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Google lays off employees, Tesla terminates its Supercharger team and UnitedHealthcare exposes security vulnerabilities

Welcome, folks, to Week in Review (WiR), TechCrunch’s regular newsletter summarizing the week of tech. This issue is a bit bittersweet for me – it will be my last (at least for a while). Soon I’ll be turning my attention to a new AI-focused newsletter that I’m very excited about. Stay tuned!

Now on to the news: This week Google laid off employees from its Flutter, Dart and Python teams Weeks before the annual I/O developer conference. In total, 200 people were laid off from Google’s “core” teams, which included those who worked on app platforms and other technical functions.

Elsewhere, Tesla boss Elon Musk fired the company’s team responsible for monitoring its Supercharger network in a new round of layoffs — despite recently winning over major automakers like Ford and General Motors. The cuts are so sweeping that Musk suggested in an email that Tesla would be forced to slow the expansion of its Supercharger network.

And Andrew Witty, CEO of UnitedHealthcare, told a House subcommittee that the ransomware gang that hacked US healthcare technology giant Change Healthcare – the subsidiary of UnitedHealthcare – used a set of stolen credentials to access Change Healthcare systems that were not protected by multi-factor authentication. Last week, UnitedHealthcare said the hackers stole health data on a “significant portion of the people of America.”

A lot of other things happened. We recap everything in this issue of WiR – but first a reminder Log in to receive the WiR newsletter in your inbox every Saturday.

News

Hallucinations, hallucinations: OpenAI is facing another data protection complaint in the EU. This one – submitted by a nonprofit privacy rights organization noyb on behalf of an individual complainant – targets the inability of its AI chatbot ChatGPT to correct misinformation it generates about individuals.

Just walk out… from Sam’s Club: Sam’s Club customers who pay either at checkout or through the Scan & Go mobile app can now leave the store without having to re-inspect their purchases. The technology, revealed demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, has now been deployed at 20% of Sam’s Club locations.

TikTok circumvents Apple rules: TikTok presents some users with a link to a website to purchase the coins used to tip digital creators on the platform. Typically, these coins must be purchased via an in-app purchase – which requires paying a 30% commission to Apple – suggesting that TikTok may be trying to circumvent Apple’s App Store rules.

NIST’s GenAI platform: The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the U.S. Department of Commerce agency that develops and tests technologies for the U.S. government, businesses, and the general public, has launched NIST GenAI, a new program to assess generative AI technologies. Technologies including text and image generating AI.

Getir draws out: Getir, the fast trading giant, has pulled out of the US, UK and Europe to focus on its home country of Turkey. The company — once valued at nearly $12 billion — said the move would impact thousands of job and full-time employees.

analysis

In the “Cold War” of the tech stars: Dom’s brilliant reporting reveals a year of financial losses and staff cuts at startup accelerator Techstars, whose CEO Maëlle Gavet has been a controversial force for change.

AI-powered coding: With kind regards, we’re taking a look at Copilot Workspace, a sort of evolution of GitHub’s AI-powered coding assistant Copilot into a more general-purpose tool – building on recently introduced features like Copilot Chatwhich allows developers to ask questions about code in natural language.

Autonomous car racing: Tim Stevens looks at the racing event in Abu Dhabi that pitted a self-driving car against a Formula 1 driver.

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