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TOPIC: silicon valley

eyes on the U.S.

Eyes On U.S. — California, The World Is Worried About You

As an Italian bestseller explores why people are fleeing the Golden State, the international press also takes stock of unprecedented Silicon Valley layoffs. It may be a warning for the rest of the world.

-Analysis-

For as long as we can remember, the world has seen California as the embodiment of the American Dream.

Today, this dream may be fading — and the world is taking notice.

A peek at the Italian list of non-fiction best-sellers in 2022 includes California by Francesco Costa, a book that looks to explain why 340,000 people moved out of the state last year, causing a drop in its population for the first time ever.

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Why are all these people leaving a state that on paper looks like the best place in the world to live? Why are stickers with the phrase “Don't California my Texas” attached to the back of so many pick-up trucks?

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Hey ChatGPT, Are You A Google Killer? That's The Wrong Prompt People

Reports that the new AI natural-language chatbot is a threat to Google's search business fails to see that the two machines serve very different functions.

Since OpenAI unveiled ChatGPT to the world last November, people have wasted little time finding imaginative uses for the eerily human-like chatbot. They have used it to generate code, create Dungeons & Dragons adventures and converse on a seemingly infinite array of topics.

Now some in Silicon Valley are speculating that the masses might come to adopt the ChatGPT-style bots as an alternative to traditional internet searches.

Microsoft, which made an early $1 billion investment in OpenAI, plans to release an implementation of its Bing search engine that incorporates ChatGPT before the end of March. According to a recent article in The New York Times, Google has declared “code red” over fears ChatGPT could pose a significant threat to its $149-billion-dollar-a-year search business.

Could ChatGPT really be on the verge of disrupting the global search engine industry?

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Some Historical Context On The Current Silicon Valley Implosion

Tech billionaires such as Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have lost far more money this year than ever before. Eccentric behavior and questionable decisions have both played a role. But there are examples in U.S. business history that have other clues.

-Analysis-

BERLIN — Life isn’t always fair, especially when it comes to business. Although he had already registered dozens of patents, during the global economic crisis of the 1930s, tireless inventor Nikola Tesla found himself struggling to put food on the table. Sure, investors today associate his name with runaway wealth and business achievements rather than poverty and failure: Tesla, the company that was named after him, has made Elon Musk the richest man in the world.

Bloomberg estimates the 51-year-old’s current fortune to be $185 billion. While Musk is not a brilliant inventor like Nikola Tesla, many see him as the most successful businessperson of our century.

And yet, over the past month, many are beginning to wonder if Musk is in trouble, if he has spread himself too thin. Most obvious is his messy and expensive takeover of Twitter, which includes polarizing antics and a clear lack of a strategy.

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Eyes On U.S. — Something Broken In The Kingdom Of American Tech

PARIS — There’s a dual story about the U.S. tech scene circulating in the world’s media. The first is structural, about trendlines and economics as Silicon Valley’s all-powerful platforms and companies have seen their stocks tanking and announced large layoffs for the first time ever. The second storyline is about the big tech titans themselves.

No surprises, Twitter is still taking up extraordinary amounts of headline real estate. And it’s impossible to disentangle Twitter the company from its Very-Online new owner, as Elon Musk’s barrage of changes continue to cross new red-lines that could wind up threatening the viability of the company itself.

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Economy
Seshadri Kumar

Parag Agarwal & Co: Why India Should Stop Boasting About Twitter's New CEO

So a dozen of the top CEOs in the world (including heads of Google, Microsoft, IBM and now Twitter) come from a country with 18% of the world's population. But there are other numbers our overly proud fellow Indians should be running.

-Analysis-

NEW DELHI — An Indian recently became CEO of Twitter. I forget his name. Hold on, let me Google… Yes, Parag Agarwal. I’m not saying this for effect. I actually didn’t remember, and had to Google. Because it isn’t very important to me. Yes, that’s right. And you can read on to know why.

