Revel’s reversal
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Why the EV ride-sharing company is sending power back to NYC's grid.
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Morning Brew September 23, 2022

Emerging Tech Brew

Happy Friday. And so marks the end of the week in which the 2021 tech bull market, in all of its effervescent and at times irrational glory, officially died.

On Tuesday, the SPAC king himself, Chamath Palihapitiya, wound down two of his SPAC companies and gave $1.5 billion back to investors. And on Wednesday, a new record was set for longest time without a US tech IPO greater than $50 million in valuation.

In today’s edition
Why Revel is selling power back to the NYC grid
Getty Images bans AI-generated content
Rethinking how the US approaches cybersecurity

Grace Donnelly, Dan McCarthy, Tom McKay

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Revel puts it in reverse

Revel puts it in reverse Revel

The energy transition is nothing if not a balancing act: Growing EV adoption will place more demand on the energy grid, but it could also result in more batteries that utilities can draw power from during peak times.

For EV fleet owners, like the all-electric ridesharing company Revel, this presents an opportunity: They could sell surplus energy from EV batteries back to utilities during downtime to help save on charging costs and even potentially generate revenue.

  • But to truly incentivize discharging, utilities will need to make the financial opportunity clearer, Paul Suhey, co-founder and COO of Revel, told Emerging Tech Brew.

Despite the ambiguity, in August, EV ridesharing company Revel created the first program to export energy from EVs to the grid in NYC, using three bidirectional chargers located at Revel’s warehouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Big picture: Interest in vehicle-to-everything capabilities is growing as vehicles like the bidirectional Ford F-150 Lightning come to market and regulators work out how to manage EV batteries as grid assets. But it’s still early days when it comes to real-world applications of this tech.

“This is the first time that a company is actually exporting energy into New York City’s power grid, not just a [vehicle-to-building] application,” Suhey said. “One thing that we’re trying to accomplish is sending a general signal to the market that there’s demand for this technology on the vehicle side, on the charger side.”

Keep reading about why Revel is investing in V2G in New York.GD

        

FROM THE CREW

Introducing Incrypto

Image of cell phone promoting Incrypto

Arriving in your inbox on October 3 is the newest addition to the Morning Brew family—Incrypto. Our latest newsletter is all about helping you understand the wide world of crypto with, y’know, context. Wondering about Web3? We got you. Dwelling on DAOs or DeFi? Done. NFTs? No problem! We’ll teach you what it all means and why it matters to you.

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AI

“Human images only, plz”—Getty Images, probably

imagery created by DALL-E 2 OpenAI

Your social feeds may be awash with DALL-E generated memes, but not everyone is embracing the recent wave of AI-generated imagery as readily. Earlier this week, Getty Images banned AI-generated content from its platform, The Verge reported.

Why it matters: Getty is one of the largest image-database companies in the world, with ~843,000 paying customers and nearly 500 million assets across its platforms. Its decision to ban the content will not only limit the ability to monetize AI-generated content but also points to a deeper potential problem with its commercial use: copyright.

Getty’s CEO, Craig Peters, told The Verge that he is concerned about potential copyright claims from artists whose work underpins the training data for tools like DALL-E, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion.

  • The company declined to say if it has “received legal challenges over its sale of AI-generated content,” but Peters said it was “being proactive to the benefit of our customers.”
  • Several smaller image databases have also banned the content.

For its part, the CEO of Getty’s main competitor, Shutterstock, wrote in a blog Thursday that the company is “taking steps to look at the impact AI-generated art has on our consumers and contributors,” and that it views “synthetic media as a new tool with which we can drive greater creativity.”

  • A group of artists also recently released a tool that enables individuals to check if their art has been hoovered up into one of the datasets that underpins these tools.

Looking ahead…It’s possible that AI-generated imagery could fall under fair use, as The Verge pointed out, but given the newness of the field, there hasn’t yet been a court case that explicitly addresses the question.

Click here to read on-site.DM

        

CYBERSECURITY

Inside the plan to remake the US’s cybersecurity approach

U.S. Capitol building with a long receipt coming out the front Francis Scialabba

Former CISA chief Chris Krebs caused a stir in August when he proposed the department’s role be elevated into an independent “US digital agency”—or perhaps more realistically, liberate it from its status as an operational component under the Department of Homeland Security.

“I think it’s time to rethink the way government interacts with technology,” Krebs told attendees at the Black Hat conference, according to the Record. “We’re not where we need to be and we’re falling behind and Americans are suffering as a result.”

As an alternative to the creation of a new agency, Krebs suggested CISA could be spun out of DHS to make cybersecurity “apolitical, non-political, bipartisan, and nonpartisan.”

  • Either way, he added, instead of organizations going to “five or six different agencies” for their security issues, there should be “a front door that is clearly visible. And as I see it, that’s CISA.”

Bottom line: Former US cybersecurity officials and other experts who spoke with Cyberscoop were broadly skeptical of the idea, arguing that CISA benefits from DHS’s political pull and resources.

Those who talked with IT Brew raised similar concerns, saying that centralizing cybersecurity functions currently spread out across the US government could be difficult—and in some cases, counterproductive.

Read the full story from IT Brew here.TM

TOGETHER WITH CISCO

Cisco

Surety for your cybersecurity. With the metaverse growing by the day, it’s hard to keep tabs on all the different ways bad actors can take advantage of security gaps and user interactions. Keep cybercriminals out of your metaverse experiences with security resilience solutions from Cisco. Learn more.

        

BITS AND BYTES

image of renewable energy sources and other climate tech Francis Scialabba

Stat: Amazon is aiming to power its entire global business with 100% renewable energy by 2025. The company expects to have a total of 379 renewable energy projects that could add up to 50,000 GWh of energy—enough to power 4.6 million US homes each year, per Reuters.

Quote: “Markets are won or lost based upon what you do in a downturn.”—Shane Wall, venture partner at Fusion Fund, at a Wall Street Journal event this week

Read: The future of manufacturing is…printers?

Excel: The CFO role has changed a lot, which means the habits that make for a successful CFO have changed too. Learn the 7 habits of today’s highly effective CFOs with this guide from Oracle NetSuite.*

*This is sponsored advertising content.

WHAT ELSE IS BREWING

  • Some automakers are looking to the tech-licensing marketplace Avanci to gain access to patents for technologies ranging from connectivity to autonomy.
  • Amazon’s iRobot acquisition is now being scrutinized by the FTC.
  • Hertz agreed to buy as many as 175,000 EVs from GM, adding to its previous all-electric orders of 100,000 Teslas and 65,000 Polestar vehicles.
  • Ofcom, the UK’s competition regulator, is investigating the dominance of Amazon, Google, and Microsoft in cloud computing.
  • Next week, we’re convening thousands of business leaders and innovators virtually to discuss pressing technologies across food, energy, and health. Join the conversation on September 29, and RSVP for free.

GOING PHISHING

Three of the following news stories are true, and one...we made up. Can you spot the odd one out?

  • The NTSB wants new vehicles to come with alcohol-detection tech for drivers.
  • Meta is reportedly considering a pivot away from AR/VR after internal strife and hardware missteps.
  • Facebook has decided to simply let users take a stab at moderating speech.
  • Morgan Stanley hard drives containing sensitive customer data were accidentally auctioned off by a third party.

GOING PHISHING ANSWER

Meta is still metaversing pretty hard, as far as we know.

 

Written by Grace Donnelly and Dan McCarthy

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