Good Morning! Are you excited about what’s ahead? You should be.
Investors are bullish on Big Tech and went long on it for the 5th month in a row; that is massive.
Good news today for EV buyers as Tesla announced it is making cheaper versions of its Model X and S available. This signals that the price wars between EV makers are far from over.
Over at Netflix, the company wants to add video-game streaming to its offering, and OpenAI also wants to be known for more than ChatGPT. The AI company says its GPT-4 can be used for content moderation.
One group that might not be so excited about the future is the San Franciscans, who were tired of being caught in traffic jams caused by driverless cars. The city transport authority has permitted robotaxi companies Waymo and Cruise to operate paid rides 24/7.
Let’s get started. 🥁
MONEY MASTERY BRIEF
- Netflix Wants to be King of Content
- Tesla Cuts Prices and Adds New Partners to its Supercharger Networks
- San Francisco Approves 24/7 Operation of Robotaxis
- OpenAI Wants to be Your Content Moderator
🍿 Netflix to Add Video Game Streaming
Why limit yourself to TV shows and movies when there are other ways you can entertain users and make them stay? That must be the thinking behind Netflix’s decision to launch a test of its video game streaming service.
The biggest streamer and everyone’s favorite platform for K-Drama wants to keep its customers, and attract new ones. To achieve this, it has decided to go for the biggest entertainment sector, gaming.
According to its announcement, the video game streaming service will be available to select subscribers in Canada and the United Kingdom.
They can play games via Macs, PCs, and compatible TVs. The mouse and trackpad will be controllers for those using PCs and MAC; TV players can use their phones. For now, only Oxenfree and Molenhew’s Mining Adventure are available. But Netflix plans to add more in the future.
The gaming sector alone is worth more than the combined movie, TV, and music industries. So, it is understandable why Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) is interested. The steamer already offers several mobile games, and getting into game streaming represents the next level.
But it won’t be an easy road as Netflix would have to compete with the likes of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Sony (NYSE:SONY), Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA), and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). Google once tried its hands on cloud gaming with Google Stadia, but the story ended poorly.
The question is, can Netflix succeed where Google failed?
⚡️ Tesla Cutting Prices and Gaining Partners
The Electric Vehicle sector is never dull; this week was no different. Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) fired another shot in price wars between EV makers by revealing cheaper versions of its Model S and Model X vehicles.
Ironically, the cars are still too expensive on an average salary.
These new versions – Model S Standard Range and Model X Standard Range – are $10,000 cheaper than the regular models. They also have a lower range due to Tesla locking a percentage of the battery through software.
Although Tesla won’t say, it seems the company plans to release a paid software update later for users who want full range.
Nothing is free, not even price cuts.
Tesla cutting prices mean it is prioritizing selling more cars over making profits. But the company might recoup some of its losses through other EV makers joining its supercharger network. Ask any iPhone user, and they will tell you how important fast charging is.
Another EV manufacturer Fisker (NYSE:FSR), has joined the supercharger network. It joins the likes of GM, Ford, Mercedes, Rivian, and others. Tesla’s network of over 12,000 superchargers has become the darling of EV makers, making their charging ports compatible with the Tesla standard.
Even Ford CEO Jim Farley recently disclosed his first-hand experience of slow charging, and trust us; he did not look pleased. He even said it is proof of the importance of its partnership with Tesla. Ford and the other car makers will have access to the network by 2024, but Fisker will have to wait until 2025.
Speaking for all Fisker owners, we ask, why…
🚕 San Francisco Will See More Robotaxis
Residents of San Francisco will see more self-driving cars after Waymo and Cruise got approval from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to operate paid rides 24/7 in the city. This comes despite the increased opposition from other agencies in the city as well as residents.
Although companies already offered limited service in the city, the permit allows them to expand their services significantly and have more robotaxis on the road. According to the CPUC, it does not expect the robotaxis to cause any major safety risks. Google-owned Waymo and GM-owned subsidiaries welcome the approval.
While the idea of driverless cars might seem lovely, not every San Francisco resident wants them. In fact, there were major oppositions to the permit, causing CPUC to postpone the vote initially. Criticisms include lack of accessibility for people with disabilities, discrimination against the unbanked and digitally illiterate, and sometimes irrational behaviors of these cars.
