OpenAI Researchers Warned Board of AI Breakthrough ahead of CEO Ouster, Sources Say

FILE PHOTO: A keyboard is placed in front of a displayed OpenAI logo in this illustration taken February 21, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A keyboard is placed in front of a displayed OpenAI logo in this illustration taken February 21, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo/File Photo
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OpenAI Researchers Warned Board of AI Breakthrough ahead of CEO Ouster, Sources Say

FILE PHOTO: A keyboard is placed in front of a displayed OpenAI logo in this illustration taken February 21, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A keyboard is placed in front of a displayed OpenAI logo in this illustration taken February 21, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo/File Photo

Ahead of OpenAI CEO Sam Altman’s four days in exile, several staff researchers wrote a letter to the board of directors warning of a powerful artificial intelligence discovery that they said could threaten humanity, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The previously unreported letter and AI algorithm were key developments before the board's ouster of Altman, the poster child of generative AI, the two sources said. Prior to his triumphant return late Tuesday, more than 700 employees had threatened to quit and join backer Microsoft (MSFT.O) in solidarity with their fired leader.
The sources cited the letter as one factor among a longer list of grievances by the board leading to Altman's firing, among which were concerns over commercializing advances before understanding the consequences. Reuters was unable to review a copy of the letter. The staff who wrote the letter did not respond to requests for comment.
After being contacted by Reuters, OpenAI, which declined to comment, acknowledged in an internal message to staffers a project called Q* and a letter to the board before the weekend's events, one of the people said. An OpenAI spokesperson said that the message, sent by long-time executive Mira Murati, alerted staff to certain media stories without commenting on their accuracy.
Some at OpenAI believe Q* (pronounced Q-Star) could be a breakthrough in the startup's search for what's known as artificial general intelligence (AGI), one of the people told Reuters. OpenAI defines AGI as autonomous systems that surpass humans in most economically valuable tasks.
Given vast computing resources, the new model was able to solve certain mathematical problems, the person said on condition of anonymity because the individual was not authorized to speak on behalf of the company. Though only performing math on the level of grade-school students, acing such tests made researchers very optimistic about Q*’s future success, the source said.



AI Spending Worries Cast Gloom over Alphabet, Microsoft

An AI (Artificial Intelligence) sign is seen at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China July 6, 2023. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
An AI (Artificial Intelligence) sign is seen at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China July 6, 2023. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
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AI Spending Worries Cast Gloom over Alphabet, Microsoft

An AI (Artificial Intelligence) sign is seen at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China July 6, 2023. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
An AI (Artificial Intelligence) sign is seen at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China July 6, 2023. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

Investors appear to be losing patience with Big Tech's prodigious artificial intelligence investments this week after Meta Platforms signaled deeper spending and a long road to profitability.
The concession from Meta in its quarterly report late on Wednesday cast a cloud over Microsoft and Alphabet , which will both report quarterly earnings on Thursday, Reuters said.
Meta's stock sank 15% in extended trade after it forecast higher AI spending next year, while Microsoft was down 2%, Alphabet fell 3% and Nvidia dropped 1.4% in reaction.
Wall Street's heavyweight tech-related companies have been locked in a fierce battle to advance generative AI, which can create text, videos and photos from prompts and is seen as the next frontier in tech.
During Meta's earnings conference call, analysts peppered CEO Mark Zuckerberg with questions about how the company was pacing its AI investments. One analyst asked whether Meta was spending more because it saw an even bigger opportunity from AI.
"I think we've gotten more ambitious and optimistic on AI," Zuckerberg responded, pointing to Meta's recent launches of new AI models. "So all of that basically encourages me to make sure that we're investing to stay at the leading edge of this."
Alphabet and Microsoft both said earlier this year when they reported fourth-quarter results that they expected rising AI costs. The investor reaction on Wednesday indicated deepening concerns.
In a research note on Monday about Alphabet, analysts from New Street Research said the potential for materially higher capital expenditures was a worry ahead of results on Thursday.
The research firm said it now expects Alphabet's full-year capital expenditures to be $45.9 billion, up from its previous estimate of $42.7 billion.
Google has been working to catch up in the generative AI race and released Gemini, a model that can understand and create different types of information including text, audio and video.
Creating content with generative AI is energy-intensive, and Zuckerberg cited the cost as a reason for Meta's higher expenses.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has positioned itself to be a winner in AI due to its partnership with OpenAI, which kicked off the generative AI craze last year with ChatGPT, said analysts from Jefferies in a note on March 31.
Microsoft has integrated chatbots into its suite of Office products and is planning to invest more in data centers.
Industry-wide, shareholders are now focused on looking for revenue, including pricing models and whether customers can find use cases that justify the cost of generative AI, Jefferies wrote.
"Last year was spent dreaming of gen AI's potential," the analysts wrote. "This year will be about moving forward with concrete steps."


