Antropic Announces Claude 3.5 Sonnet, Its Most Powerful AI Chatbot

Antropic announced Claude 3.5 Sonnet, the artificial intelligence startup's most powerful generative AI model yet, adding competition to other chatbot models like OpenAI's ChatGPT and Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Gemini. Antropic said Claude 3.5 is faster than its previous model and is the first model of its new Claude 3.5 family. "It shows marked improvement in grasping nuance, humor, and complex instructions, and is exceptional at writing high-quality content with a natural, relatable tone," the company said about its latest model in a blogpost, adding that Claude 3.5 can also write, edit and execute code. Claude 3.5 Sonnet is available for free on and through the Claude iOS (NASDAQ: AAPL) app. Claude Pro and Team subscribers can also access the new model with higher rate limits. Antropic has backers include Salesforce (NYSE: CRM), Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Google.

Snap Unveils Early Version of Real-Time AR Lens

Snap (NYSE: SNAP) co-founder and CTO Bobby Murphy unveiled an early version of the app's real-time, on-device image model that can generate AR experiences, alongside other generative AI tools for AR creators. Murphy said the model is small enough to run on a smartphone and fast enough to generate frames in real-time with a text prompt. "This and future real time on device generative ML models speak to an exciting new direction for augmented reality, and is giving us space to reconsider how we image rendering and creating AR experiences altogether," Murphy said on stage at the Augmented World Expo. Snap users can start to see Lenses using the new AR model in the coming months, with creators planned to have access by the end of the year. Snap also announce the launch of Lens Studio 5.0 for developers on Tuesday to help them create AR effects that include custom stulizations effects.

Apple to Shut Down Buy Now, Pay Later Service 'Apple Pay Later'

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) said Monday is has stopped issuing loans through Apple Pay Later, its buy now, pay later service launched less than a year ago in the United States. This service allowed users to borrow up to $1,000 in loans paid in four payments over six weeks. In its place, Apple said users will be apple to apply for installment loans from credit cards, debit cards, and lenders including Affirm (NASDAQ: AFFRM) later this year. "Our focus continues to be on providing our users with access to easy, secure and private payments options with Apple Pay, and this solution will enable us to bring flexible payments to more users, in more places across the globe, in collaboration with Apple Pay enabled banks and lenders," Apple said in a statement to 9to5Mac on Monday.

Microsoft to Delay Launch of AI Tool Recall Following Privacy, Security Concerns

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is the delaying the launch of Recall, the tech giant's announced artificial intelligence tool that tracks users activity through screenshots, it said in a blog post late Thursday following privacy and security concerns. The company wrote that Recall, which was scheduled to release alongside the Copilot+ PC next week, will shift from being a "broadly available" tool to a beta feature only available to the Windows Insiders Program with a future launch planned after Microsoft receives tester feedback. "The decision is rooted in our commitment to providing a trusted, secure and robust experience for all customers," Pavan Davuluri, vice president of Windows Corporate, wrote in the blog post. The company's Copilot+ PC is designed to run advanced AI programs and will debut on June 18.

Tesla Shareholders Sue Musk Over Starting xAI

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) shareholders are suing CEO Elon Musk and members of the electric vehicle company's board of directors, according to a lawsuit filed Cleveland Bakers and Teamsters Pension Fund in Delaware Chancery Court, Daniel Hazen and Michael Giampietro on Thursday, due to Musk's decision to start xAI and move talent from Tesla to the competing artificial intelligence startup. The lawsuit claims Musk and board members breached fiduciary duties to shareholders and that Musk violated Tesla's code of business ethics by creating and leading xAI. "The notion that the CEO of a major, publicly traded Delaware corporation could -- with the evident approval of his board -- start a competing company, and then divert talent and resources from his corporation to the startup, is preposterous," the complaint reads.

