister for Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw addresses the audience during the 'SemiconIndia 2023', India’s annual semiconductor conference, in Gandhinagar, India, July 28, 2023. REUTERS/Amit Dave/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: India's Minister for Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw addresses the audience during the 'SemiconIndia 2023', India’s annual semiconductor conference, in Gandhinagar, India, July 28, 2023. REUTERS/Amit Dave/File Photo

Google's decision to remove some apps in India from its app store "cannot be permitted", Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Saturday, amid an ongoing dispute over service fee payments to the US firm.
Google on Friday removed from its Play Store many Indian apps, including Matrimony.com's popular Bharat Matrimony and job search app Naukri, saying the companies were not abiding by its in-app payment guidelines.
Vaishnaw said he has held talks with Google and will meet the startups, which needed protection in India.
"This cannot be permitted. This kind of de-listing cannot be permitted," he said in a statement.
Google declined to comment, according to Reuters.
The removal has sparked criticism from many startups who have for years protested and legally challenged many of the US giant's practices, including its in-app fee. Google says the fees help develop and promote the Android and Play Store ecosystem.
The dispute centers on efforts by some Indian startups to stop Google from imposing a fee of 11%-26% on in-app payments, after the country's antitrust authorities ordered it to not mandatorily enforce an earlier system of charging 15%-30%.
But Google effectively received the go-ahead to charge the fee or remove apps after two court decisions in January and February, one by the Supreme Court.
Google said on Friday that some Indian companies had chosen not to pay for the "immense value they receive on Google Play".
Among the worst hit by the removals is Matrimony.com which has seen more than 150 of its apps dropped from the Play Store.
"All our apps have been removed and we are out of Play Store and (that) means out of business," founder Murugavel Janakiraman told Reuters on Saturday. "If this continuous for a long term then we will have significant drop in revenue."
Info Edge, another affected company, had seen its job search app Naukri and another real estate search app, removed. Many of the company's app had been restored, its founder said on Saturday on X, without elaborating.
Google briefly removed popular Indian payments app Paytm from its Play Store in 2020 citing some policy violations. The move led to the company's founder and the wider startup industry joining together to challenge Google by launching their own app stores and filing legal cases.


Elon Musk Sues OpenAI for Abandoning Original Mission for Profit

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla and owner of X, formerly known as Twitter, attends the Viva Technology conference dedicated to innovation and startups at the Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris, France, June 16, 2023. (Reuters)
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla and owner of X, formerly known as Twitter, attends the Viva Technology conference dedicated to innovation and startups at the Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris, France, June 16, 2023. (Reuters)
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Elon Musk Sues OpenAI for Abandoning Original Mission for Profit

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla and owner of X, formerly known as Twitter, attends the Viva Technology conference dedicated to innovation and startups at the Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris, France, June 16, 2023. (Reuters)
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla and owner of X, formerly known as Twitter, attends the Viva Technology conference dedicated to innovation and startups at the Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris, France, June 16, 2023. (Reuters)

Elon Musk has sued ChatGPT-maker OpenAI and its CEO Sam Altman, saying they abandoned the startup's original mission to develop artificial intelligence for the benefit of humanity and not for profit.

The lawsuit filed late on Thursday in San Francisco is a culmination to the billionaire's long-simmering opposition to the startup he co-founded and has since become the face of generative AI, partly due to the billions of dollars in funding from Microsoft.

Musk alleged a breach of contract, saying Altman and co-founder Greg Brockman originally approached him to make an open source, non-profit company, but the startup established in 2015 is now focused on making money.

Recounting OpenAI's founding, Musk said the three men had agreed to work on artificial general intelligence (AGI), a concept that machines could handle tasks like a human, but in a way that would "benefit humanity", according to the lawsuit.

OpenAI would also work in opposition to Google, which Musk believed was developing AGI for profit and would pose grave risks.

Instead, OpenAI "set the founding agreement aflame" in 2023 when it released its most powerful language model GPT-4 as essentially a Microsoft product, the lawsuit alleged.

Musk has sought a court ruling that would compel OpenAI to make its research and technology available to the public and prevent the startup from using its assets, including GPT-4, for the financial gains of Microsoft or any individual.

