🙅 Unauthorized use

PLUS: Microsoft is calling back employees from China

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Happy Friday, fellow humans 👋

Sony is cracking down on tech companies using its artists' music to train AI systems, Microsoft is calling back employees from China, and AI is affecting elections worldwide…

Let’s dive into it!

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🧵 In today's edition:

  • 🙅 Sony has had enough

  • 🇺🇸 Microsoft is calling back employees from China

  • 🤖 AI is affecting elections worldwide

  • 🛠️ AI Tools to Check Out

  • 🤑 AI Fundraising News

  • 🐦 Tweet Post of the Day

Sony is cracking down on tech companies using its artists' music to train AI systems without permission.

The entertainment company is sending letters to over 700 tech firms and music streaming services, warning them against the "unauthorized use" of Sony's content for AI training.

Here are the details: 

  • In the letter obtained by TechCrunch, Sony states it has "reason to believe" the recipients "may already have made unauthorized uses" of its music, lyrics, artwork, and other intellectual property. 

  • While acknowledging AI's "significant potential," Sony says unauthorized usage deprives the company and artists of control and proper compensation.

Why are they doing this now? 

  • Sony's roster includes major acts like Harry Styles, Beyoncé, Adele, and Celine Dion. 

  • The letter demands details on which Sony songs were used for AI, how they were accessed, if copies exist, and why copies were made in the first place. 

  • Recipients have a deadline to respond, with Sony threatening legal action to enforce its copyrights.

Overall: The move highlights escalating concerns around GenAI and copyright infringement as AI-generated music floods streaming platforms. Even human artists like Drake have experimented with deepfaking deceased rappers' voices, drawing criticism.

Plus, lawmakers are also taking notice. Last month, a U.S. congressman introduced a bill to force AI companies to disclose what copyrighted music they use. Tennessee also recently became the first state to pass laws protecting artists against unauthorized AI replications of their work.

Read more: TechCrunch

Microsoft is reportedly offering to relocate hundreds of its China-based employees working on AI and cloud computing amid escalating United States-China tech tensions. 

What’s going on? 

  • According to the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft has extended an offer to around 700-800 staffers, primarily Chinese engineers, to transfer to countries like the U.S., Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.

  • The move comes as the U.S. government ramps up efforts to restrict China's access to advanced AI and cloud technology due to concerns over potential military applications. 

  • Over the past two years, Washington has imposed a wave of export controls limiting China's ability to acquire high-end chips and chipmaking equipment used to train cutting-edge AI models.

Now, reports indicate the Biden administration is looking to place new guardrails on the export of advanced AI models themselves, such as the large language model powering Microsoft-backed ChatGPT. There is currently little oversight stopping major AI players like Microsoft from providing these powerful AI services to foreign entities.

Why now? 

  • The U.S. fears AI models that mine vast data pools could be weaponized for cyber attacks or the development of biological weapons.

  • Plus, earlier this year, Microsoft revealed that Russian, Chinese, and Iranian state hackers have already been using AI tools to aid their hacking campaigns.

Overall: The company has a significant presence in China, housing its largest R&D center outside the U.S., staffed by over 7,000 engineers focusing on the Asia-Pacific region - so this is a big deal.

Microsoft confirmed offering "optional internal transfers" to unspecified employees, but it did not specify the scale or roles impacted.

Read more: CNBC

As India gears up for elections, the rise of AI and deepfakes is blurring the lines between reality and fiction in the political sphere. 

Recently, fact-checkers uncovered instances of AI-generated avatars of deceased individuals being used to spread propaganda, as well as deepfaked videos of politicians and celebrities endorsing parties without consent.

The implications are severe, with experts warning that the unchecked spread of such misinformation could inflame tensions and "set the country on fire."

While some politicians have already filed police complaints over deepfaked videos, there is currently no comprehensive regulation around AI-generated content in India.

In the absence of rules, creators rely on personal ethics, though many admit to receiving requests for explicit or defamatory deepfakes of rivals.

The lack of widespread technical knowledge also means it's becoming increasingly easy for anyone to create deceptive content using AI tools that were previously highly specialized.

Overall: The Indian government only recently acknowledged the threat, warning tech companies against publicly releasing untested AI models that could "threaten electoral integrity."

Read more: BBC

🛠️ AI Tools to Check Out

  • Recast: Turn your want-to-read articles into rich audio summaries. Check it out!

  • Upflowy: Elevate your sales game with Intent – the ultimate tool for prioritizing leads and sparking meaningful conversations. Check it out!

  • Radaar: Social media management platform for brands, agencies, and startups that want to engage followers, publish unique content, and measure performance. Check it out!

🤑 AI Fundraising News

  • Voxel51 raises $30M in Series B funding to provide open-source and commercial software that enables teams to build datasets and computer vision models that power machine learning and AI applications.

  • Leya raises $10.5M in Seed funding to provide a platform that offers an AI system that works natively with the documents and knowledge firms have built up over the years, in combination with legal data from over 15 jurisdictions.

🐦 Tweet Post of the Day

The Co-founder and ex-CTO of Instagram just joined Anthropic as their newest CPO 👀 

Absolutely massive.

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