Sony Pictures Buys Alamo Drafthouse, First Studio to Own Theater Chain in 75 Years

Sony Pictures (NYSE: SONY) has acquired Alamo Drafthouse, the company announced Wednesday, becoming the first major Hollywood studio to own a movie theater chain in more than 75 years. The acquisition comes after Alamo Drafthouse filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2021 due to pandemic-related operation disruptions and was then purchased by a private equity firm. Alamo Drafthouse, which is the seventh-latest movie theater chain in North America, will continue to be lead by CEO Michael Kustermann under the deal and its 35 cinemas will remain under the Alamo Drafthouse brand. "We look forward to building upon the innovations that have made Alamo Drafthouse successful and will, of course, continue to welcome content from all studios and distributors," said Ravi Ahuja, president and CEO of Sony Pictures Experiences, in a statement. Between 1948 and 2020, film studios were barred from owning a movie theater company under the Paramount Consent Decrees.

Spotify Reportedly to Add HiFi Premium for Addition $5 Per Month to Subscription Tiers

Spotify (NYSE: SPOT) is reportedly adding a HiFi tier to its collection of subscription plans at an add-on cost of $5 per month, according to a Bloomberg report. This add-on, which was reported by Bloomberg last month to be called "Supremium" will cost a Spotify Premium plan user, now paying $11.99 per month, $16.99 for the premium audio service. The add-on will also offer user tools to generate custom playlists for specific activities, dates and times of year and manage music libraries, Bloomberg reports. HiFi, or high fidelity, audio is seen as a benchmark for audio quality, reproducing sound with minimal distortion. This report follows Spotify recently raising its month subscription fees in the United States, with Duo increasing by $2 a month, Family by $3, and Premium by $1.

Apple is Bringing OpenAI's ChatGPT to Siri

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) announced during a keynote at Worldwide Developers Conference in Cupertino on Monday that the tech giant is adding OpenAI's ChatGPT generative chatbot capabilities to Siri and other first-party apps. Siri will soon be able to use ChatGPT to respond to queries, either written, spoken or image-based. ChatGPT can also be accessed system-wide on Apple devices with tools like Writing Tools, which lets users create word- or image-based content. These integrations will be arrive on iOS 18, iPadOS 18 and macOS Sequoia (the company's upcoming mac software update) later this year and will be free to users without the need of an OpenAI account. "Apple shares our commitment to safety and innovation, and this partnership aligns with OpenAI's mission to make advanced AI accessible to everyone," OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said in a statement.

United Airlines Now Serves Personalized Ads to Passengers Via Seat-Back Screens

United Airlines (NASDAQ: UAL) announced Friday it will start serving passengers personalized ads on seat-back screens and on its app throughout their flight, offering another revenue stream and loyalty program opportunities for the airline. The carrier said its new ad platform, Kinective Media, is already working with companies like Norwegian Cruise Line (NYSE: NCLH) and IHG Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: IHG), and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), which hosts United's co-branded rewards credit card. "There is potential for 3.5 hours of attention per traveler, based on average flight time," United said in a news release. Customers can opt out of the program through a United web page, the airline said, and advertisers will be barred from accessing personally identifiable information from passengers.

Study Finds AI Chat Models Answer Polarizing Subjects Inconsistently

A new study conducted by researchers at Carnegie Mellon, the University of Amsterdam and AI startup Hugging Face found that generative AI models tended to answer prompts relating to controversial topics inconsistently, which reflects the biases of the data used to train them. Researchers tested five models: Mistral's Mistral 7B, Conhere's Command-R, Alibaba's (NYSE: BABA) Qwen, Google's (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) Gemma and Meta Platform's (NASDAQ: META) Llama 3, and found that most sensitive questions -- such as social or political issues -- were met with "refusals," or when the model choses not the answer a query. "These refusals are influenced by the implicit values of the models and by the explicit values and decisions made by the organizations developing them, such as fine-tuning choices to avoid commenting on sensitive issues," Gidada Pistilli, principal ethicist on the study, told TechCrunch. "Our research shows significant variation in the values conveyed by model responses, depending on culture and language."