OpenAI, Microsoft and Musk did not respond to Reuters requests for comment.

The billionaire is also seeking a ruling that GPT-4 and a new and more advanced technology called Q* would be considered AGI and therefore outside of Microsoft's license to OpenAI.

Reuters in November was first to report on Q* and warnings from OpenAI researchers about a powerful AI discovery.

Musk, who runs Tesla and rocket maker SpaceX and bought Twitter for $44 billion in October 2022, stepped down from OpenAI's board in 2018 and has on several occasions called for regulation on AI.

OpenAI's tie-up with Microsoft is under antitrust scrutiny in the United States and Britain following the startup's boardroom battle last year that resulted in the sudden ouster and return of Altman and the creation of a new temporary board.

The startup is planning to appoint new board members in March, the Washington Post reported on Thursday. Microsoft said in November it would have a non-voting, observer seat on the board.

Some legal experts said Musk's allegations of breach of contract, which is partly based on an email between Musk and Altman, could fail to hold up in court.

While contracts can be formed through a series of emails, the lawsuit cites an email that appears to look like a proposal and a "one-sided discussion", said Brian Quinn, a law professor at Boston College Law School.

"To the extent Musk is claiming that the single e-mail in Exhibit 2 is the 'contract', he will fall well short," Quinn said.

Musk's xAI

Musk has mounted a rival AI effort with his startup xAI, which is made up of engineers hired from some of the top US technology firms such as Google and Microsoft that he hopes to challenge.

The startup started rolling out its ChatGPT competitor Grok for Premium+ subscribers of social media platform X in December and aims to create what Musk has said would be a "maximum truth-seeking AI".

The billionaire, who has called AI a "double-edged sword", was among a group of AI experts and industry executives that last year called for a six-month pause in developing systems more powerful than OpenAI's GPT-4, citing great risks to humanity and society.

Since its debut, ChatGPT has been adopted by companies for a wide range of tasks from summarizing documents to writing computer code, setting off a race among Big Tech companies to launch their own offerings based on generative AI.


Dell Rides on the AI Wave to New Record High

This photograph shows Dell Technologies' logo during the Mobile World Congress (MWC), the telecom industry's biggest annual gathering, in Barcelona on February 28, 2024. (AFP)
This photograph shows Dell Technologies' logo during the Mobile World Congress (MWC), the telecom industry's biggest annual gathering, in Barcelona on February 28, 2024. (AFP)
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Dell Rides on the AI Wave to New Record High

This photograph shows Dell Technologies' logo during the Mobile World Congress (MWC), the telecom industry's biggest annual gathering, in Barcelona on February 28, 2024. (AFP)
This photograph shows Dell Technologies' logo during the Mobile World Congress (MWC), the telecom industry's biggest annual gathering, in Barcelona on February 28, 2024. (AFP)

Dell Technologies shares surged 25% to hit a record high on Friday, following an upbeat annual forecast that indicated the tech equipment maker was benefiting from the AI boom.

The stock climbed to $118.8, and was set to add $17.7 billion to the company's market value and on track to register its best intra-day performance.

The surge provides further evidence that rising AI adoption is driving gains across enterprise technology vendors, and adds to the frenzy on Wall Street following Nvidia's stunning rally.

"We have positioned ourselves well in AI," COO Jeff Clarke said on Thursday, noting that more customers were demanding PCs and servers with AI capabilities.

Orders for the company's AI-optimized servers, including the flagship PowerEdge XE9680, jumped 40% sequentially in the fourth quarter, Clarke said.

At least nine brokerages raised their price targets on Dell after the results. Currently, over three-fourths of the analysts have a "buy" or higher rating with a median target price of $113.

More than 31 million Dell shares had changed hands as of 10:40 a.m. Eastern time, more than seven times the stock's 30-day average trading volume.

"Dell's AI business showed strong progress on key metrics... commentary on the PC market was similar to HP's: that a rebound is coming, but it is being pushed out to the second half of the year," said analysts at Bernstein.

PC and enterprise technology vendor HP's sales declined for a seventh straight quarter in the most recent three-month period.

The recent upside in the business comes after Dell struggled for most part of the last two years as worldwide computer sales sharply declined. While revenue fell less-than-expected in its fourth quarter, annual revenue dropped for the first time since re-listing in 2018.

