Thursday, April 18, 2024

Morning business headlines: Dec. 6, 2023

by BIZ Magazine

Europe was set to lead the world on AI regulation. But can leaders reach a deal?

LONDON (AP) — The generative AI boom has sent governments worldwide scrambling to regulate the emerging technology. It’s also raised the risk of upending a European Union push to approve the world’s first comprehensive artificial intelligence rules. The 27-nation bloc’s Artificial Intelligence Act has been hailed as a pioneering rulebook, but it’s uncertain if the EU can thrash out a deal Wednesday before time runs out. Europe’s yearslong efforts to draw up AI guardrails have been bogged down by the emergence of generative AI systems like OpenAI’s ChatGPT. If a deal isn’t reached this week, negotiators will be forced to pick it up next year and it could go in a different direction.

Google ups the stakes in AI race with Gemini, a technology trained to behave more like humans

Google took its next leap in artificial intelligence Wednesday with the launch of project Gemini, an AI model trained to behave in human-like ways that’s likely to intensify the debate about the technology’s potential promise and perils. The rollout will unfold in phases, with less sophisticated versions of Gemini called “Nano” and “Pro” being immediately incorporated into Google’s AI-powered chatbot Bard and its Pixel 8 Pro smartphone.

The West has sanctioned Russia’s rich. But is that really punishing Putin and helping Ukraine?

VERONA, Italy (AP) — Western officials say sanctions against Russia’s billionaires are meant to isolate President Vladimir Putin, choke off support for his war and turn powerful business allies against him. But in the 20 months since the invasion, only a handful of sanctioned businessmen have spoken out against him. And while the White House has proposed seizing tycoons’ assets in some circumstances, only $5.4 million of $58 billion in frozen private assets has gone to Kyiv. With growing concerns about the future of Western support, former diplomats and analysts suggest a new approach to sanctions is needed — one that not only splits the tycoons from Putin’s Russia but also generates more funds for Ukraine.

Under Putin, the uber-wealthy Russians known as ‘oligarchs’ are still rich but far less powerful

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — When Vladimir Putin came to power in 2000, the outside world viewed “Russian oligarchs” as men who whose vast wealth, ruthlessly amassed, made them almost shadow rulers. The term has persisted well into Putin’s rule, broadening in popular usage to refer to almost any Russian with a substantial fortune. How much political power any of Russia’s uber-rich now wield, however, is doubtful. In the summer of 2000, Putin met in the Kremlin with about two dozen of the men regarded as the top oligarchs. Although the meeting was closed, reports later said he made them a sternly clear deal: Stay out of politics and your wealth won’t be touched.

Big bank CEOs warn that new regulations may severely impact economy

NEW YORK (AP) — The heads of the nation’s biggest banks say there are reasons to be concerned about the health of U.S. consumers _ particularly poor and low-income borrowers _ in their annual appearance in front of Congress on Wednesday. The CEOs of JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and five other large firms also took the opportunity to impress upon senators that the Biden Administration’s new proposed regulations for the industry may hurt the U.S. economy going into an election year and at a time when a recession is possible.

Bank of England will review the risks that AI poses to UK financial stability

LONDON (AP) — The Bank of England says it will make an assessment next year about the risks posed by artificial intelligence and machine learning. In its half-yearly Financial Stability Review, the bank said Wednesday that it’s getting advice about the potential implications stemming from the adoption of AI and machine learning in the financial services sector. Admitting that he is “palpably not” an expert on AI, bank Gov. Andrew Bailey says the new technologies have “tremendous potential” and are not simply “a bag of risks.” There’s a global race to figure out how to regulate AI as concerns have risen about possible dangers from the developing technology.

China raises stakes in cyberscam crackdown in Myanmar, though loopholes remain

BANGKOK (AP) — China has intensified a crackdown on online scams operated in border areas of Myanmar. The drive has been showcased by confession videos and national TV broadcasts of arrests of high-profile suspects. But the drive is confined to a limited area and appears unlikely to root out the criminal syndicates operating the human trafficking and other illicit activities of those running the scams that cheat people of their savings via phone calls and online schemes. Such schemes are thought to generate tens of billions of dollars in revenue a year. Experts say the crackdown, concentrated on two special zones close to China’s border with military-ruled Myanmar, will hinder but probably not stop the scammers’ operations.

A British financier sought for huge tax fraud is extradited to Denmark from UAE

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A Dubai-based British hedge fund trader sought by Danish authorities for allegedly orchestrating a $1.7 billion tax fraud, considered one of the largest in the Scandinavian country, has been extradited from the United Arab Emirates. Financier Sanjay Shah was convicted in May in Dubai of masterminding a scheme that ran from 2012 to 2015 in which foreign businesses pretended to own shares in Danish companies and claimed tax refunds for which they were not eligible. A court in the United Arab Emirates had cleared his extradition.

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