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Apple Launched Mixed-Reality 3D Headset Despite Designers Objections

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Apple Launched Mixed-Reality Headset Despite Designers Objections

According to a new Financial Times report, Apple CEO Tim Cook and COO Jeff Williams overruled design team objections to proceed with a new mixed-reality headset before designers thought the technology was ready. However, the report is insufficiently detailed to provide a nuanced picture of what’s happening inside the company.

Here’s the image it does create: Executive departures and other factors have resulted in a once-powerful industrial design team reporting to the company’s operations chief rather than a top-level design executive.

We’ve written about the gradual departure of famed design chief Jony Ive, a close collaborator with former CEO Steve Jobs. In addition to Ive, Apple lost Ive’s successor, Evans Hankey.

According to a recent newsletter from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who had often reported accurately on Apple’s internal workings, when Hankey left, Apple leadership either decided against or was unable to fill Hankey’s role, and the design team ended up reporting to Jeff Williams, the company’s chief operating officer.

The Financial Times article also mentions that Hankey’s departure prompted other departures from the design team. It also claims that at some point since the company began working on its mixed-reality headset in earnest in 2016, members of the design team tried to discourage Cook and the rest of Apple’s leadership from moving forward until the technology for a lighter, more practical form factor for the device was available.

According to the report, Williams and Cook overruled them, believing it was time to proceed with the first iteration of the device. Last year, The Information published a similar story, but that one specifically mentioned that Jony Ive was a particularly vocal advocate for keeping the device to a small, standalone form factor—a stark contrast to the device expected to ship this year, which some reports claim will come with a battery pack attached with a wire.

In any case, the Financial Times article claims that Cook and Williams’ decision to proceed is an example of a power shift in a company where the design team used to have more say in the company’s direction. The Financial Times cites two people familiar with Apple’s decision-making and a former Apple engineer—though it is unclear whether that source is one of those two or another.

According to the publication, Cook’s desire to secure a legacy for his time as CEO before his current shares vest in 2027 is a key driver of the push forward with mixed reality despite the objections of some designers.

However, there could be other factors at work. Cook and Williams, for example, may wish to release a more specialized headset this year to pique the interest of creators and developers and to get a head start on both development resources before releasing a more mass-market product later in the year.

Holding off on putting those building blocks in place until the underlying technologies have reached the ideal state for a consumer breakthrough could mean handing over the future of mixed reality to companies like Meta, which are already shipping products and developing an ecosystem.

According to recent reports, Apple plans to release some mixed-reality headsets by the end of this year. If the device and its associated software platform are intended to be an early stab at attracting developer interest, it may make sense to debut them at the company’s annual developer conference, which is expected to take place this June.

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OpenAI CEO Warns That ‘Societal Misalignments’ Could Make Artificial Intelligence Dangerous

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DUBAI, UAE — The CEO of ChatGPT-maker OpenAI stated on Tuesday that the hazards that keep him awake at night about artificial intelligence are the “very subtle societal misalignments” that might cause the systems to wreak havoc.

Sam Altman, addressing via video call from the World Governments Summit in Dubai, reaffirmed his proposal to establish an organization similar to the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor AI, which is expected to advance faster than the world expects.

openai

OpenAI CEO Warns That ‘Societal Misalignments’ Could Make Artificial Intelligence Dangerous

“There are some elements in there that make it easy to imagine what may go wrong. And I’m not particularly interested in the killer robots walking down the street causing things to go wrong,” Altman remarked. “I’m much more interested in the very subtle societal misalignments where we just have these systems out in society and through no particular ill intention, things just go horribly wrong.”

However, Altman emphasized that the AI sector, including OpenAI, should not be responsible for developing industry laws.

“We are still in the middle of a lot of discussions. So, you know, everyone in the world is holding a conference. “Everyone has an idea, a policy paper, and that’s fine,” Altman explained. “I think we’re still at a time where debate is needed and healthy, but at some point in the next few years, we have to move towards an action plan with real buy-in around the world.”

