Science and Technology

Google’s AI makeover

May 11, 2023
Hello, Insiders. Matt Turner, editor in chief of business, here. I’m in San Francisco this week, and dropped by Google’s annual developer conference on Wednesday. My takeaway: AI is going to touch our lives in more ways real soon. More on that below.


Also in today’s edition: 

  • Tucker Carlson’s new Twitter show could spell doom for Elon Musk.
  • Justice Kagan refused bagels; Justice Thomas accepted vacations.
  • Leaked emails show Microsoft isn’t giving raises this year.
— Matt Turner


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Trump, Iger, & Carlson

  • Donald Trump appeared at a CNN town hall last night — and everyone is talking about it. “It was an unmitigated disaster,” one former CNN exec said. Read our analysis.
  • Disney’s Bob Iger taunted Florida with an ominous threat: “Does the state want us to invest more, employ more, and pay more taxes — or not?” Our story from Disney’s earnings call.
  • Insider’s late-night texts with Tucker Carlson: He told us he was running for president, then said he was joking. Then said he was “fundamentally a dick.” More here.

Google and AI

Courtesy of Google.
Google hosted its annual developer conference in Mountain View, California, on Wednesday, stuffing product announcements and AI updates into a few hours.

It was a slick production, complete with a zinger for Apple, and a loud round of applause for the introduction of Dark Mode on Google’s Bard.

The standout announcements for me:

  • Your Google-search experience will soon feel very different, with AI-generated answers prioritized at the top of the page.
  • AI will be integrated across Google Workspace. Soon, you’ll be able to ask Gmail to draft your email responses for you by clicking on a “Help me write” button.
The changes to search will likely have the most immediate impact. is the most trafficked website in the world, and any changes there will be felt almost instantly.

But the integration of AI tools into Workspace apps strikes me as hugely impactful over the long term. Billions of people use Gmail, Docs, Sheets, and other tools. Soon, they will be supercharged with AI.


SCOTUS, Microsoft, & more

Joshua Zitser/Insider, Getty Images
  • Justice Elena Kagan was worried about the ethics of accepting bagels and lox from friends, according to a report. Meanwhile, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was accepting lavish holidays from a GOP megadonor. Read our story.
  • How can you tell if that person doing you a favor at work is actually pissed about it? Our cultural norms favor reciprocal favor-doing, and a new study confirms that humans are more cooperative than competitive. But modern life is making teamwork a lot tougher. We break down what your coworkers really think about helping you out.
  • Microsoft isn’t giving raises anymore. The tech giant announced that raises are gone for the next year. Read CEO Satya Nadella’s leaked email announcing the change. And once you’re done, read the chief people officer’s guidance for managers here.
  • Inside the Hollywood writers’ strike. “iCarly” scribes are picketing Paramount — and Ali Schouten, the showrunner behind the series, told Insider: “It’s corporate greed. There’s just, like, nothing else to it.” More here.
  • Scientists can’t figure out what this super bright mystery object is. It’s 10 million times as bright as the sun. And scientists say it’s too bright to even exist. Read more.
  • Tucker Carlson’s new Twitter show could spell trouble for Elon Musk. The former Fox News host announced that he was bringing his show to Twitter. But it could cause a major user exodus if Carlson went rogue. More on that.
  • An American who moved to Belize said she saved money and found peace of mind. In 2015, Cristina Johnson, a disabled writer from Pennsylvania, was looking for a fresh start. Years later, she has saved thousands, but she says the peace of mind is priceless. Read her story.

Arctic vacation

NWS Riverton
A stay at the Arctic Hideaway, a village in northern Norway, costs $190 a night and gives guests the chance to sleep under the northern lights. See inside.

In custody

George Santos is in federal custody after being hit with a 13-count criminal indictment. His charges include wire fraud, money laundering, and theft of public funds.

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This edition was curated by Matt Turner, and edited by Hallam Bullock, Lisa Ryan, Diamond Naga Siu, Shona Ghosh, and J.R. Stacey. Get in touch:

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