Skip to main content
All Stories Tagged:

Code 2023

The Code Conference brings together key leaders from the tech and business worlds to talk about what comes next. The 2023 conference features X CEO Linda Yaccarino, GM CEO Mary Barra, and more.

Monarch Tractor wants to become “the Android of agriculture.”

Hear CEO Praveen Penmetsa talk about it in this clip from Code 2023. (It’s more interesting than it seems!) And read more from the event in our storystream.

This AI robot gave me a manicure.

I gave Clockwork’s manicure robot a try at the Code Conference. After I picked out a nail polish color, it took about 10 minutes to walk out with a fresh manicure.

Clockwork doesn’t file or shape your nails — it just paints one coat of polish, using AI to identify where to paint.

I don’t see this replacing the nail salon experience, but it could be helpful if you’re in a pinch and need something quick. So far, my polish is holding up pretty well. Clockwork is currently available at these locations and costs $10. 

Yoel Roth and Linda Yaccarino made the end of Code... interesting, to say the least.

Roth, Twitter’s former head of trust and safety, was a late add to the agenda, and that meant two of the last sessions of the event were a kind of meta conversation about Twitter’s past and X’s future.

Catch clips of both interviews and some of my thoughts in our video recapping the interviews, and you can read more real-time thoughts in our storystream. If you want to watch the interviews yourself, virtual passes are available here right now.

Here’s one of the oddest moments of the Linda Yaccarino interview.

Julia Boorstin asked her to confirm that X would start charging users to post, as Musk floated a week ago. Yaccarino was not so sure:

The Verge
That’s it for the Code Conference 2023!

We’ll have a few more videos to share as we wrap things up, so check back in for some of the key moments. And if you want all the details, read back through our StoryStream below.

And we’re wrapped.

There was a recurring theme to Yaccarino’s answers: she keeps defending X from statements and choices by Elon Musk.

Harassment of Yoel Roth? Linked to Musk. Advertisers fleeing the platform because of chaotic moderation decisions before she was hired? Musk. A dispute with a well-regarded nonprofit combatting anti-Semitism? Musk.

She’s surprisingly good at diffusing these questions, but you’d think that X would want to talk about literally anything other problems caused by Musk.

External Link
Yaccarino disputed a report that X was disassembling its election integrity team.

She didn’t dispute that some members of the team had been fired, but she said X is expanding its work to combat platform manipulation and disinformation overall.

“It’s an issue we take very seriously,” she said. “And contrary to the comments that were made, there is a robust and growing team at X that is wrapping their arms around election integrity.”

The clock was up on Yaccarino’s interview a few questions ago, but they’re still going.

Boorstin is trying to squeeze in a last couple of questions before they wrap up.

“I wish that would be different. We’re looking into that,”

Yaccarino says in response to the dispute between Musk and the Anti-Defamation League.

I think the implication is that she wishes the ADL — a nonprofit focused on combating anti-Semitism — would stop criticizing X for its moderation problems and calling on advertisers to abandon the platform.

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt “continues to question the progress as it relates to anti-Semitism,” Yaccarino says. “It is disappointing that there is not equal time given to all the progress.”

Linda Yaccarino says she hasn’t seen Elon Musk’s “demon mode” described in Walter Isaacson’s book.

She mostly talked about the value of spirited debate, but did say this: “All I’m saying is that the the idea of the inability to have a debate or feedback, I haven’t experienced or I’ll say I haven’t experienced it yet.”

The exchange on X’s subscription requirement was a weird one.

When Boorstin asked about how the plan would impact X usage, Yaccarino asked her to clarify.

“Did he say we were moving to it specifically, or did he say that’s the plan?” she asked

Boorstin pushed her on whether they’d discussed it first. “We talk about everything,” she said. But the exchange does not, exactly, have me convinced.

“Who wouldn’t want Elon Musk sitting by their side running product?”

An actual question Linda Yaccarino has posed to the audience. Not me!

