Update on Microsoft-Activision Deal; Growing Focus on AI

This week, we want to share three highlights:

  • Earlier this week, EU regulators approved Microsoft’s acquisition of video game company Activision Blizzard. This is a positive development after UK regulators blocked the transaction last month. Microsoft is appealing the UK decision.
  • On Tuesday, NBC News Special Edition aired a wide-ranging interview with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella about artificial intelligence. Host Andrew Ross Sorkin said, “This may be one of the most transformational moments in the history of technology.” We encourage you to watch here.
  • Next Thursday, May 25, Microsoft President Brad Smith will be in Washington, DC, to deliver remarks that will explore the actions society must take to responsibly realize the benefits of AI to society. Please follow VFI on LinkedIn or Twitter, where we’ll post a link to the livestream when it’s available next week.

Thank you for reading. Additional tech policy news and a featured podcast can be found below. The Executive Briefing will be off next week in advance of Memorial Day weekend.

This Week in Washington 

  • Reuters: Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, testified in front of Congress to discuss the importance of regulating AI. Altman stated that the possibility of the new technology being used to interfere with elections was a significant area of concern.
  • NPR: Congress’ history of failing to put guardrails in place for growing technology could harm their chances of regulating AI.
  • Washington Post: Lawmakers are calling on President Biden to fill the leadership role in the Office of the National Cyber Director. Although an acting director is in place, the Cyberspace Solarium Commission believes that permanently filling this role will help the office fulfill its potential and power.
  • StateScoop: The Fiber Broadband Association released a guidebook to help states develop a workforce plan as they continue working to implement the Broadband, Equity, Access, and Development (BEAD) program.
  • Nextgov: The House Homeland Security Committee passed two bipartisan-backed measures that would boost the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)’s authority across DHS and the federal government. This legislation would allow CISA to develop a framework to strengthen the security of open source software and hire more open source security experts.

Article Summary

  • The New York Times: Microsoft AI researchers go on the record to offer differing perspectives on their recent paper concerning the nature of how intelligent current artificial intelligence is.
  • Semafor: Leading AI company OpenAI asked a Washington, D.C. software vendor that provides tools for lobbyists and advocates to limit what they claim their ChatGPT-powered tools can do.
  • IEEE Spectrum: As the CHIPS and Science Act continues to help chip manufacturing grow, engineering programs at universities and colleges across the U.S. are racing to produce the talent needed to fill the roles.
  • Semafor: TikTok has put a new rule for users who upload AI-generated content, requiring them to disclose if the technology created realistic content. Douyin, the Chinese version of the app owned by ByteDance, requires users to label anything made with AI.
  • Anchorage Daily News: First Lady Jill Biden and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland visited Alaska to promote broadband investment, including federal funds that powered hundreds of millions of dollars in state grants to expand broadband to rural and underserved communities in the state.
  • Axios: As many Republican-led states consider implementing statewide bans on TikTok due to national security concerns, Montana became the first state to sign one into law. The law goes into effect in 2024.

Featured Podcast


  • Planet Money
    For the last four decades, technology has been mostly a force for greater inequality and a shrinking middle class. But new empirical evidence suggests that the age of AI could be different. We speak to MIT’s David Autor, one of the greatest labor economists in the world, who envisions a future where we use AI to make a wider array of workers much better at a whole range of jobs and help rebuild the middle class. (How AI could help rebuild the middle class – May 17, 2023)