OpenAI, a San Francisco-based artificial intelligence startup, is a leader in the industry. Microsoft has invested billions of dollars in OpenAI. The Associated Press has reached a partnership with OpenAI to grant them access to its news archive. Meanwhile, The New York Times sued OpenAI and Microsoft for using its content without permission to train OpenAI’s chatbots.

openai

OpenAI CEO Warns That ‘Societal Misalignments’ Could Make Artificial Intelligence Dangerous

Altman’s success with OpenAI has made him the public face of generative AI’s rapid commercialization and anxieties about what the new technology may bring.

The UAE, an authoritarian federation of seven hereditary sheikhdoms, shows evidence of this risk. Speech remains strictly regulated. These constraints impact the flow of reliable information — the same details that AI programmes like ChatGPT employ as machine-learning systems to deliver user replies.

The Emirates also boasts the Abu Dhabi corporation G42, led by the country’s strong national security adviser. Experts believe G42 has the world’s leading Arabic-language artificial intelligence model. The corporation has been accused of spying due to its involvement with a mobile phone app identified as spyware. It has also faced allegations that it secretly collected genetic material from Americans for the Chinese government.

Due to American concerns, G42 has announced that it will break connections with Chinese suppliers. However, the conversation with Altman, hosted by the UAE’s Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Omar al-Olama, addressed none of the local issues.

openai

OpenAI CEO Warns That ‘Societal Misalignments’ Could Make Artificial Intelligence Dangerous

Altman, for his part, said he was encouraged to see schools embrace AI as critical for the future, despite teachers’ fears that pupils might use it to compose papers. However, he stressed that artificial intelligence is still in its early stages.

“I think the reason is the current technology that we have is like… that very first mobile with a black-and-white screen,” said Altman. “So, give us some time. But, in a few more years, I believe it will be far better than it is now. And in a decade, it should be rather extraordinary.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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Amazon’s Ring To Shutter Video-Sharing Program Popular With Police

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LONDON — Amazon cancelled its acquisition of robot vacuum firm iRobot on Monday, citing “undue and disproportionate regulatory hurdles” after the European Union opposed the transaction.

The firms announced in a joint statement that they were disappointed but agreed to end the acquisition. The merger drew antitrust attention on both sides of the Atlantic, especially in Europe, where authorities investigating competition issues were scheduled to make a final decision by February 14.

Amazon said that in 2022, it would buy iRobot, the producer of the circular-shaped Roomba vacuum, for $1.7 billion cash. However, the deal’s value decreased by 15% after iRobot took on extra debt.

Amazon will pay the Bedford, Massachusetts-based business a previously agreed-upon termination fee of $94 million, iRobot said in a separate release, which also revealed that it would lay off around 31% of its workforce and fire its CEO.

ring

Amazon’s Ring To Shutter Video-Sharing Program Popular With Police

The European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm and top antitrust watchdog warned Amazon last year of its “preliminary view” that the iRobot acquisition would reduce industry competition.

While British antitrust regulators cleared the deal in June, the Federal Trade Commission in the United States continued investigating.

The European Commission waited to respond to a request for comment. It was concerned that Amazon would minimise the exposure of an iRobot competitor’s product or restrict access to certain labels, such as “Amazon’s Choice,” which could draw more customers.

Last year, the commission said that Amazon may have discovered ways to boost the expenses for iRobot’s competitors to advertise and sell their products on its platform.

Amazon’s chief counsel, David Zapolsky, slammed authorities, saying consumers would miss out on “faster innovation and more competitive prices.”

“Mergers and acquisitions like this help companies like iRobot better compete in the global marketplace, particularly against companies, and from countries, that aren’t subject to the same regulatory requirements in fast-moving technology segments like robotics,” he added.

ring

Amazon’s Ring To Shutter Video-Sharing Program Popular With Police

He also pointed out that “undue and disproportionate regulatory hurdles discourage entrepreneurs, who should be able to see acquisition as one path to success, and that hurts both consumers and competition— the very things that regulators say they’re trying to protect.”

Now that the purchase has been called off, iRobot has announced a restructuring strategy to stabilise the company. The corporation plans to lay off approximately 350 people as part of these reforms.

Colin Angle, iRobot’s chairman and CEO, will also step down. Glen Weinstein, the company’s executive vice president and chief legal officer, will become interim CEO.