X now has 200-250 million daily active users. Maybe?

“Something like that,” Yaccarino said on stage. She pulled out her phone like she was going to double check the number, then got sidetracked by a long answer.

Later, she threw out as examples 540 million monthly active users and 225 million daily active users without quite committing to them being real figures.

Linda Yaccarino is not confirming if the company plans to go to an all-subscription model.

She’s completely dodged Julia Boorstin’s question about if everyone will be charged to use X.

Some metrics about X, according to Linda Yaccarino.

From an “operating cash flow perspective,” the company is “just about break even.” In early 2024, “we’ll be turning a profit.”

90 percent of the top 100 advertisers have returned to the platform. In the last 12 weeks, about 1,500 have returned.

Yaccarino was dismissive of Roth’s concerns about death threats, too.

Roth said his advice to her was to think about the risks of working with Musk and “what she might face.”

To Yaccarino, having safety concerns comes with the territory of being a CEO. “I feel great. I’m well protected,” she said. Yaccarino said she appreciated his concerns. “I think that’s just a human emotion when you get thrust into such a public spotlight.”

Linda Yaccarino, unsurprisingly, thinks things are going great at X.

“There is no analog for the book that is being written right now,” she said onstage at Code. That sounds like a ridiculously lofty claim to me! She says that there have been over 100 products shipped since the acquisition.

Yaccarino responds to Yoel Roth: “I work at X, he worked at Twitter.”

The house is packed right now for Yaccarino’s interview, particularly after the surprise of Roth’s appearance. She opens the conversation with a response to Roth, saying that his Twitter was “operating on a different sets of rules ... ideologies that were creeping down the road of censorship.”

She doesn’t exactly engage with Roth’s assertion that X is doing less to stop harassment on the platform.

“It’s a new day at X,” Yaccarino said. “And I’ll leave it at that.”

X CEO Linda Yaccarino is here.

She’s speaking with CNBC senior media and tech correspondent Julia Boorstin.

There’s a lot to discuss — for one, the ongoing chaos of working with Elon Musk and transforming Twitter into X. But also, two events just today.

Twitter’s former trust and safety leader, Yoel Roth, was on stage less than an hour ago discussing how Musk sent harassment his way. Also today, Media Matters came out with a report about X placing NFL ads on accounts of white nationalists. That’s a big ding in Yaccarino’s promise that X is brand safe.

We’ll be back in 15 minutes with X CEO Linda Yaccarino.

She’ll wrap up Code Conference 2023. See you then.

Adobe is “diversifying” its GPU selection.

Verge EIC Nilay Patel asked whether the company is as “dependent on Nvidia as everybody else.” Adobe’s Still didn’t answer the question directly, but she suggested the company needs more than one GPU partner.

“I would say we’re certainly using a lot of GPU server capacity,” she says. Of course, “Nvidia’s a great partner,” she caveats.

Firefly’s token model isn’t an experiment, Ashley Still says.

Free and paid Adobe users get credits to use its generative AI tools, Still says, because they don’t want someone to have to pick between buying an add-on or just making stuff.

Demo’s over — we’re back to the conversation with Ashley Still.

People are in awe of the Photoshop on the web demo.

I’m hearing a lot of “oohs” and “ahhs” from the crowd. A photographer in the front row is shaking his head in disbelief.

Now, he’s adding a cat. (Sorry dog.)

We’re getting a live demo of Photoshop on the web.

In the first demo, the presenter is removing the out of focus dog at the front of this frame. He’s using Adobe’s generative fill to fill in the space where the dog left.

The stage at Code 2023.
Photo by Jay Peters / The Verge
Ashley Still from Adobe is here.

She’s on stage at Code 2023 — and already discussing the full launch of Photoshop on the web.

A photo of two people at Code 2023 on stage.
Photo by Jay Peters / The Verge
“I’m rooting for you and I’m rooting for Twitter.”

