AI in Focus: Machine learning goes to Congress

Plus: Arm’s AI-powered flex.

Microsoft president Brad Smith
Microsoft president Brad Smith
Photo: Leah Millis (Reuters)

Hello, fellow humans! At Quartz, we’re finding that artificial intelligence is touching nearly every business topic we love to write about.

For several weeks, this Saturday edition of the Daily Brief catches you up on what we’re hearing about the rapidly changing world of AI and how it’s affecting sectors and companies around the globe. Got some questions about AI you’d like answered? Or just some AI hallucinations you’d like to share? Email us anytime. Enjoy!


Here’s what you need to know

US lawmakers met with tech leaders to talk AI... In a series of both hearings, both closed and open, the public sector grilled the private sector about accountability (more on that below).


…and about their human workers too. It takes a lot of human labor to label AI training data and review chatbot responses for safety and reliability. Now, nine tech giants are getting scrutinized by US senators over the working conditions for data labelers.

Back to Benioff. Just months after cutting 10% of its workforce, Salesforce is hiring 3,000 people as it bets on a business bump from AI. According to Bloomberg, CEO Marc Benioff is specifically looking to woo former Salesforce staffers who had gone on to work at places like Snowflake or Twilio.

Adobe’s sales outlook didn’t wow shareholders with AI stars in their eyes. Investors had hoped new generative AI tools and a corresponding price lift would really boost revenue.

OpenAI plans to hold its first developer conference on Nov. 6 in San Francisco. The ChatGPT maker looks to attract interest to its growing number of products, while facing blooming competition from other AI companies.


Silicon Valley to DC: Bring it on

Tech execs, including some not known for being especially welcoming of regulation, went to Washington this week. They met US lawmakers behind closed doors and in public hearings. Here’s a sampling of what they said:


🪪 “You can’t drive a car until you get a license; you can’t make the model or the application available until you pass through that gate.”—Microsoft president Brad Smith

🤝 “Safe and trustworthy AI will require multilateral and multi-stakeholder cooperation or it will not be effective.”—Nvidia chief scientist William Dally


☢️ “If someone takes us out as a civilization, all bets are off.”—Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk (as reported in the New York Times)

General consensus: AI regulation is necessary—so much so that a lot of them are willing to volunteer to regulate themselves before it becomes mandatory.


That’s a flex

British chip maker Arm began trading on Nasdaq this week, and jumped 25% in its debut session. At $54.5 billion, the IPO was the US’s biggest since Rivian’s in 2021. 


Arm’s big valuation and subsequent pop relied heavily on the potential might of its AI chips. (Receding fears of a US recession also helped.)

Arm’s not the only company expecting AI to boost demand for its wares (see Nvidia and its H100 chip). Read more about why this hardware is highly coveted by Microsoft, Google, and Tesla.


One slightly alarming reminder

Hold onto your campaign buttons and straw boater hats—presidential election season in the US is approaching. And this time around, advances in generative AI could make a big difference in how political propaganda influences the hearts and minds of voters.


Congress is discussing new legislation that would make it more clear when AI is being used in campaign ads, but Google is less stymied by bureaucracy. The tech giant is requiring any political ads on its platforms (that includes YouTube) to disclose prominently when it’s using AI to generate images or alter voices. It remains to be seen whether other platforms or broadcasters will follow suit, and how well they’ll be able to enforce their policies.

Other great AI reads from this week

🦵 Tencent’s ChatGPT clone has a linguistic leg up on ChatGPT

😬 Sam Altman is already nervous about what AI might do in elections

🔠 AI bots are so good at mimicking the human brain and vision that CAPTCHAs are useless


💱 Softbank lost $3 billion last quarter in spite of surging AI hype

🫢 The maker of ChatGPT took an AI detection tool offline because it was too inaccurate


🧑‍🏫 Every student will have their own AI tutor, according to Khan Academy’s founder

Ask an AI

Purely out of curiosity, we asked ChatGPT for help naming this special edition of the Daily Brief. AI in Focus was already our intended name, though it did take three human brains to come up with that (naming things is pretty difficult!). We were curious to see if ChatGPT could top it.


The sticking point here was puns. We wanted to see if Open AI’s language learning model could incorporate them. It kept trying to, but it couldn’t seem to do it without actually incorporating the word “pun.” Be glad you have humans running the show.

“AI and Profit-ability: Unraveling Business PUN-dits”

“PUNderstanding the AI-nnovation in Business”

“AI-telligent Ventures: PUNtastic Business Insights”

“The PUNultimate Guide to AI in Business”

“PUNder the Hood: Decoding AI’s Impact on Businesses” (don’t worry, we would never, ever have subjected you to that one)


Our best wishes for a very human day. Send any news, comments, PUNderful jokes, and AI tool name suggestions to Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s AI Daily Brief was brought to you by Michelle Cheng, Morgan Haefner, Susan Howson, Heather Landy, and Scott Nover.