South Korea's Hyundai, Kia to Launch First India-made EVs Next Year

The logo of Hyundai is pictured at the 37th Bangkok International Motor Show in Bangkok, Thailand. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom
The logo of Hyundai is pictured at the 37th Bangkok International Motor Show in Bangkok, Thailand. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom
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South Korea's Hyundai, Kia to Launch First India-made EVs Next Year

The logo of Hyundai is pictured at the 37th Bangkok International Motor Show in Bangkok, Thailand. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom
The logo of Hyundai is pictured at the 37th Bangkok International Motor Show in Bangkok, Thailand. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom

South Korea's Hyundai Motor Group will launch its first India-manufactured electric vehicles by 2025 as the parent of the Hyundai and Kia brands looks to boost its presence in the nascent space dominated by Tata Motors.
Production of Hyundai's locally manufactured EVs will begin by the end of 2024 and will be launched by 2025, along with Kia's India-made EV, the Hyundai Motor Group said in a statement on Thursday, adding that it would unveil five models by 2030, said Reuters.
Both brands will use batteries made by Exide Energy Solutions to power their EVs, they had said earlier this month.
India is the biggest market outside North America and Europe for Hyundai, where its unit is headed for a $3 billion IPO – the country's largest.
Hyundai, India's no. 2 carmaker, known for its top-selling 'Creta' sport utility vehicle, currently sells two electric models in India, the Kona and IONIQ 5, neither of which are produced in the country. Kia's lone electric offering, the EV6, is imported.
The company also reaffirmed Hyundai's target of reaching annual production of 1 million by 2025, adding it would expand capacity at Kia to 432,000 from about 300,000. The combined capacity will grow to 1.5 million units.
Earlier this year, Hyundai completed the acquisition of a former Chevrolet plant in western Maharashtra state as part of its push to get production to 1 million units.
The announcements came during Hyundai Motor Group Executive Chair Euisun Chung's visit to India – his second in less than a year.


Apple Loses Top Spot in China Market with Shipments Down 6.6% in Q1

FILE PHOTO: People look at the new iPhone 15 Pro as Apple's new iPhone 15 officially goes on sale across China at an Apple store in Shanghai, China September 22, 2023. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: People look at the new iPhone 15 Pro as Apple's new iPhone 15 officially goes on sale across China at an Apple store in Shanghai, China September 22, 2023. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
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Apple Loses Top Spot in China Market with Shipments Down 6.6% in Q1

FILE PHOTO: People look at the new iPhone 15 Pro as Apple's new iPhone 15 officially goes on sale across China at an Apple store in Shanghai, China September 22, 2023. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: People look at the new iPhone 15 Pro as Apple's new iPhone 15 officially goes on sale across China at an Apple store in Shanghai, China September 22, 2023. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

Apple lost its crown as China's biggest smartphone seller in the first quarter of 2024 as its smartphone shipments fell 6.6% from a year ago amid intense competition, preliminary data from research firm IDC showed on Thursday.

Honor and Huawei were tied for the top spot, with Honor's market share rising to 17.1% and Huawei's share climbing to 17%, IDC said, while the iPhone maker's market share fell to 15.6%.

