🌊 Aussies: No Booze in War

Aussies say no more drinking in war, State Farm shutting out this state, and the new $1T company

Firefighting goats in California may soon be out of a job. New regulations would force companies that employ firefighting goats to pay their goat herds up to $14,000 a month, which may put some out of business. Although the goats work for free, their alternative might be the slaughterhouse — a less-than-ideal unemployment. Really could use some goats in the Roca office. Will keep you posted.

In today's edition:

  • Aussies say no more drinking in war

  • State Farm shutting out this state

  • The new $1T company

 🔑 Key Stories

AI Leaders: AI Poses “Risk of Extinction”

350+ AI leaders signed a letter calling AI a risk on par with pandemics and nuclear war

  • In recent months, several AI industry leaders have called the tech an existential threat and urged the government to regulate it. One of those people is OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, who testified before Congress earlier this month and said AI development should require a license

  • On Tuesday, an organization released a one-letter statement: “Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war”

  • 350+ AI leaders, including Altman and the CEO of Google’s DeepMind AI lab, have since signed it

Dig Deeper

  • In March, 3,000+ AI industry leaders, not including Altman, signed an open letter calling on companies to pause AI development for 6 months pending government regulation

  • This open letter’s length – 22 words, versus the March one’s 595 – was designed to be inclusive of more viewpoints, such as what specific threats AI poses

Australian Military Bans Drinking

Australia’s military banned soldiers from drinking during military operations and exercises

  • A 2020 report accused members of an elite Australian military unit of illegally killing 39 Afghan civilians while deployed there from 2005-2013

  • That report linked their behavior in part to an underground drinking culture, which it linked to “poor moral leadership” and a lack of discipline

  • Per the new rules, soldiers will not be allowed to drink while on combat missions and will be randomly breathalyzed. Soldiers in non-combat roles will only be allowed to drink on major holidays

Dig Deeper

  • The 2020 report found that Australian soldiers in Afghanistan had a heavy drinking culture and frequented an underground pub known as the "Fat Lady’s Arms"

Nvidia Hits $1T Valuation

US chip company Nvidia hit a $1T market cap on Tuesday

  • Nvidia started by designing graphics chips for video games. It developed the GPU, a type of chip that processes data and creates output

  • GPUs have since become crucial to powering AI. That’s helped Nvidia’s market cap more than triple since October. Last week, Nvidia announced that AI investments had pushed demand for its chips far higher than expected. Its stock has since climbed 30%; on Tuesday, its market cap briefly passed $1T

  • Only Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Saudi Aramco, and Google are worth more than $1T

Dig Deeper

  • Check out Today’s Wrap for the full story!

Holmes Begins 11-Year Sentence

Elizabeth Holmes turned herself in on Tuesday to begin her 11-year prison sentence

  • Holmes, 39, dropped out of Stanford when she was 19 to found Theranos, a biotech company that claimed to revolutionize blood testing

  • In 2018, the company collapsed amid realizations that it had lied about its blood tests’ abilities. Holmes was convicted last January and sentenced to 11 years in jail last November

  • She presented herself at a Texas prison on Tuesday. She’ll be allowed family visits each weekend, and potentially eligible for early release if she behaves well and participates in work projects

🍿 Popcorn

ICYMI

  • Airports officially back: Airports had their busiest day since pre-pandemic on Friday. TSA screened 2.7M people, the most since Thanksgiving 2019

  • Love ain’t cheap: The average cost of a wedding in the US has jumped to $29,000. In states like New Jersey and Massachusetts the average is above $40,000

  • An underwater agent: A beluga whale believed to have been a Russian spy was spotted off the coast of Sweden. The whale had been spotted wearing a GoPro and Russian harness in 2019, but no longer appears to be spying

Wildcard

  • Like a bad neighbor: State Farm will stop accepting new homeowners insurance applications in California, citing rising construction costs and natural disaster risks

  • No crocodile tears: A 72-year-old crocodile farmer in Cambodia was torn to pieces by his crocodiles. One of the reptiles pulled him into their enclosure by biting his stick

  • I woke up in a new Binghatti: Bugatti is partnering with a Dubai architecture firm named Binghatti to build a luxury high-rise where residents can drive up to their floor

👇 What do you think?

Today's Poll

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Today's Question:

What is the most significant object that you own? Feel free to include pics!

Reply to this email with your answers!

See yesterday's results below the Wrap! 