Dell forecast revenue between $91 billion and $95 billion for its current fiscal year ending January 2025, largely above analysts' average estimate of $92.07 billion.


European Consumers Challenge Meta Paid Service as Privacy 'Smokescreen'

Meta has reaped rich financial rewards by selling its users' data to advertisers, but its model has pit it against EU regulators. Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP/File
Meta has reaped rich financial rewards by selling its users' data to advertisers, but its model has pit it against EU regulators. Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP/File
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European Consumers Challenge Meta Paid Service as Privacy 'Smokescreen'

Meta has reaped rich financial rewards by selling its users' data to advertisers, but its model has pit it against EU regulators. Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP/File
Meta has reaped rich financial rewards by selling its users' data to advertisers, but its model has pit it against EU regulators. Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP/File

Consumer groups from eight EU countries lodged complaints on Thursday against Meta, accusing the US company of illegally processing user data and using its "pay or consent" system as a "smokescreen" for privacy breaches.
Meta has reaped rich financial rewards by selling Facebook and Instagram user data to advertisers, but its business model has pit the US-based firm against EU regulators over data privacy, AFP said.
In November, Meta launched a "pay or consent" system allowing users to withhold use of their data for ad targeting in exchange for a monthly fee -- a model already facing two challenges from privacy and consumer advocates.
Announcing the latest action, the European Consumer Organization (BEUC) called the system "a smokescreen to obscure the real problem of massive, illegal data processing of users which goes on regardless of what users choose."
Eight consumer groups in the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia and Spain are filing complaints with their local data protection authorities, the Brussels-based umbrella body said in a statement.
The groups argue that Meta is still violating the European Union's mammoth general data protection regulation, which has been at the root of EU court cases against the online giant.
"It's time for data protection authorities to stop Meta's unfair data processing and its infringing of people's fundamental rights," said Ursula Pachl, BEUC deputy director general.
BEUC in a report said that Meta is violating the EU data law's principles that demand transparency as well as limiting how much user data it processes and what it is used for.
"Meta seems to be of the opinion that in order for the company to earn money with advertising, it is justified to collect any imaginable data on consumers' activities, location, personalities, behavior, attitudes and emotions," the report said.
"In reality, the massive exploitation of the private lives of hundreds of millions of European consumers for commercial gain fails to respect various fundamental principles of the GDPR."
Flurry of complaints
The Silicon Valley company allows users of Instagram and Facebook in Europe to pay between 10 and 13 euros (around $11 and $14) a month to opt out of data sharing.
Under the GDPR law, consent must be freely given but BEUC argues that its model coerces consumers into accepting Meta's processing of their personal data.
"The company also fails to show that the fee it imposes on consumers who do not consent is indeed necessary, which is a requirement stipulated by" an EU top court.
"Under these circumstances, the choice about how consumers want their data to be processed becomes meaningless and is therefore not free," the report said.
The challenges are the latest in a cat-and-mouse game between the EU and Meta.
The EU's data watchdog, the EDPB, in December told Meta it could not use the personal data of users for targeted ads without their explicit consent.
The EDPB is due to decide in the next few weeks whether a fee system like Meta's violates the bloc's data privacy laws.
Thursday's complaint is the third against Meta's "pay or consent" scheme.
BEUC in November said together with 19 of its members that they had launched a joint complaint with Europe's network of consumer protection authorities against the system.
Before that, the privacy group NOYB, which has won countless victories against Meta and others, filed a complaint.


Meta’s Zuckerberg Discusses Mixed Reality Devices, AI with LG Leaders in South Korea 

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, speaks to journalist after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the latter's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, 27 February 2024 (issued 28 February 2024). (EPA)
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, speaks to journalist after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the latter's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, 27 February 2024 (issued 28 February 2024). (EPA)
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Meta’s Zuckerberg Discusses Mixed Reality Devices, AI with LG Leaders in South Korea 

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, speaks to journalist after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the latter's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, 27 February 2024 (issued 28 February 2024). (EPA)
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, speaks to journalist after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the latter's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, 27 February 2024 (issued 28 February 2024). (EPA)

Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday met LG Electronics executives to discuss a stronger partnership in extended reality (XR) devices as well as potential cooperation in artificial intelligence (AI), LG said.