Consumer rights groups had expressed worries about the Amazon-iRobot merger, claiming it would increase the ecommerce giant’s domination in the smart home industry.

Amazon has previously acquired several smart home firms, including Blink, Ring, and Eero, a mesh-networking Wi-Fi company.

ring

Amazon’s Ring To Shutter Video-Sharing Program Popular With Police

This is the latest example of a partnership between US corporations that failed after being scrutinised by European regulators.

Adobe abandoned its $20 billion acquisition of online design business Figma last year due to antitrust concerns raised by the EU and the UK. After losing legal battles with antitrust officials in Europe and the United States, biotech giant Illumina was forced to cancel its $7.1 billion acquisition of cancer-screening business Grail.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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AMAZON: Bid To Buy Roomba Maker IRobot Is Called Off Amid Pushback In Europe

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amazon

LONDON — Amazon cancelled its acquisition of robot vacuum firm iRobot on Monday, citing “undue and disproportionate regulatory hurdles” after the European Union opposed the transaction.

The firms announced in a joint statement that they were disappointed but agreed to end the acquisition. The merger drew antitrust attention on both sides of the Atlantic, especially in Europe, where authorities investigating competition issues were scheduled to make a final decision by February 14.

Amazon said that in 2022, it would buy iRobot, the producer of the circular-shaped Roomba vacuum, for $1.7 billion cash. However, the deal’s value decreased by 15% after iRobot took on extra debt.

amazon

AMAZON: Bid To Buy Roomba Maker IRobot Is Called Off Amid Pushback In Europe

Amazon will pay the Bedford, Massachusetts-based business a previously agreed-upon termination fee of $94 million, iRobot said in a separate release, which also revealed that it would lay off around 31% of its workforce and fire its CEO.

The European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm and top antitrust watchdog warned Amazon last year of its “preliminary view” that the iRobot acquisition would reduce industry competition.

While British antitrust regulators cleared the deal in June, the Federal Trade Commission in the United States continued investigating.

The European Commission waited to respond to a request for comment. It was concerned that Amazon would minimise the exposure of an iRobot competitor’s product or restrict access to certain labels, such as “Amazon’s Choice,” which could draw more customers.

Last year, the commission said that Amazon may have discovered ways to boost the expenses for iRobot’s competitors to advertise and sell their products on its platform.

amazon

AMAZON: Bid To Buy Roomba Maker IRobot Is Called Off Amid Pushback In Europe

Amazon’s chief counsel, David Zapolsky, slammed authorities, saying consumers would miss out on “faster innovation and more competitive prices.”

“Mergers and acquisitions like this help companies like iRobot better compete in the global marketplace, particularly against companies, and from countries, that aren’t subject to the same regulatory requirements in fast-moving technology segments like robotics,” he added.

He also pointed out that “undue and disproportionate regulatory hurdles discourage entrepreneurs, who should be able to see acquisition as one path to success, and that hurts both consumers and competition— the very things that regulators say they’re trying to protect.”

Now that the purchase has been called off, iRobot has announced a restructuring strategy to stabilise the company. The corporation plans to lay off approximately 350 people as part of these reforms.

Colin Angle, iRobot’s chairman and CEO, will also step down. Glen Weinstein, the company’s executive vice president and chief legal officer, will become interim CEO.

Consumer rights groups had expressed worries about the Amazon-iRobot merger, claiming it would increase the ecommerce giant’s domination in the smart home industry.

amazon

AMAZON: Bid To Buy Roomba Maker IRobot Is Called Off Amid Pushback In Europe

Amazon has previously acquired several smart home firms, including Blink, Ring, and Eero, a mesh-networking Wi-Fi company.

This is the latest example of a partnership between US corporations that failed after being scrutinised by European regulators.

Adobe abandoned its $20 billion acquisition of online design business Figma last year due to antitrust concerns raised by the EU and the UK. After losing legal battles with antitrust officials in Europe and the United States, biotech giant Illumina was forced to cancel its $7.1 billion acquisition of cancer-screening business Grail.

SOURCE – (AP)

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