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Ukraine shifts to an ‘active defence’ strategy after the failure of its summer counteroffensive as it prepares for a third year of war.
Thousands of pages of Jeffrey Epstein-related legal documents give voice to the women in Epstein’s world.
Stellantis boss Carlos Tavares has warned carmakers cutting electric vehicle prices too fast risk a “bloodbath” in the industry.
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Artificial intelligence has dominated conversations between political and business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week as questions are raised over the future of the burgeoning technology.
Who looks set to win the race? And on a spectrum from complete utopia to the robots stealing our jobs, just how much regulation will be required to rein in this technological innovation?
A survey published at the beginning of the week painted a gloomy picture about the potential threat of AI.
A quarter of global chief executives expect the deployment of generative artificial intelligence to lead to headcount reductions of at least 5 per cent this year, the survey found.
But by the end of the week everybody was talking about the potential of the French start-up Mistral. The scrappy nine-month-old company looks set to challenge what had become a two-way battle between Google and Microsoft-backed OpenAI.
The relative newcomer from France is doing “a great job” competing against sophisticated models made by large US companies, according to one US Big Tech executive.
But Mistral isn’t alone in taking on Google and OpenAI. Toronto-based start-up Cohere, which was founded by ex-Google scientists, is in talks to raise as much as $1bn in financing as investors race to back large language models, the FT revealed today.
The five-year-old company was co-founded by Aidan Gomez, Nick Frosst and Ivan Zhang. Cohere has become one of the three most high-profile artificial intelligence start-ups in North America alongside OpenAI and Anthropic.
Celebrities were also getting in on the act. Grammy-award winning rapper will.i.am may not be who you first think of as an AI commentator but at Davos this week, he passionately declared his belief that AI will “break down barriers” for people “who have nothing.”
One incredible innovation includes researchers’ hope that the same technology that is powering ChatGPT will allow us to begin to understand — and even speak — animal languages.
Google’s AI unit DeepMind used artificial intelligence to all but match the geometry problem-solving skills of the world’s brightest students. AlphaGeometry, the tech giant’s system, correctly answered 25 of 30 questions from the high school International Mathematical Olympiad, according to a paper published in Nature on Wednesday.
Others worry that artificial intelligence must be regulated closely to ensure commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion so language models and algorithms do not reflect existing prejudices and biases.
A somewhat frightening algorithm from Denmark might be able to predict mortality. Just as ChatGPT can mine language use to predict future sentences, life events can be mined to predict when a person might die.
Need to know: UK and Europe economy
British shoppers appear to have tightened their belts before Christmas as retail sales fell 3.2 per cent in December, according to the Office for National Statistics. This boosted hopes that the Bank of England may cut interest rates, lifting UK stocks.
UK prime minister Rishi Sunak has promised there is “more to come” on pre-election tax cuts and didn’t rule out the possibility of two Budgets ahead of this year’s general election.
Border disruption and risks to food supply chains look set to hit the UK ahead of the scheduled introduction of post-Brexit import checks on January 31, according to the Labour party.
Shares in the Danish shipping giant AP Møller-Maersk slipped 2.2 per cent on Friday, a day after it warned customers of a likely knock to operations due to winter weather in Europe and Red Sea disruption.
BASF, the world’s biggest chemical maker, missed forecasts as high energy prices dragged down sales and profits. BASF reported a 21 per cent fall in annual sales to €68.9bn, well below the expected range of €73bn to €76bn, because of falling prices for its chemicals amid lower demand.
Need to know: global economy
The US House of Representatives passed a short-term spending bill yesterday that will avert a partial government shutdown, extending spending at current levels for some federal agencies until March 1 and others until March 8.
JPMorgan Chase paid longtime chief executive Jamie Dimon $36mn in 2023, up about 4 per cent from the previous year. Dimon’s pay rise comes after a year in which the bank reported record profits of almost $50bn.
Houthi rebel attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea continue to cause chaos. China has called on “all relevant parties” to “ensure the safety of navigation” as analysts warn attacks in the crucial waterway threaten the world’s second-largest economy.
Meanwhile, the world’s third-biggest container shipping group CMA CGM said earlier today that some of its vessels are continuing to go through the Suez Canal but warned of scheduling chaos and that clients were worried.
International investors are losing faith that economic stimulus from Beijing is on the way as they sell off Chinese stocks, confounding predictions from US banks, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs that China’s stock market was primed for a recovery in 2024.
Need to know: business
Private equity executives are predicting a sharp increase in takeover activity as buyout firms that have held on to investments in the hope of higher prices finally begin to capitulate and sell some of their businesses.
Tata Steel plans to lay off about 2,800 workers as part of a major restructuring of its UK operations affecting its Port Talbot plant in south Wales.
Zara’s billionaire founder Amancio Ortega is seizing on the commercial property downturn as a chance to buy assets on the cheap as high borrowing costs hand the advantage to debt-free investors.
Changes in blood protein have been found in people suffering with long Covid, according to research published in the journal Science yesterday.
Coloured gemstones are defying the downturn in price for diamonds as consumers look past cheaper man-made stones towards more personalised jewellery.
Germany must act fast on nuclear fusion energy to grow its economy after renouncing the use of coal, nuclear power and Russian gas, according to the FT’s John Thornhill.
Urban planners are using supercomputers to create a virtual laboratory or ‘digital twin’ city to address issues such as climate change and traffic congestion.
Some good news
A lost city has been identified by archaeologists working with LiDar in the Amazon rainforest. Located in Ecuador’s Upano Valley, researchers identified 6,000 earthen platforms across an area of 100 square miles and divide the society’s works into 16 different settlements connected by a series of sophisticated roads.