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Zara Khan

Zara Khan is a seasoned investigative journalist with a focus on social justice issues. She has won numerous awards for her groundbreaking reporting and has a reputation for fearlessly exposing wrongdoing.

Yahoo Enhances News App and Introduces AI Summaries to Homepage

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Still, Yahoo has more AI plans in the works, including for its Yahoo News property on the web. However, while the Yahoo News app is taking learnings from Artifact when it comes to offering AI features, the AI summaries feature found on its Yahoo News is not related to its acquisition of the well-liked AI news app that had been created by Instagram’s founders, but had shut down after failing to reach a wider audience. That would explain why most visitors to the Yahoo News website would not have likely encountered these AI summaries as of yet. The code doesn’t reveal much about the underlying technology Yahoo is using for the AI summaries, only how they would appear to site visitors — in a lightbox, a type of web component used for displaying content. Combined with the Artifact-inspired revamp of Yahoo News and the AI features that arrived on Yahoo Mail, it’s clear that Yahoo is betting on AI to give its older web products and services a push.

Byju’s Fundraiser Stalls: Court Stops Second Rights Issue

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Byju’s had launched its first rights issue in late January, but a court order directed the company to not tap the funds it had raised through that rights issue after many of its investors opposed the fundraise. Thursday’s court order is the latest episode in the spectacular collapse of Byju’s, once the world’s most valuable edtech startup. TechCrunch couldn’t determine exactly how much Byju’s ended up raising in the first rights issue. In the letter, he urged his estranged investors to give him another chance and participate in the rights issue. “But my benchmark of success is the participation of all shareholders in the rights issue.

Concerns Arise About Inadequate AI Policy from Unreliable Congress, Says Helen Toner

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Earlier that same year, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which establishes federal technology standards, published a roadmap for identifying and mitigating the emerging risks of AI. But Congress has yet to pass legislation on AI — or even propose any law as comprehensive as regulations like the EU’s recently enacted AI Act. Colorado recently approved a measure that requires AI companies to use “reasonable care” while developing the tech to avoid discrimination. Consider this example: in many state laws regulating AI, “automated decision making” — a term broadly referring to AI algorithms making some sort of decision, like whether a business receives a loan — is defined differently. Toner thinks that even a high-level federal mandate would be preferable to the current state of affairs.

“State Your Success: Restate Secures $7M in Funding for Revolutionary Workflows-As-Code Solution”

The promise of Restate is that it is so fast and lightweight that it will allow developers to use it where traditional workflow systems would’ve been too slow and resource-intensive. The open-source platform Temporal, for example, offers a somewhat similar feature set, though the Restate team would likely argue that its system is faster and more lightweight. Virtually every modern application today consists of chains of workflows that are handled by a distributed set of services that have to reliably talk to each other. He believes this will make the service usable in situations where you’d not classically use a workflow engine — think e-commerce shopping carts, for example. “[Restate] does the classical workflows code things, just on an extremely lightweight foundation — and it goes a little further than just standard workflow use cases.

“Revitalizing Communities: Uniting Residential Solar Installers for Enhanced Quality and Expansion”

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But other bumps can be attributed to the quirks of the industry itself: It’s a labor intensive business that’s resistant to automation and heavily fragmented. It is crazier than many other services industries,” Lee Kesheshian, founder and CEO of Civic Renewables, told TechCrunch. To try to address the quality and consistency problem, Civic Renewables is buying small installers and rolling them up. “Now let’s go and put those systems in place under this umbrella.”Each company that Civic Renewables buys will retain its branding but append the umbrella organization’s name. Because solar has been around for a while, the business plan underpinning Civic Renewables could show a path for at least part of the climate tech market.

“Black Semiconductor from Germany Secures $273M in Funding for Revolutionary Graphene Chip Technology”

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Tech sovereignty has become a looming priority for a number of nations these days, and now a startup working in semiconductors has received a major boost in aid of that effort for Germany and Europe. The sum is one of the largest to date raised by a European startup working in semiconductors. Black is a spin-out from the University of Aachen co-founded by brothers Daniel and Sebastian Schall (respectively the CEO and CFO). The funding, a Series A, is important not just for its size but also because of the intention behind it. Porsche Ventures and Project A Ventures are co-leads, with participation from Scania Growth, Capnamic, Tech Vision Fonds, and NRW.BANK.

“Unfamiliar to DC’s political elite, Y Combinator sets its sights on changing their awareness”

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“So many folks in D.C. don’t actually know what it is,” he remarked. When Graham put out a call for startup applications, a dozen startups got into YC’s debut class. Lowe didn’t confirm where that was a strategy on Tan’s part, but he praised Tan for his warmness and his dedication. After educating the D.C. market, YC aims to leverage its influence, particularly in areas like competition policy. And if we don’t do that, then it’s pretty easy to see how this plays out,” Lowe said.

Insights from FTC Chair Lina Khan on the Agency’s AI Examination

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The U.S. Federal Trade Commission will examine the rise of AI technology across all fronts, said FTC Chair Lina Khan, speaking at TechCrunch’s StrictlyVC event in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. In fact, it’s already seeing an uptick in consumer complaint cases in some areas, like voice cloning fraud, Khan said. Asked what areas of AI the FTC was watching, Khan explained that it was everything. Of course, policing AI comes with its challenges, despite the number of technologists the FTC has hired to help in this area. Another area of focus for the FTC is the focus on what openness really means in the AI context, Khan explained.

Particle secures $10.9M in new funding and expands publishing partners for AI news reader

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Traffic is down, newsrooms are undergoing layoffs, and publishers fear that AI technologies will only make matters worse. Entering the fray, news reader startup Particle is teaming up with publishers to seek out a new business model for the AI era, where AI summaries of news don’t have to mean lost revenues. Now, the company is bringing its first publishing partners into the mix to help it guide its next steps. As a start, Particle now subscribes to Reuters newswire to help it deliver information about current events in the news. What Particle isn’t yet ready to reveal is its business model.

Masha Bucher, the Portfolio PR Monarch, Secures Massive $150M Fund

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The early-stage venture capital firm took a unique take on the industry by spearheading public relations for its portfolio companies. Through Fund I ($20 million) and Fund II ($50 million), the Silicon Valley firm’s portfolio has had 22 exits, including an IPO with Terran Orbital. It also has backed eight unicorns, including Superhuman, Remote, Worldcoin, Truebill (which exited to Rocket Companies in 2021) and DuckDuckGo. “When we connected, he was already the founder of three unicorns, which was quite surprising,” Bucher told TechCrunch. A year later, Bucher exited M&A PR Studio and started Day One Ventures.