The IDC declares a statistical tie when the difference between the share of revenue or shipments between two or more vendors is 0.1% or less.

"Apple's price promotions in the quarter were unable to mitigate the impact of the intense competition from Android players," Arthur Guo, senior research analyst at IDC China said in the report.

Overall smartphone shipments in China rose 6.5% to 69.3 million units, according to IDC.

Earlier this week, data from research firm Counterpoint showed Apple's smartphone shipments in China tumbled 19% in the first quarter of the year, the worst performance since 2020.


Huawei Launches New Software Brand for Intelligent Driving

FILE PHOTO: The logo of the Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is seen outside its headquarters in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, April 17, 2012. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The logo of the Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is seen outside its headquarters in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, April 17, 2012. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo
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Huawei Launches New Software Brand for Intelligent Driving

FILE PHOTO: The logo of the Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is seen outside its headquarters in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, April 17, 2012. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The logo of the Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is seen outside its headquarters in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, April 17, 2012. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

Chinese tech company Huawei unveiled on Wednesday a new software brand for intelligent driving, marking its latest push to become a major player in the electric vehicle industry.
The new brand Qiankun, symbolizing a combination of heaven and the Kunlun Mountains, plans to provide self-driving systems involving the driving chassis, audio and driver's seat, Jin Yuzhi, CEO of Huawei's Intelligent Automotive Solution (IAS) business unit, said during an event ahead of the Beijing auto show.
"2024 will be the first year for mass commercialization of smart driving and the cumulative number of cars on road equipped with the Huawei self-driving system will top 500,000 by the year-end," Reuters quoted Jin as saying.
He also expected within a year more than 10 car models adopting Huawei’s Qiankun system would hit the market.
The Shenzhen-based tech conglomerate launched its smart car unit in 2019 with the aim that it could become the equivalent of German automotive supplier Bosch of the intelligent EV era and supply software and components to partners.
Huawei said in November that the unit would be spun off into a new company which would receive the unit's core technologies and resources and take investment from partners such as automaker Changan Auto.
It has also unveiled seven EV models in partnership with Chinese automakers so far and they are selling well, Jin said.
They include three Aito brand models under partnership with Seres, the Luxeed S7 sedan co-developed with Chery , two models with Changan Auto-backed Avatr and one with Beijing Automotive Group (BAIC)-owned Arcfox.
On Tuesday, Huawei also unveiled the S9 sedan, the first model under the premium Stelato brand it launched with BAIC.
Its diversification into EVs comes amid an intensifying price war in the world's largest auto market, which is grappling with slowing sales momentum and deepening overcapacity concerns as more than 40 brands vie for consumer attention.
Earlier this month, Huawei-backed Aito offered discounts of up to 20,000 yuan ($2,760) on its new M7 SUVs until the end of April.


Apple Announces Event on May 7 amid Reports of New iPad Model Launches

People stand outside a recently-opened Apple Store in Shanghai's Jing'an district on March 26, 2024. (AFP)
People stand outside a recently-opened Apple Store in Shanghai's Jing'an district on March 26, 2024. (AFP)
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Apple Announces Event on May 7 amid Reports of New iPad Model Launches

People stand outside a recently-opened Apple Store in Shanghai's Jing'an district on March 26, 2024. (AFP)
People stand outside a recently-opened Apple Store in Shanghai's Jing'an district on March 26, 2024. (AFP)

Apple will hold an event on May 7, the company said on Tuesday, amid reports that it would roll out the long-anticipated revamped versions of iPad Pro and iPad Air next month.

The Cupertino, California-based company did not disclose more details about the event that would start at 7 a.m. PT (2 p.m. GMT).

Bloomberg News reported in March that Apple's overseas suppliers had ramped up production of the new iPads and a launch was planned for early May.

The new models would represent Apple's first overhaul to that lineup since 2018.

The potential launch comes at a time as iPad sales have declined. The sales dropped 25% to $7.02 billion in the first quarter, while those of iPhone, its most popular product, have also been slowing.

