Microsoft nips Bing AI in the bud

Last week, Microsoft announced plans to implement conversation limits to its chatbot- Bing AI to make it more helpful to users. Quoting the tech giant, The Verge reported that data has proven that the “vast majority of people find the answers they’re looking for within 5 turns and that only around 1% of chat conversations have 50+ messages.” The move follows recent reports of the chatbot insulting users, lying to them, and emotionally manipulating people, multiple times. 

Thus, Bing chats will now be capped at 50 questions per day and 5 questions per session. Bing AI will delete a conversation after five questions. If users hit the five-per-session limit, Bing will prompt them to start a new topic to avoid long back-and-forth chat sessions.

According to Microsoft, longer chat sessions, with 15 or more questions, could make Bing “become repetitive or be prompted/provoked to give responses that are not necessarily helpful or in line with our designed tone.” Wiping a conversation after just five questions means “the model won’t get confused,” it said.

Egypt wants to sell state assets to boost foreign reserves

Egypt is offering state assets to private strategic investors- especially those from the Gulf Cooperation Council- to raise capital to bridge its IMF forecasted $17 billion finance gap.

Last year, the North African country devalued its currency multiple times to secure a $3 billion loan from the IMF to buffer its ailing economy. The ongoing Russian-Ukraine war badly wounded its foreign exchange reserves. That has triggered severe inflation and downgraded living standards. 

The year 2022 saw the economy nosedive as headline inflation rose to 21.9% in December, up from 19.2% in November 2022 and 6.5% in December 2021. The ongoing war in Europe has not only drilled a deep hole in its foreign reserves, but it has also wrecked living standards.

Cash scarcity triggers unrest across Nigeria

As new banknotes scarcity lingers in Nigeria, citizens across some states took to the street last week to protest against the hardship it is inflicting on them. Protests erupted in Lagos, Ogun, and Rivers States over cash scarcity and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) currency swap policy. 

In some places, angry customers attacked banks and vandalised properties. Elsewhere, protesters blockaded roads and forced commuters to come out of commercial buses to trek in solidarity.

This week Nigeria shall be conducting its Presidential elections. The ballot is one of the core reasons that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration rebranded the naira, to curb vote-buying by political parties.

ICYMI: Market roundup

  • The NGX All-Share Index dropped by -1.31% (-714.19 ) to close the week ending 17th of February at 53,804.46 points. The top gainers were Tripple Gee and Company +9.94%, Wapic Insurance +9.76%, Livingtrust Mortgage Bank +5.99%, UACN Property Development +4.17%, and Lasaco Assurance +4.08%. Conversely, the top decliners were Pharma-Deko -10.00%, R T Briscoe -6.67%, Airtel Africa -6.02%, Fidelity Bank -5.37%, and FCMB Group -3.82%.
  • The naira rose to close the week at N460.54/1$ on Friday compared to the N461.50/1$ recorded the previous week.  
  • Brent crude closed the week at $83.15, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude closed at $76.33.
  • The global cryptocurrency market cap stood at $1.13 trillion, as of 3:40 pm Sunday, the 19th of February, 2023. Bitcoin stood at $24,731.61 (a 12.68% increase in 7 days), Ethereum stood at $1,700.83 (a 10.90% increase in 7 days) and Binance coin stood at $317.01 (a 2.09% decrease in 17 days).
  • Pade HCM, a Nigerian HR tech startup raises $500,000 pre-seed funding.
  • Sendmarc, a South African online security startup raises $7 million in funding.
  • Curacel, a Nigeria-based insurtech startup raises a $3 million seed for North African expansion.
  • Smile Identity, an Africa-focused KYC startup raises a $20 million Series B funding round.
  • Naked, South African insurtech startup raises $17 million Series B funding to accelerate growth.
  •  RNR, a South African breakdown management startup raises a $555,000 funding round.

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