Speaking of irrational behaviors, several robotaxis from Cruise created a 20-minute traffic jam a day after the approval. Videos shared on X, formerly Twitter, show several Cruise cars stationary with their hazard lights on, causing other human-driven cars to stop. Cruise blamed it on the Outside Lands festival, saying it led to “wireless bandwidth constraints causing delayed connectivity to our vehicles.”
🤖 OpenAI Wants to Moderate Content with GPT-4
Students might be using ChatGPT for assignments and avoiding the difficult work of research, but OpenAI has more lofty goals for its AI models. The leading AI company disclosed that it had developed a way to use its GPT-4 for content moderation.
In a post on its blog, the company explained that it could prompt GPT-4 with content moderation policies and train it with examples. OpenAI claims this can be more efficient in rolling out new content moderation policies and offer a better approach to content moderation than what other startups offer.
But this sounds more like a sales pitch than the absolute truth. AI has been used for content moderation for years, and several startups offer automated content moderation services. But they all still have imperfections due to human biases inherent in their data.
Even OpenAI admits this.
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“I’m not ready to say that we’re done, but I’m seeing positive signs that we may be on our way”
– Neel Kashkiri, Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President.
This is likely the coolest way to say, “we will still raise rates,” even though it is already at the highest level in over two decades. Kashkiri said he finds recent data on inflation encouraging. But he needs convincing evidence that inflation will return to the 2% target before supporting keeping the rates steady.
You might want to keep that money you saved for celebratory champagne; the coast is not clear.
$14 million – That is how much money Meta (NASDAQ:META) board of directors voted to allocate for the security of Mark Zuckerberg and his family annually.
Given that he holds a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and has been training with kickboxers, he might not need that much next year.
Mastercard (NYSE:MA) will buy a minority stake in the fintech division of Africa’s largest telco MTN Group (JSE:MTN). MTN values the fintech division at $5.2 billion, and the company disclosed in its half-year financial performance statement that the agreement would be finalized soon as it is in the final stages of due diligence. Full story
Vietnamese EV manufacturer VinFast (NASDAQ:VFS) debuted on the NASDAQ stock exchange at a higher valuation than General Motors (NYSE:GM) and Ford (NYSE:F). The company, which has not made a profit, saw its shares trade at $37. This gave it a valuation of $85 billion, far above GM’s $46 billion and Ford’s $48 billion. Full story
Anthropic, the startup behind ClaudeAI, has raised $100 million in funding from SK Telecom (NYSE:SKM), the biggest telco in South Korea. This comes three months after the startup raised $450 million in its Series C funding round led by Spark Capital. Former OpenAI leaders founded Anthropic. Full Story
ElectraMeccanica (NASDAQ:SOLO), the company behind the 3-wheeled Solo EV, has merged with EV truck manufacturer Tevva. This suggests that the company is pivoting its business model to focus on trucks as it struggles for profitability with the small EVs. ElectraMeccanica shares increased 19% after the news. Full story
PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL) has announced Alex Chriss as its new CEO. Chriss was in charge of Intuit’s Small Business and Self-Employed group. He joins PayPal when the stock is struggling, and investors will hope he can turn the fortunes of the payment company around. Full story
Electrify America is backing a 75-megawatt solar farm in Southern California. The Volkswagen (ETR:VOW3) owned EV charger entered a 15-year virtual power purchase agreement with Terra-gen. The company had earlier said it would add Tesla superchargers to its network by 2025. Full story
Theoretical Physicist Michio Kaku believes artificial intelligence is a glorified tape recorder. The City College of New York professor said this in an interview with CNN, noting that fears about AI only take snippets of information from the internet and pass it off as if it created it. Full story
For the fifth consecutive month, Long Big Tech remains the most crowded trade, with a significant increase of 60%. One thing is sure; everyone is betting on Big Tech recording further gains this year.
It has been a wonderful week for Waymo and Cruise as the self-driving car companies got permits to operate paid robotaxi services 24/7 in San Francisco. Driverless cars have been around for a while, but San Francisco is still one of the few cities where they can operate without a human driver on standby.
Some people believe they are the future of ride-hailing. But there have been many snags, and the opposition is unlikely to end soon.
Do you think driverless cars are the future? 🔮
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