Agarwal is an IITian (graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay), apparently. Of course.

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Future
Emmanuel Grasland

How China Flipped From Tech Copycat To Tech Leader

Long perceived as a country chasing Western tech, China's business and technological innovations are now influencing the rest of the world. Still lagging on some fronts, the future is now up for grabs.

BEIJING — China's tech tycoons have fallen out of favor: Jack Ma (Alibaba), Colin Huang (Pinduoduo), Richard Liu (Tencent) and Zhang Yiming (ByteDance) have all been pressured by Beijing to leave their jobs or step back from a public role. Their time may be coming to an end, but the legacy remains exceptional. Under their reign, China has become a veritable window to the global future of technology.

TikTok is the perfect example. Launched in 2016, the video messaging app has been downloaded over two billion times worldwide. It has passed the 100-million active user mark in the United States. Thanks to TikTok's success, ByteDance, its parent company, has reached an exceptional level of influence on the internet.

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Sources
David Barroux

A French Survival Guide For The Coming A.I. Revolution

Countries like France can either prepare, and make research into artificial intelligence a national priority, or allow themselves to become digital colonies.

-Analysis-

PARIS — Not so long ago, going on a business trip to Silicon Valley meant catching a glimpse into the future of tech. These days, though, the future taking shape in California goes far beyond computer and smartphone manufacturers, software, and chip specialists. What's being hatched in the American West is no less than the world of tomorrow.

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LES ECHOS
Anais Moutot

Housing Crisis, Silicon Valley's Dark And Shiny Underbelly

SAN FRANCISCO — A billboard for a new housing complex being built in San Francisco caught people's attention last spring. Its sales-pitch slogan? "From the low 1,000,000s."

Some may have chuckled at the absurdity, but the price of the new units reflects the current reality of the market. The median price of a house in San Francisco is $1.13 million, an increase of 70% in five years, according to Zillow, a company that analyzes the real estate market. For renters, prices are outrageous too: You need almost $3,500 per month for a one-bedroom apartment, according to Zumper, another real estate firm.

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China
Hong Yuhan

Could Design Be The Next Frontier Of Innovation In China?

To understand why design is important, take a look at Silicon Valley.

Forty-two design firms in the U.S. technology hub have been bought up since 2004. About half these acquisitions were made this past year alone. The 25 startups that got the most venture capital financing were founded by designers.

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Economy
Gerhard Hegmann

Arianespace, A Clever European Challenger To SpaceX

European rocket company Arianespace doesn't get the attention of Elon Musk's U.S.-based upstart SpaceX, but its approach may be better equipped for the long haul.

EVRY-COURCOURONNES "They are cheaper and you are basically dead already." These were the kind of comments that Stéphane Israël had to endure two years ago in reference to the ongoing space race between Europe's Ariane rocket and the American-made SpaceX, both designed to transport satellites into space.

Arianespace, the well-established France-based global market leader versus the new kid on the block from California, headed by multi-billionaire Elon Musk, the man behind electric car manufacturer Tesla.

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Sources
Gilles Babinet*

The Era Of Constant And Open Innovation Is Upon Us

-OpEd-



How important is intellectual property in the digital age? Not very, if the business strategies of industry luminaries like PayPal's Elon Musk and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg are any indication.

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Geopolitics
Dominique Nora

The Pitfalls And Pioneers Of Transhumanism

Remember Gattaca? The superb film describes the contrasting fates of two brothers, one of whom was genetically optimized at birth. A few years later, in another movie, The Island, a community of prisoners discovers one day they are nothing but clones of super-privileged people and that their sole purpose is to provide fresh organs as a guarantee of immortality.

Excellent science-fiction novels and films are there to illustrate mankind's secular dream of transcending the limits of body and mind. But yesterday's science-fiction has become today's science and tomorrow's medicine. Cell therapies, bioprostheses, artificial organs and neural implants are now bursting into labs and hospitals.

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