Nvidia Tops $3 Trillion Market Cap, Second Most Valuable Public Company

Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) shares rose over 5% to top a $3 trillion market cap milestone on Wednesday, surpassing Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) to become the second most valuable public company, behind Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT). At market close, Nvidia has a market value of $3.019 trillion, compared with Apple's at $2.99 trillion and Microsoft's $3.15 trillion. Nvidia's shares have surged over 150% year-to-date, adding more than 24% since its first-quarter earnings report in late May, as the chipmaker benefits from the emerging artificial intelligence industry. For its first-quarter, Nvidia saw its data center business revenue jump 427% annually to $22.6 billion, representing about 86% of its overall sales. Apple was the first company to reach both a $1 trillion and $2 trillion market cap, and was surpassed by Microsoft earlier this year as the tech company benefits from its investment in OpenAI.

Ford EV and Hybrid Sales Grew 65% Annually in May

Ford Motor's (NYSE: F) new vehicle sales in the United States rose 11.2% year-over-year in May, the Detroit automaker reported Tuesday, driven in-part by roughly 65% sales gain for both hybrid and all-electric vehicles. That sales growth compares to a 5.6% rise in sales for internal combustion engine vehicles for the company. Notably, Ford nearly doubled sales of its electric F-150 Lightning pickup annually, and sales of its Mustang Mach-E EV grew 46% year-over-year. However, sales for electric and hybrid vehicles totaled about 26,600, representing only 14% of Ford's more than 190,000 total sales in May, according to the automaker. Ford's year-to-date U.S. sales through may totaled 877,685 units, up 5.6% year-over-year.

Meta's Instagram is Testing Unskippable Ads

Meta Platform's (NASDAQ: META) Instagram confirmed to TechCrunch on Monday that the social media platform is testing unskippable ads. These new ads will display a countdown timer that stops users from being able to scroll away until they view the post. "We're always testing formats that can drive value for advertisers," a spokesperson told TechCrunch. "As we test and learn, we will provide updates should this test result in any formal product changes." This potential change to Instagram's feed for users is comparable to the free version of YouTube (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG), which requires users to view ads before, during and sometimes after watching videos. Instagram has overtime modified its app to better compete with platforms like TikTok and Snapchat (NYSE: SNAP) through Reels and Stories, and updates its ad content accordingly to compliment the new features.

FDA Approves Moderna's Second mRNA Vaccine for RSV in Seniors

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday approved Moderna's (NASDAQ: MRNA) vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) for adults ages 60 and older, bringing the biotech's second product to the U.S. market. The federal health agency's approval is based on a late-stage clinical trial that showed the vaccine was 83.7% effective at preventing at least two symptoms of RSV at around three months, with new data demonstrating the shot's efficacy decline to 63% at nearly 9 months. The vaccine, to be marketed under the brand name mRESVIA, is the first messenger RNA vaccine to get FDA approval for a disease other than COVID. The shot is expected to help boost Moderna's revenue as it faces declining COVID vaccine sales in recent months. Moderna has previously said it expects to see sales growth in 2025 and to break even by 2026.

Bank of America CEO Says Consumers, Businesses are Now Cautious Towards Spending

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said during a conference held in New York on Thursday that U.S. consumers and businesses have become cautious towards spending due to higher-for-longer interest rates and price pressures. Households and small- to medium-sized businesses have slowed the rate of purchases for a broad array of goods, Moynihan said, highlighting that consumer spending facilitated by the bank has only grown by about 3.5% so far this year to roughly $4 trillion, compared to May 2023's growth rate of nearly 10% year-over-year. "Both of our customer bases [consumers and businesses] that have a lot to do with how the American economy runs are saying, 'You know what, I'm being careful, slowing things down," said Moynihan. Moreover, Moynihan noted that while business owners may be confident in their overall business, they have paused hiring and equipment or software purchases.

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