The AI generation (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
The AI generation (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Step aside, space camp. Creator camps are opening across America, letting influencer-aspiring kids spend their summers learning how to storyboard YouTube skits, edit vlogs, and basically become the next MrBeast.
The S&P 500 (barely) hung on to its win streak yesterday. Fed Chair Powell didn’t discuss monetary policy at his conference appearance, but investors are watching to see whether he drops any rate hints during a panel today. Last night, the actors’ union agreed to a deal with Hollywood studios.
Political imposter syndrome… As next year’s US presidential election ramps up, lawmakers have sounded the alarm about deepfakes in political ads. Generative AI has become more accessible (and sophisticated) than ever, while political ad spend is ballooning — projected to eclipse $10B for 2024. Yesterday, Microsoft and Meta rolled out new tools and policies around genAI and election advertising.
Disclosing time: Meta said that political advertisers on FB and Insta will be required to disclose the use of AI or potentially face penalties. Google announced a similar rule in September.
Not-a-bot: Microsoft, which owns nearly half of OpenAI, is offering politicians a tool that it says will authenticate photos and videos with a traceable digital watermark. It also endorsed a bipartisan bill that seeks to ban deceptive genAI election content.
Warning signs: A recent poll suggested that nearly 60% of US adults think AI tools will fuel more misinfo in the ’24 election.
It’s not a prediction… Deepfake ads are already here. This spring an ad for the Republican National Committee depicting a vision of President Biden’s reelection showed dystopian AI-built images. In June, Gov. DeSantis’ campaign posted a video with doctored images of former President Trump hugging Anthony Fauci. Also: social-media users have used AI misinfo to go viral (recall: Midjourney images of Trump being arrested). Catching misinfo before it spreads isn’t easy. And researchers have found that watermarking tech like Microsoft’s can be manipulated to falsely authenticate AI images.
Conflicting interests create messy solutions… Some lawmakers think that relying on tech companies like Meta, Microsoft, and Google — all heavily invested in AI — for regulation and enforcement is less than ideal. It’s why the Federal Election Commission moved toward regulating political deepfakes ahead of the next election, and why Biden released an exec order on AI guardrails.
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Back to the spray shop… Shares of gaming giant Take-Two jumped 5% yesterday after it confirmed the upcoming launch of “Grand Theft Auto 6.” The Take-Two-owned production house Rockstar said GTA 6’s official trailer will drop next month, and the game’s release date is rumored to be as early as next year. The GTA franchise, which debuted in 1997, has sold 400M+ copies. The most recent installment, GTA 5, was released in 2013, and still ranks as the second-best-selling game of all time after Microsoft’s “Minecraft.”
Bonus point: Take-Two also reported earnings yesterday, meeting expectations. While net bookings fell in the quarter, the results were overshadowed by GTA hype.
The GTA effect… Take-Two suffered the biggest leak in gaming history last year after a hacker posted 90 unreleased clips from GTA 6, but it hasn’t killed the excitement. Fans (and investors) have waited a decade for #6. Anticipation has been fueled by GTA’s rep of top-notch graphics and massive open-world gameplay. Last year, Rockstar cashed in on its popular GTA online multiplayer community by launching a $6/month GTA+ subscription. Take-Two said GTA 5 outperformed last quarter, and expects more GTA+ subs next year.
The game’s never really over… when fans keep playing. Take-Two doesn’t need to constantly crank out new titles: it’s leaned on its GTA profit puppy for decades. Similarly, Activision’s “Call of Duty” fan base has embraced each release since its 2003 debut, keeping it one of the top 10 best-selling game franchises. While the GTA 6 release date is unconfirmed, Take-Two suggested it’s expecting some record results next year.
💵 When you keep your $$ in a home safe…
Crypto owners can store their assets on exchanges like Coinbase or “self-custody” their crypto (aka: stash it in a wallet only they control). One self-custody advantage: no need to worry about an exchange like FTX collapsing and taking your hard-earned crypto with it. One disadvantage: no password resets if you lose access. Binance, the largest exchange by trading volume, just released its first self-custody wallet. While Binance has steadily lost market share this year, the wallet could draw more traders to its ecosystem.
Growblox: Roblox shares jumped 11% after the tween-fave gaming platform reported expectation-beating sales as users grew 20% last quarter. After a dip last year, gaming is on the rise.
Budeye: Ohio became the 24th state to legalize recreational cannabis, more than a decade after CO and WA made the leaf legal. The Buckeye State’s market is projected to be worth $1.5B+ in its first year.
Brainy: Elon Musk’s Neuralink is looking for a volunteer to get its chip implanted in their brain. The controversial biz has raised $500M+ as it seeks to build a mass-market brain computer.
Table: Chinese President Xi is set to have dinner with top US CEOs during his visit to San Francisco next week. Chinese investment in the US sank last year as trade tensions heated up between the two countries.
Bibbidi: Disney beat earnings expectations as parks kept thriving and Disney+ added 7M subs (for ~150M total). While streaming losses narrowed, the Mouse House is cutting $7B in costs as TV ad revenue falls for legacy media cos.
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Authors of this Snacks own shares of: Alphabet, Disney, and Microsoft