Zuckerberg arrived in South Korea late on Tuesday and is widely expected to hold talks on AI and meet with President Yoon Suk Yeol and heads of the country's technology powerhouses.

He held discussions with LG Electronics CEO William Cho and parent company LG Corp COO Kwon Bong-seok about business strategy related to next-generation XR device development, LG Electronics said in a statement.

Cho also expressed interest in Meta's large language model-based AI technology and discussed possible on-device AI cooperation, his company said. Cho has previously said LG Electronics is looking for opportunities in XR.

Meta launched its latest mixed-reality headset, Quest 3, in June before rival Apple ramped up competition this month with its Vision Pro device.

It has also been intensifying AI efforts this year including plans for a custom chip and adding AI functions to products.

Zuckerberg is on his first known visit to South Korea in about 10 years. It comes as part of a tour of Asian countries that includes Japan and India, South Korean media reported.

He was due to meet President Yoon as well as Samsung Electronics Chairman Jay Y. Lee, said a government source with knowledge of the matter, declining to be identified as they were not authorized to speak to media.

Zuckerberg is widely expected to discuss AI chip supply and expanding ecosystems for generative AI during his South Korea visit, as Meta seeks to get generative AI technology into its core social media products and hardware devices this year.

Meta plans to deploy into its data centers this year a new version of a custom chip aimed at supporting its AI push, Reuters reported this month. It also plans to secure about 350,000 H100 graphics processing units from leading AI chipmaker Nvidia by end-year to support the push.


Saudi Minister of Communications, Information Technology Meets with Qatari Counterpart

During the meeting, the two ministers discussed ways to expand the strategic partnership between the two countries. SPA
During the meeting, the two ministers discussed ways to expand the strategic partnership between the two countries. SPA
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Saudi Minister of Communications, Information Technology Meets with Qatari Counterpart

During the meeting, the two ministers discussed ways to expand the strategic partnership between the two countries. SPA
During the meeting, the two ministers discussed ways to expand the strategic partnership between the two countries. SPA

Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology Eng. Abdullah bin Amer Al-Swaha has met in Doha with Qatari Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mohammed Al-Mannai.
During the meeting on Tuesday, they discussed ways to expand the strategic partnership between the two countries in the field of digital government and digital economy and to enhance the innovation and entrepreneurship system.

This is in line with the aspirations of the Saudi-Qatari Coordination Council to support and strengthen the partnership between the two countries.
The meeting was attended by several leaders of national technology companies in the fields of business, digital transformation, digital health solutions, and others.


Zuckerberg Meets Japan PM in Tokyo to Discuss AI

FILE PHOTO: Meta's CEO Mark Zuckerberg attends a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing at the US Capitol in Washington, US, January 31, 2024. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Meta's CEO Mark Zuckerberg attends a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing at the US Capitol in Washington, US, January 31, 2024. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo
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Zuckerberg Meets Japan PM in Tokyo to Discuss AI

FILE PHOTO: Meta's CEO Mark Zuckerberg attends a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing at the US Capitol in Washington, US, January 31, 2024. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Meta's CEO Mark Zuckerberg attends a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing at the US Capitol in Washington, US, January 31, 2024. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo

Meta Platforms Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg discussed artificial intelligence issues with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday during the Facebook founder's trip through Asia.
"We had a good, productive conversation about AI and the future of technology," Zuckerberg said in brief comments to reporters at the prime minister's residence in Tokyo. He left without taking questions.
The meeting followed reports that Zuckerberg would visit South Korea at the end of this month to discuss AI with Samsung Electronics chairman, Jay Y. Lee, and possibly meet South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol.
Meta, the operator of Facebook, last week confirmed Zuckerberg was planning to visit South Korea.
Japan's government and corporate sector are racing to catch up in AI development. In the past year, Kishida has met with OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang to discuss AI regulation and infrastructure.


