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The pope talked to world leaders about AI...
June 15, 2024 View Online | Sign Up | Shop

Morning Brew

FinanceBuzz

Good morning. Is the United States a cricket powerhouse? Many are saying yes after the USA advanced to the Super 8 stage of the T20 World Cup yesterday. It was a little anticlimactic—the US advanced because their game against Ireland was washed out in rainy Florida—but it’s still a historic moment since this is the first T20 World Cup the US has competed in and the first time it’s cohosting a major cricket tournament.

Next up for the American team: a match against South Africa next Wednesday. Plenty of time to learn the rules before then.

—Matty Merritt, Molly Liebergall, Sam Klebanov, Abby Rubenstein, Neal Freyman

MARKETS

Nasdaq

17,688.88

S&P

5,431.60

Dow

38,589.16

10-Year

4.213%

Bitcoin

$65,994.67

Adobe

$525.31

Data is provided by

*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 6:00pm ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: If you’re keeping score: The Nasdaq nabbed its fifth-straight record close yesterday, but the S&P 500 snapped its four-day streak. Both were up for the week as investors digested data that showed inflation cooling. Adobe became the latest company to soar thanks to AI, spiking after delivering better-than-expected earnings and forecasts.
 

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

The pope has a lot to say about AI

Pope speaking at G7 summit. Picture Alliance/Getty Images

The most talked-about part of the G7 summit wasn’t this year’s weird family photo of world leaders. It was the special guest: Pope Francis. The pope spoke at the event in Italy yesterday, warning about the dangers of losing control of artificial intelligence.

Francis, the first pontiff to speak to the Group of Seven, told the politicians they must set up safeguards for AI development. He urged the leaders present to make sure humans aren’t doomed “to depend on the choices of machines,” explicitly calling for a ban on lethal autonomous weapons.

He’s not just upset about the Midjourney-created Pope Drip

Pope Francis and the Vatican (which has an AI expert on staff) have been vocal critics of AI for some time. Francis gave a speech in December calling for an international treaty on developing and using the technology ethically.

And Silicon Valley isn’t brushing him off. The Vatican developed guidelines for AI creation in 2020 called the “Rome Call for AI Ethics,” and they’ve been signed by Microsoft, IBM, Cisco Systems, Italy’s innovation ministry, and several other religious leaders.

Silicon Valley and the Catholic Church both have something to gain

Historically, the church has had a fraught relationship with scientific advancement but is working to shake what some consider its more outdated opinions to keep up with the times. It has its work cut out for it. This week, Italian news sources reported that the 87-year-old pope used an Italian slur for gay men in a private meeting for the second time.

Meanwhile, large tech companies have roughly negative 1 trillion morality points in much of the public’s and government’s eyes, something teaming up with religious leaders could help. Despite the potential positives of AI advancement in fields like medicine, the overwhelming fears of job replacement and supercharged inequalities mean the technology needs some good PR.

Big picture: Governing bodies are just ramping up AI guardrails. The UN passed its first resolution about AI safety in March.—MM

   

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WORLD

Tour de headlines

A bump stock George Frey/Getty Images

SCOTUS nixes bump stock ban. In a 6–3 decision, the high court struck down a federal ban on bump stocks, accessories that help guns fire more rapidly. The conservative majority found that regulators went beyond their authority in banning the devices following their use in a 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting under a law covering machine guns—even though they allow semiautomatic weapons to fire at a machine gun-like rate. “A bump stock does not convert a semiautomatic rifle into a machine gun any more than a shooter with a lightning-fast trigger finger does,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority.

Kate Middleton to make first public appearance since cancer diagnosis. The Princess of Wales said she plans to attend today’s military parade for King Charles III’s birthday, marking her first royal appearance since being diagnosed with cancer following abdominal surgery in January. Middleton, who is undergoing chemotherapy, said she is “not out of the woods yet” but that she is “making good progress” and has “good days and bad days.”

Microsoft delays controversial AI feature. Facing concerns about privacy and security, Microsoft now plans to ship its Copilot+ PC without Recall AI, a feature that screenshots everything you do on the computer. Bowing to people who maybe don’t want to be watched quite that closely every time they surf the web, Microsoft last week announced changes, including making Recall opt-in and encrypting its database. Now, it’s also rolling the feature out to a smaller group of users first rather than putting it on all its new AI-powered machines.

MEDIA

Alex Jones can keep Infowars in business

Alex Jones Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A federal bankruptcy judge ruled yesterday that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has to sell his personal assets to cover the defamation debts he owes to the families of Sandy Hook shooting victims but dismissed his company’s bankruptcy, leaving Jones free to operate his Infowars platform for now.

Jones was ordered to pay $1.5 billion in damages in two 2022 verdicts. After repeatedly claiming that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax, Jones was successfully sued by 15+ family members, who testified about the trauma his statements caused them and the threats and harassment they faced from people who believed him. Jones filed for bankruptcy soon after.