The tablet market is under duress as economic uncertainty looms and consumers cut back on non-essential spending, but Apple expects to combat the slump in demand with new products.

Apple's iPad sales contributed just 5.9% to the company's total net sales of $119.58 billion in the first quarter ended Dec. 30.

Apple is also scheduled to hold its Worldwide Developers Conference from June 10 to June 14.


Microsoft Launches Lightweight AI Model

A Microsoft sign is pictured at a trade fair in Hannover Messe, in Hanover, Germany, April 22, 2024. (Reuters)
A Microsoft sign is pictured at a trade fair in Hannover Messe, in Hanover, Germany, April 22, 2024. (Reuters)
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Microsoft Launches Lightweight AI Model

A Microsoft sign is pictured at a trade fair in Hannover Messe, in Hanover, Germany, April 22, 2024. (Reuters)
A Microsoft sign is pictured at a trade fair in Hannover Messe, in Hanover, Germany, April 22, 2024. (Reuters)

Microsoft on Tuesday launched a lightweight artificial intelligence model, as it looks to attract a wider client base with cost-effective options.

The new version called Phi-3-mini is the first of the three small language models (SLM) to be released by the company, as it stakes its future on a technology that is expected to have a wide-ranging impact on the world and the way people work.

"Phi-3 is not slightly cheaper, it's dramatically cheaper, we're talking about a 10x cost difference compared to the other models out there with similar capabilities," said Sébastien Bubeck, Microsoft's vice president of GenAI research.

SLMs are designed to perform simpler tasks, making it easier for use by companies with limited resources, the company said.

Phi-3-mini will be available immediately on Microsoft cloud service platform Azure's AI model catalog, machine learning model platform Hugging Face, and Ollama, a framework for running models on a local machine, the company said.

Last week, Microsoft invested $1.5 billion in UAE-based AI firm G42. It has also previously partnered with French startup Mistral AI to make their models available through its Azure cloud computing platform.


Adobe to Bring Full AI Image Generation to Photoshop this Year

An AI (Artificial Intelligence) sign is seen at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China July 6, 2023. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
An AI (Artificial Intelligence) sign is seen at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China July 6, 2023. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
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Adobe to Bring Full AI Image Generation to Photoshop this Year

An AI (Artificial Intelligence) sign is seen at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China July 6, 2023. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
An AI (Artificial Intelligence) sign is seen at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China July 6, 2023. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

Adobe said on Tuesday it plans to place a tool for full artificial intelligence image generation in its Photoshop software later this year.
Adobe's image and video editing tools are widely used by creative professionals, but it faces rising competition from startups such as Microsoft-backed OpenAI, Midjourney and Stability AI, all of which offer services that can generate images from text prompts, Reuters said.
Adobe is developing its own image-generation AI system called Firefly, which is trained on data that Adobe has rights to, in order to avoid copyright infringement claims against users.
Adobe previously released image-generation tools in Photoshop that can fill in or expand parts an existing image. At a conference in London on Tuesday, the company said full image generation will come later this year, based on a new AI system called Firefly Image 3.
Much of Adobe's focus has been on speeding up the work of professionals who use its software. The new image-generation tool will have the ability to tap a user's uploaded image as a reference for the general composition of an image.
For example, a designer could make a quick sketch of a scene on a napkin, snap a photo of that napkin with a smartphone and then ask Photoshop to generate fully featured images in a variety of styles, said Ely Greenfield, chief technology officer for digital media at Adobe.
"Rather than having to very carefully describe exactly what goes where and try to make sure that I'm specifying the things I want things and that I don't, it's borrowing from the reference. So this is an amazingly powerful capability," Greenfield said.
Adobe said a test "beta" version of the software is available to some users on Tuesday but did not give a date for general availability.