🌯 Roca Wrap

A decade ago, Nvidia was worth $8.5B. Yesterday, it became the world’s 6th $1T company.

Jen-Hsun – “Jensen” – Huang was born in Taiwan in 1963. At age 9, his family immigrated to the US, where they lived in Kentucky and later Oregon.

Huang attended Oregon State and Stanford, and spent his early career developing computer processors.

In 1993, the 29-year-old Huang and 2 friends were at Denny’s discussing computer chips. While at the diner, they conceived of a chip that would enable 3D graphics for video games. They named the company Nvidia and launched it on Huang’s – the CEO – 30th birthday.

Nvidia would develop a first-of-its-kind chip to analyze data and turn it into an image. It released that chip – called a graphics processing unit, or GPU – in 1999.

Nvidia produced increasingly complex GPUs, which drove massive improvements in gaming graphics. Nvidia became an industry leader in video game graphics and expanded to power graphics in cars, mobile devices, and more.

By 2016, that business had driven Nvidia to a $15B market cap and $600M in annual profits. Around that time, though, companies realized another use for Nvidia’s GPUs: AI.

While Nvidia GPUs were initially created to power 3D gaming graphics, the company had broadened their capabilities so they could run a wide range of computing operations. The chips proved to be ideal for powering “deep learning” algorithms.

Deep learning is a process modeled on the human brain through which a computer can “learn” from massive amounts of data. The process drives AI, and as tech companies accumulated troves of data at their data centers, they needed GPUs to process it for their AI models. Nvidia was positioned to power the AI revolution.

By November 2021, a combined surge in AI and video gaming had powered Nvidia to an $823B market capitalization. It then plummeted with the rest of the tech industry, falling to $280B last October.

Just one month later, though, OpenAI publicly launched ChatGPT, which was reportedly trained with 10,000 Nvidia GPUs. ChatGPT sparked a rush to AI. As companies invested billions, Nvidia’s fortunes turned for the better.

Nvidia’s stock has more than tripled since October.

Last Wednesday night, the company announced that there was “exponential growth” in demand for its chips, as organizations from hospitals and banks to car manufacturers moved toward AI. The company projected $11B in sales between April and July – more than 50% higher than Wall Street had expected.

The news pushed Nvidia’s stock up 25% and market cap up nearly $200B – the biggest one-day gain ever for a US stock.

Then yesterday, Nvidia hit a $1T valuation on Tuesday, becoming the first chip company to do so.

Its stock price surpassed $404.86, which – when multiplied by all of Nvidia’s shares – made it a trillion-dollar company. Its stock peaked at $416.39 in early trading, and then closed at $401.11, meaning it closed the day at $992B and was only briefly worth $1T.

Nvidia has claimed that it is the only company capable of delivering the chips that power AI. Companies including Google, Microsoft, and Amazon are trying to develop their own chips to do so, but doing so will likely take years and billions of dollars.

The company has also cited tensions with China as a major risk: Its chips are largely manufactured in Taiwan and it sells chips to Chinese companies.

At least for now, though, Nvidia is one of AI’s biggest winners.

If you have thoughts, let us know at [email protected]!

 🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Would you rather travel back in time and meet your ancestors, or travel to the future and meet your descendants? 

⬅️ Ancestors: 59%
➡️ Descendents: 41%

Yesterday's Question:

How do you feel about live-action remakes of Disney movies?

Bo from College Station, Texas: "As the Roman empire fell, the quality of their art dropped further and further. Look at the Arch of Constantine, the best bits were ripped out of other arches built centuries before. The new artwork, created specifically for Constantine's arch, is vastly inferior. I feel the same is true of the live action Disney remakes. Instead of learning to create new cinematic works of art they're pillaging their creative history for a quick buck.”

Tom from Atlanta: "Stories get re-made all the time—how many times has Romeo & Juliet been done? My question is, if these are pretty much shot for shot live action re-makes of the original animation, where does it end for Disney? In 5 years are they going to do an animated version of the live action version of the original animated version of The Lion King (which is essentially a re-telling of Hamlet)?”

Jenny: "I love Disney and for me they can almost do no wrong! It’s a business and based on entertainment so I can’t understand why people are so confused and upset by them doing things to make money.”

🧠 Final Thoughts

Wow. We did not expect yesterday’s question to generate such heated replies! Hopefully today’s question is less polarizing. If it’s not, at least we’re confident that our nonpartisan, balanced news is!

Happy Hump Day Roca Riders.

—Max and Max