Yesterday’s ruling granted Jones’s recent request to convert his personal Chapter 11 filing to a Chapter 7 liquidation, but rebuffed a bid by some families to liquidate the parent company of Infowars, Free Speech Systems, which declared bankruptcy when Jones did (a liquidation Jones opposed). The judge instead threw out the company’s bankruptcy, saying that would better serve its creditors.

Is the math mathing? Jones’s assets are worth ~$9 million, per recent court filings, and liquidating Free Speech Systems would only have turned up an additional ~$7.2 million, the AP reported. But the families are also entitled to Jones’s future earnings…which he can continue to accumulate through Infowars.—ML

   

TOGETHER WITH AURA HEALTH

Aura Health

The next “Spotify” of wellness? Led by Forbes 30 Under 30 founders on a personal mission to help their mother, Aura has wasted no time revolutionizing the $5.6t wellness market. The company has raised $10m+ from top Silicon Valley investors + Apple/Spotify/Meta execs. Their last round sold out quickly so they extended the round for two more weeks.

SPORTS

Olympic swimming trials are so big, they need an NFL stadium

NFL football swimming pool USA Swimming via YouTube

The latest thing that’s been tackled at one NFL stadium is the herculean task of transforming it into a venue for the world’s largest swim meet. The Olympic swimming trials kick off at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis today to determine who will compete for Team USA in Paris this summer.

USA Swimming’s main event has drawn increasingly huge crowds that dedicated swimming venues can’t accommodate. The organization expects 16,000 people to attend the opening meet, which is below previously stated goals but still a record, per the Indianapolis Star.

Engineering gold medal

Italian pool-maker Myrtha and its local construction partners had about a month to transform the football arena into an aqueous environment for Olympic hopefuls.

  • A temporary 10-lane racing pool was installed on top of the field, along with a sophisticated filtration system and another 18-lane pool for warmups.
  • It took 13 hours to fill the two pools with 2 million gallons of water from nearby fire hydrants.

Indianapolis is swimming in it: With as many as 250,000 fans descending on the city for the trials, over $100 million is expected to flow into the local economy.—SK

   

STAT

Prime number

Muslim worshippers pray around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca Fadel Senna/Getty Images

More than 1.5 million foreigners arrived in Saudi Arabia this week to begin the Hajj, a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. Despite a sweltering heat wave that’s projected to bring temperatures of up to 109 degrees Fahrenheit, the Saudi government expects ~2 million people to perform the pilgrimage this year, which would put it above last year’s 1.8 million pilgrims but still a bit below 2019’s pre-pandemic total of 2.4 million. Not just anyone can come. In addition to the expense of travel, participation is limited by quotas from the Saudi government: one pilgrim for every thousand Muslim citizens a country has, per the AP.

NEWS

What else is brewing

  • The FAA is investigating how fake titanium got into Boeing and Airbus planes.
  • The Justice Department said it won’t prosecute Attorney General Merrick Garland for contempt of Congress despite a House vote over his refusal to turn over audio of the president, citing a “longstanding” position of not prosecuting officials who withhold privileged information. Speaker Mike Johnson said the House would go to court to get the recording.
  • Justice Clarence Thomas took at least three more trips given by donor Harlan Crow than he disclosed in financial reports, a Senate committee said.
  • Americans are expected to spend $22.4 billion for Father’s Day tomorrow, the second highest amount in the 21 years since the National Retail Federation has been surveying consumers—but still less than they spent on Mother’s Day.

RECS

Saturday To-Do List graphic

Watch: Use these techniques to make better sandwiches.

Slather up: Myths about sunscreen debunked by an MD.

Order in: How America’s favorite takeout foods have changed over the last decade.

Fast typing: A dispatch from the Excel World Championship in Las Vegas.

Spend $1, save $500: …on every flight. Get round-trip flights to Europe from $250, to cities like Paris and Barcelona. Try Dollar Flight Club for just $1—offer ends in 12 hours.*

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GAMES

The puzzle section

Brew crossword: First, thanks to everyone who played Decipher yesterday—the feedback was awesome. Stay tuned for another Decipher in a couple of weeks. This morning, though, is all about the 15x15 crossword. Check out this Father’s Day-themed puzzle.

Open House

Welcome to Open House, the only newsletter section that needs to be near the Canadian border for personal reasons. We’ll give you a few facts about a listing and you try to guess the price.

Home in Greenbush, Minnesota.Zillow

Today’s home is in Greenbush, Minnesota, a city with Canadian neighbors closer to it than most people reading this. The home was built in 1966 and includes a separate playhouse that we promise isn’t weird for adults to hang out in. Amenities include:

  • 5 beds, 3 baths
  • 11.75 acres with hiking trails running through them
  • Ample seating areas for contemplating your one precious life

How much for a piece of the north woods?

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ANSWER

$500,000

Word of the Day

Today’s Word of the Day is: aqueous, meaning “made from, with, or by water.” Thanks to Dock from California for slaking our thirst for a suggestion. Submit another Word of the Day here.

✳︎ A Note From Aura Health

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