Tencent to Release ‘Dungeon and Fighter’ Mobile Game in May 

A Tencent sign is seen at the World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, October 20, 2019. (Reuters)
A Tencent sign is seen at the World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, October 20, 2019. (Reuters)
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Tencent to Release ‘Dungeon and Fighter’ Mobile Game in May 

A Tencent sign is seen at the World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, October 20, 2019. (Reuters)
A Tencent sign is seen at the World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, October 20, 2019. (Reuters)

Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings said on Monday it will release its much-anticipated "Dungeon and Fighter" mobile game on May 21 after seven years of development.

Officially named "Dungeon and Fighter: Origin", the action game, developed by Korean firm Nexon, is a mobile adaptation of the "Dungeon and Fighter" computer game, one of the world's most profitable computer games.

Tencent's shares rose about 4.5% on Monday morning.

The game was already released in South Korea in 2022 and became an instant hit. But its China release was delayed after the government cracked down on the gaming industry between 2018 and 2022.

In a February note, investment bank Jefferies expected the game to "secure a top 5 spot in revenue rankings" in China and to potentially generate between $600 million to $1.1 billion in annualized revenues there over time. But the bank expects a "cautious approach to engagement and monetization" during its initial launch.

Last month, Tencent conducted a closed test with 300,000 players and had delivered strong results. In a note this month, HSBC wrote: "Testing for DnFm yielded solid performance in metrics like [daily active users], retention rate and user's paying propensity."


Tesla Cuts Price of Full Self-Driving Software by a Third

FILE - A Model X sports-utility vehicle sits outside a Tesla store in Littleton, Colo., on June 18, 2023. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
FILE - A Model X sports-utility vehicle sits outside a Tesla store in Littleton, Colo., on June 18, 2023. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
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Tesla Cuts Price of Full Self-Driving Software by a Third

FILE - A Model X sports-utility vehicle sits outside a Tesla store in Littleton, Colo., on June 18, 2023. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
FILE - A Model X sports-utility vehicle sits outside a Tesla store in Littleton, Colo., on June 18, 2023. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Tesla slashed the price of its Full Self-Driving (FSD) driver assistant software to $8,000 from $12,000 in the United States.

CEO Elon Musk is betting on the technology to become cash cow for the world's most valuable automaker. But he has for years failed to achieve the goal of self-driving capability, with the technology under growing regulatory and legal scrutiny.

Musk earlier this month said Tesla will unveil its robotaxis on Aug. 8, after Reuters reported Tesla had scrapped its inexpensive, mass-market car in favour of robotaxis.

According to the Tesla website, customers can now pay $8,000 for the FSD feature, or subscribe to use it for $99 a month.

Tesla recently cut the US monthly subscription price for the feature from $199, while giving every Tesla customer a month's free subscription to the software.

Tesla has also been cutting prices on its auto line-up in major markets. Grappling with falling sales and an intensifying price war for electric vehicles, Tesla cut prices by nearly $2,000 across its line-up in China, in line with its price cuts in the United States.


Saudi Food and Drug Authority CEO Visits Agency for Science, Technology and Research in Singapore

The CEO of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) visited the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore. SPA
The CEO of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) visited the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore. SPA
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Saudi Food and Drug Authority CEO Visits Agency for Science, Technology and Research in Singapore

The CEO of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) visited the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore. SPA
The CEO of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) visited the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore. SPA

The CEO of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA), Dr. Hisham bin Saad Al-Jadhey, visited the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore, and met with the Executive Director of the A*STAR Biomedical Research Council (BMRC), Dr. Azlinda Anwar, and A*STAR Executive Director of the Singapore Institute of Food and Biotechnology Innovation (SIFBI) Dr. Sze Tan.
Al-Jadhey was briefed on the work of the BMRC, the SIFBI, and the biotechnology ecosystem in Singapore.
A*STAR is an entity affiliated with the Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry which supports research and development in several areas, including human health and biomedicine in the public sector.
This visit came on the sidelines of the SFDA's participation in the 5th Annual Meeting of the International Heads of Food Agencies Forum (IHFAF), which took place in Singapore from April 16 to 20.