Alphabet buys up startups, makes investment

(CNN) — The battle for global supremacy in artificial intelligence is heating up, with Google parent Alphabet teaming up with telecom giants AT&T and Telefonica and investing $150 million in start-ups developing AI. The strategic partnership will focus on both mobile and cloud-based technologies for consumers.

Additionally, Alphabet’s making a similar investment in Hitachi and NEC of Japan.

The company’s two latest investments are part of a broader push by global tech giants looking to tie their previously competing portfolios together.

Alphabet and Facebook are muscling into telecommunications territory as the fierce competition in the digital economy heats up.

The news, which was first reported by Bloomberg, comes just weeks after Uber and Google parent Alphabet invested in some of Japan’s leading AI start-ups.

Will the three take orders at the same Starbucks?

Alphabet and its rivals are hoping that their stakes in the world’s leading AI start-ups will help them build a new generation of machine-learning tools.

Google is already a leader in AI; meanwhile, Microsoft and Facebook are offering AI tools through their cloud computing services.

World leaders agree to tougher rules

The UK, Canada and the US have committed to introduce new rules around how social media companies tackle online extremism and hate speech.

The moves, which have the support of France, Germany and the Netherlands, come at a time when countries are increasingly vocal about the dangers that radicalization can pose to national security.

Meanwhile, Facebook is at the center of another privacy controversy.

The company has admitted it allowed political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to collect data on as many as 87 million users through a quiz app.

Ajit Pai backs down on net neutrality vote

Commissioner Ajit Pai has quietly backed down from backing a measure that would have laid out the US government’s position on regulating internet service providers (ISPs).

Commissioners have previously promised to vote on the policy proposal in two weeks’ time but it appears that Pai is backing off.

The Federal Communications Commission has made clear that it supports maintaining net neutrality rules. Still, Pai has argued that the policy is too “prescriptive,” and should be left to the Federal Trade Commission.

The commission has not yet officially canceled the vote.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai plans to block net neutrality protections within two weeks — Steven Senne, CNN Tech (@stevensenne) September 19, 2018

The surprise announcement by Pai came a day after the Federal Trade Commission said it was looking into AT&T over what it called “its alleged failure to act on behalf of its customers.”

The FCC is currently revamping the federal internet cop. The agency is currently considering a proposal that would effectively unwind 2015 net neutrality rules.

In a statement on Tuesday, the commission said it will have a “new Internet rulemaking process in the coming weeks,” suggesting the FCC will need more time to vote on the matter.

Lawmakers vote to end Preet Bharara

A bipartisan group of lawmakers voted to end the tenure of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is best known for taking on companies such as Verizon over alleged improper tax practices.

It’s the latest move in an unusually charged back-and-forth between Schneiderman and President Donald Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions.

Schneiderman launched an inquiry last year into whether Sessions paid people to target African Americans in the past and how his office was receiving immigration enforcement grants from the Department of Homeland Security. Sessions has denied doing anything wrong.

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