Wednesday, February 21, 2024
HomeAi in GamingIt's no AI hallucination. San Francisco streets are suddenly clean.

It’s no AI hallucination. San Francisco streets are suddenly clean.

Hi there! Senior tech reporter Kylie Robison here filling in for David. This week, San Francisco is expecting a bit of rain and about 20,000 foreign dignitaries.

The APEC summit has descended upon the city, creating an extensive security perimeter around the Moscone event center and prompting the shutdown of multiple city blocks in anticipation of the imminent arrival of nearly two dozen global leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and China’s President Xi Jinping. There’s also a lineup of tech executives in attendance, including Elon Musk, Marc Benioff, Sam Altman, Satya Nadella, Sundar Pichai, and many more.

APEC, short for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, serves as a stage for fostering trade, investment, and economic development among nations encircling the Pacific Ocean. The group consists of 21 “economies,” including China, Russia, Japan, the U.S., and Australia, representing nearly 40% of the global population and almost half of the world’s trade.

Amidst the star-studded spectacle, tech leaders have been quick to highlight the remarkable cleanliness San Francisco achieved just ahead of the event.


“Does seem crazy that the zombie apocalypse can be cleaned up for an important visitor, but not for those who live there and pay for everything!” Musk tweeted on Monday.

“San Francisco can be the cleanest, safest, most beautiful, and incredible city in the world instantly.  It happened for Dreamforce and it’s happening again for APEC,” Benioff posted.

It’s not exactly groundbreaking for a bustling city to tidy up before a significant event like this. Take Paris, for instance, which is undertaking a $1.5 billion project to cleanse the Seine in anticipation of the 2024 Olympic Games, a river that Parisians have been forbidden to swim in for a century because it was just that gross. For San Francisco’s part, the city has swept homeless encampments, confiscated carts from street food vendors lacking proper permits, and temporarily shuttered select restaurants in Chinatown due to health code infractions, according to SFGate.

“I know folks say, ‘Oh, they’re just cleaning up this place because all those fancy leaders are coming into town.’ That’s true because it’s true,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a press conference. “But it’s also true [that], for months and months and months prior to APEC, we’ve been having different conversations. And we’ve raised the bar of expectation between the city, the county, and the state, and our federal partners as well that we all have to do more and do better.” 

The “beautification” isn’t exactly perfect, either. SFGate also reported that the city couldn’t afford special shelters for APEC, raising concerns about where displaced people will go (but they have opened a 30-spot nighttime shelter for winter and are trying to make existing shelters bigger).

While officials scramble to clean up the streets of the world’s “number one AI city,” the APEC summit offers a platform for showcasing the strides made by some of the nation’s biggest tech companies. There’s a panel featuring OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, and Google and Meta executives, moderated by Laurene Powell Jobs, likely to boast the city’s role in the ongoing AI revolution, the SF Standard reported, and an interview between Benioff and Musk on “the future.”

None of us, the tax-paying residents Musk points at, are oblivious to the exceptional nature of this week’s events. It’s yet to be seen if the city is able to keep up with the sparkly facade it created this week, and more importantly, support its growing homeless population, all while deftly capitalizing on the opportunities the AI boom presents.

As the rain falls and the dignitaries descend, I’ll be staying home. With all the problems these billionaires complain about, they’ve created more traffic than I care to navigate.

Kylie Robison

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NEWSWORTHY

New Slack CEO. It was only 11 months ago that Slack’s founding CEO, Stewart Butterfield, said he was leaving the company, to be replaced by Lidiane Jones. But now that Jones has jumped ship to take the top job at dating app Bumble, Slack will once again get a new CEO. The new boss, Denise Dresser, will be the third CEO since Slack was acquired by Salesforce in 2020. Like Jones, Dresser is a longtime Salesforce insider, having most recently served as Salesforce president of “accelerated industries.”

Amazon gaming layoffs. Amazon is eliminating about 180 jobs in its video gaming group, marking the second round of layoffs in the games unit this year, according to Reuters and gaming tech site Aftermath. Amazon’s games group offers downloadable versions of popular games as well as games available to members of Amazon Prime. An Amazon executive said in an internal note that the move will allow the company to focus on its Prime games. 

Red ink for Trump’s Truth app. The Twitter-inspired social network started by former President Donald Trump has not been much of a money maker. Truth Social, the name of the service, has lost $73 million since its launch in early 2022, according to a recent filing by Digital World Acquisitions Corp, the special purpose vehicle that plans to merge with Truth Social. 

SIGNIFICANT FIGURES

36%

The portion of Google’s total search advertising revenue generated in Apple’s Safari web browser that Google shares with Apple. The figure was disclosed accidentally on Monday by University of Chicago professor Kevin Murphy during his testimony as an expert witness at the Justice Department’s antitrust trial against Alphabet.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

The anti-hate group that Elon Musk sued released a new report alleging inaction on racist tweets: ‘We will not be cowed by bullies, by Rachyl Jones

The actors union secured a $120 million in streaming bonuses for members and forced Netflix and studios to open their black box of data, by Paolo Confino

How AI helped Orangetheory’s legal team complete a 6-month project in half the time: ‘It’s straightforward math to see the cost savings’, by Trey Williams

Elon Musk’s X is ‘not really a great source of truth’, says Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, by Massimo Marioni

BEFORE YOU GO

Google has sued two Vietnamese nationals who it claims “weaponized” the web domain copyright violation process to falsely flag thousands of competitors and block them from Google search results. According to the lawsuit, the pair sent bogus DMCA takedown notices for more than 117,000 URLs. According to a report in PC Mag, the duo pretended to represent celebrities like Taylor Swift and Elon Musk, as well as companies like Amazon. As a result of the duo’s chicanery, Google says more than 100,000 business websites were blocked, costing the businesses millions of dollars.  



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Leah Sirama
Leah Sirama
Leah Sirama, a lifelong enthusiast of Artificial Intelligence, has been exploring technology and the digital realm since childhood. Known for his creative thinking, he's dedicated to improving AI experiences for all, making him a respected figure in the field. His passion, curiosity, and creativity drive advancements in the AI world.
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