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Breakfast Briefing: DeepMind Fears & Elizabeth Holmes Steps Down

 4 min read / 

DeepMind Health Raises Fresh Concerns

The AI company’s health services sparked fears that it could establish a monopoly.

Editor’s Remarks: A panel of administrators appointed by DeepMind itself has raised concerns that the company’s data-sharing arrangement with the UK’s NHS may lead to it “exert excessive monopoly power” over essential IT operations. The report pointed to the immense access to data enjoyed by DeepMind Health’s Streams app, which essentially inserts DeepMind between the NHS and third parties that may want to access that data in order to render their own services. In addition, the reviewers observed that there is a lack of clarity over precisely how DeepMind Health’s business model functions, which may lead to public suspicion of hidden profiteering.

Read more on Artificial Intelligence:

Elizabeth Holmes Steps Down

The disgraced entrepreneur stepped down as Theranos CEO after being charged with fraud.

Editor’s Remarks: Although Holmes settled civil charges filed against her by the SEC back in March, she now faces a fresh raft of 11 charges to both actual wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud against investors. Theranos’ former president Ramesh Balwani has also been indicted and its general counsel has stepped into Holmes’ shoes as temporary CEO. Theranos, which was once valued at $9bn, due to its supposedly revolutionary blood-testing kits, has resorted to laying off most of its staff in recent months as it teeters on the edge of bankruptcy.

Read more on Silicon Valley:

Labour Slams Corbyn’s Festival

Senior Labour officials are lamenting the cost of last weekend’s Labour Live festival.

Editor’s Remarks: Although the festival eventually drew a larger crowd than had been forecast, Labour resorted to offering deeply discounted tickets in order to fill the stadium at White Hart Lane. In the past few days, the party dropped prices from a hefty £35 to just £10 with the assistance of the Unite union after rumours that a measly 3,000 of the festival’s 20,000 tickets had sold. Amid potentially seven-figure losses, a number of senior Labour officials have questioned whether the money could have been better spent on campaigning for the next general election.

Read more on the UK:

Apple Partners with Oprah

Apple is launching a new content drive in partnership with chat media mogul Oprah Winfrey.

Editor’s Remarks: Precise details on the arrangement are scant but the deal is believed to be a multi-year partnership. Apple has been ratcheting up its efforts to generate high-quality TV shows and movies in order to keep up with rivals Netflix and Amazon, and has set aside $1bn for content creation. However, it is unclear whether the shows in Apple’s pipeline are to be released via its existing Apple TV and Apple Music products or a new service entirely. Meanwhile, Netflix recently signed a deal with Barack and Michelle Obama to produce a slew of content.

Read more on Big Tech:

The SEC Says Ether Is Not a Security

William Hinman, corporate finance director at the SEC, made the announcement last Friday.

Editor’s Remarks: The crypto world has taken the view that the SEC’s announcement is merely a confirmation that Ethereum is not currently in breach of any securities laws. Some jurists, however, feel that the SEC is shirking its responsibility and ought to have come down harder on ether and other cryptocurrencies. Somewhat confusingly, Hinman said that ether “may” have been a security in the past, which underlines the immense difficulty in regulating assets whose utility is shifting as blockchain technology develops. Ether jumped several percent on the news and is currently trading at $504.

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