Microsoft Announces Principles to Foster Innovation, Competition in AI

 Brad Smith, vice chair and president of Microsoft, speaks at the Mobile World Congress (MWC), in Barcelona, Spain February 26, 2024. (Reuters)
Brad Smith, vice chair and president of Microsoft, speaks at the Mobile World Congress (MWC), in Barcelona, Spain February 26, 2024. (Reuters)
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Microsoft Announces Principles to Foster Innovation, Competition in AI

 Brad Smith, vice chair and president of Microsoft, speaks at the Mobile World Congress (MWC), in Barcelona, Spain February 26, 2024. (Reuters)
Brad Smith, vice chair and president of Microsoft, speaks at the Mobile World Congress (MWC), in Barcelona, Spain February 26, 2024. (Reuters)

Microsoft President Brad Smith on Monday announced a set of principles to foster innovation and competition in artificial intelligence in recognition of its role as a market leader in this technology, a move that could stave off worries about its dominance.

The move by the US tech giant came amid concerns from rivals and antitrust regulators about Microsoft's market power, boosted recently by its collaboration with ChatGPT creator OpenAI.

Microsoft has pushed chatbots into its core products such as its Office software and Bing search engine over the past year, attracting business customers eager to try the tech industry's next breakthrough.

"As we enter a new era based on artificial intelligence, we believe this is the best time to articulate principles that will govern how we will operate our AI datacenter infrastructure and other important AI assets around the world," Smith said in a speech to be delivered at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The AI Access Principles aim "in part to address Microsoft's growing role and responsibility as an AI innovator and a market leader", he said.

"By publishing these principles, we are committing ourselves to providing the broad technology access needed to empower organizations and individuals around the world to develop and use AI in ways that will serve the public good," Smith said.

The principles include providing access and support for AI developers, making AI models and development tools broadly available to software applications developers around the world, and making available public APIs (Application Programming Interface) to enable developers to access and use AI models on Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft will also not use non-public information or data from the building and deployment of developers' AI models in Microsoft Azure to compete with those models, and also allow Microsoft Azure customers to easily export and transfer their data to another cloud provider.


Top Tech Investors to Participate in 3rd Edition of LEAP in Riyadh

The event will feature more than 1,000 top speakers at 10 different stages. SPA
The event will feature more than 1,000 top speakers at 10 different stages. SPA
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Top Tech Investors to Participate in 3rd Edition of LEAP in Riyadh

The event will feature more than 1,000 top speakers at 10 different stages. SPA
The event will feature more than 1,000 top speakers at 10 different stages. SPA

LEAP is slated to hold its third edition, from March 4 to 7 at Riyadh Exhibition and Convention Center, Malham, under the theme “Into New Worlds”.
Organized by the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology, the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming, and Drones, and Tahaluf company, the event will feature more than 1,000 top speakers at 10 different stages, according to a statement from the organizing committee.
LEAP will host the Investor Stage, in which world’s top investors will discuss innovative investment opportunities. This stage will also address topics such as the intersection of technology with government policies and innovation, and successful financing strategies.
It will also feature the Startup Stage, in which expert speakers such as Blossom Accelerator CEO & Founder Emon Shakoor, Raiven Capital Founding Partner Supreet Singh Manchanda, and Adaverse Founding Partner Vincent Li will discuss startup growth and innovation.
Sessions will address topics such as business planning and strategies, nurturing concepts into viable startup ideas, and the importance of enhancing user experience.
According to the statement, the Rocket Fuel Pitch competition returns at the third edition of LEAP, with total prizes exceeding $1,000,000 in six categories: LEAP Award $250,000 for the strongest, most outstanding startup across the whole competition, Shooting Star Award $150,000 for the early stage startup beginning its journey, the Aviatrix Award $150,000 for the best, most innovative startup pioneered by women founders, Technology for Humanity Award $150,000 for the startup that best embodies the “tech for humanity” spirit of LEAP, the Into New Worlds Award $150,000 for the most impressive startup occupying the Metaverse and Web 3.0 space, and the Artificial Intelligence Award $150,000 for the startup that presents the most exciting, ground-breaking usage of artificial intelligence.
The third edition of LEAP, held in partnership with the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (Monsha'at), and strategic partner STC, will be attended by world leading tech companies like Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Dell, Cisco, Avaya, SAP, ServiceNow, Ericsson, Amazon Web Services, IBM, Alibaba Group, and Huawei.