Yoel Roth said he said that to Elon Musk when he left the company. He’s rooting for CEO Linda Yaccarino, the current CEO of X — who will be speaking at Code in just a bit.

Yoel Roth thinks that something like Twitter needs to exist in the world.

I asked him if there would ever be a platform that’s as culturally relevant as Twitter, now X. “I do hope somebody can capture that,” he said. “I hope they can do it better than Twitter.”

Roth’s advice to Twitter’s new leaders?

To CEO Linda Yaccarino: “Look at what your boss did to me,” he says, referring to Musk’s tweets opening him up to death threats. “I hope she is thinking about what those risks are and what she might face.

To Musk: “There are still people within Twitter who care about the platform, who care about making thoughtful, principled, data-backed decisions for Twitter’s users. Listen to them, give them space, don’t overrule them.”

“It scares the crap out of me.”

Roth says he’s worried about the lawsuit trying to stop government agencies from working with platforms on moderation.

“It’s a chilling effect,” he said. Even with parts of the original ruling overturned, the communications haven’t started up again, he said. “The strategy works even when it loses in court.”

He sees a similar chilling effect happening across the tech landscape. “It’s what they’re doing to academics, folks working in government, to platforms themselves,” he says of people trying to stop content moderation.

Yoel Roth thinks that TikTok is doing the best at trust and safety right now.

At Code 2023, he noted that of all the VLOPs, TikTok hasn’t laid off members of its trust and safety team and that it continues to invest heavily in identifying inauthentic behavior. Not the answer I was expecting!

Roth says he’s received death threats because of Musk.

They started after Musk implied that Roth had advocated for sexualizing children — an obviously untrue statement.

Shortly afterward, his address was published online. “I had to sell my house. I had to move,” Roth said. “I bounced between a couple of different places for a few months and then lived in a temporary apartment for a while while I tried to figure out where to land next.”

“There was only so much” the safety team could do to push back on Elon at Twitter.

Roth says there was “overwhelming pressure to change” the platform. “Maybe that pressure would prove to be positive in the long run. My experience was that it wasn’t,” Roth said.

He expected there to be constraints on what Twitter could strip away in terms of safety. But the company didn’t “behave rationally.” And so things have gotten worse.

“That was a warning sign.”

That’s how Yoel Roth, Twitter’s former head of trust and safety, characterized the decision immediately after Elon Musk took over the company to change the logged out experience to the explore page.

And now: Yoel Roth, former head of trust and safety at Twitter.

Kara Swisher is interviewing him, ahead of X CEO Linda Yaccarino appearing at the end of the day.

Roth is a surprise addition — from what I can tell, Swisher added him into the schedule in the last 24 hours. Quick reminder: she doesn’t run this conference any more... but, you know, everyone still listens to Swisher.

“Responsible scaling policies” are the hot new safety method.

Toner and Cotra both say they like this new method for slowing down AI development. Basically, companies have to “clearly state what capabilities [they’re] ready to deal with.”

If they’re not ready to handle something, they need to make sure their AI systems can’t do it. Cotra says what she likes about this method is it can “make you pause as long as you need to” to get AI safety right.

Next up, we’re talking AI ethics. Should be simple...

Platformer’s Casey Newton is moderating a conversation with Ajeya Cotra, senior program officer at Open Philanthropy, and Helen Toner, director of strategy at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology.

The CEO of Bumble says that the metaverse is “kind of contrary to everything I believe in in terms of getting humans to look each other in the eye.”

Roblox CEO David Baszucki thinks people will be dating in Roblox, but at Code 2023, Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd doesn’t sound like a fan of that idea. “Maybe that is how people will originally connect,” she said, but noted that “I will be much more sad for humanity than myself if people just stop really meeting in real life.”

Bird Buddy co-founder Kyle Buzzard is here to talk about his smart bird feeder.

It uses AI to identify bird species, take photos of them, and organize the photos on your phone.

He compares it to real life Pokemon Go, which... kind of rules. I’m all in on birds now.