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Facebook whistleblower reveals identity / Chip industry raises record investments / China releases AI ethics guidelines

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Facebook whistleblower reveals identity

Frances Haugen is the Facebook whistleblower instrumental in the leak of several internal documents that laid the foundation for a series of Wall Street Journal stories known as the "Facebook Files."

 Haugen worked as a product manager in Facebook's civic integrity team for two years and was hired to help protect against election interference.

The WSJ series included articles about Facebook's inaction after internal research revealed the platform's ill effects.

The WSJ reported that XCheck, a program meant as a quality control measure for high-profile accounts, instead shielded VIPs from some or all of the platform's rules.

It also revealed Instagram's research on its harmful effects on teenage girls. 

Haugen, who will be testifying before a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday, has sought federal whistleblower protection from the SEC. 

She also revealed that all 60,000 employees of Facebook had access to attorney-client privilege documents, presentations to Mark Zuckerberg, and internal research through an internal network called Facebook Workspace. 

On May 17, her last day at Facebook, Haugen typed a message on Facebook Workplace saying she loved Facebook and wanted to save it. 

Chip industry raises record investments

Global chip shortages and their effect on the automotive industry, in particular, have led to semiconductor startups raising record-level funding this year. 

According to a report by Crunchbase, global investments have surpassed $3.7B in 85 deals to date. 

U.S based semiconductor startups have raised $1.6B through 36 deals, a 33% increase when compared to last year ($1.2B) and a 133% increase compared to 2019 ($686M).

Investments have been focused on chip design and development startups that can create new, well-designed chips that will reduce the number of chips needed. 

Tech giants like Apple, Amazon, and Tesla have started to design and develop their own chips. 

Palo Alto-based SambaNova Systems raised a record-breaking $676M Series D round at a valuation of more than $5B in April. 

Separate but related: Consulting firm AlixPartners estimates that the global shortage will cost the automobile industry $210B in lost revenue this year. 

China releases AI ethics guidelines

China's AI governance committee has released the country's first ethical guidelines for governing AI. 

The guidelines by the committee, which was established in Feb. 2019 under the Ministry of Science and Technology, place emphasis on user rights and preventing risks, and align with Beijing's effort to crack down on Big Tech influence. 

Titled "New Generation Artificial Intelligence Ethics Specifications," the document says that its primary goal is to ensure that AI is always controlled by humans. 

The guidelines include five other basic principles for AI systems - controllable and trustworthy; improving human well-being; promoting fairness and justice; protecting privacy and safety; raising ethical literacy. 

They prohibit AI from getting involved in illegal activities and endangering national security, public security, or manufacturing security.  

The guidelines have been set with the aim of helping China AI developers make a major AI breakthrough by 2025 and becoming a global leader by 2030.

London-based fintech company Monzo said it has withdrawn its U.S. banking license application.

 In June, the app-based banking start-up attributed COVID-19 as a source of uncertainty in its ability to continue operating. 

Monzo began operating in the U.S. through a soft launch in June of 2019, without a full banking license.

In July, it was revealed the company was potentially facing an investigation by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority for civil and criminal money laundering. 

Monzo also disclosed a ~$181.7M loss for the 12 months to February. The company's valuation decreased by 40% to $1.7B.

A Monzo spokesperson said the company expects to explore other routes to the U.S. market.

Lynk announced it has demonstrated the ability for cell phones without any modifications to communicate directly with satellites. 

The company previously launched a 1-meter-by-1-meter satellite on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. 

Lynk’s services are only available for a few minutes a day, depending on latitude. The company aims to launch 100 satellites to an altitude of 500 km by 2023 to expand coverage to every 5 to 20 minutes.  

In 2020, Lynk sent an SMS message from a satellite to a mobile phone

The company seeks to prioritize the ability to send emergency messages with coordinates attached.

Lynk has partnerships with Alyv in the Bahamas and Telecel Centreafrique in the Central African Republic.

According to the start-up, its total addressable market is $400B, with 15% of coverage for the Asia Pacific comprising an addressable $167B.

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