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Business News/ Weekend / Best of the Week | In trying to make AI succeed, did we forget humanity?

Best of the Week | In trying to make AI succeed, did we forget humanity?

Best of the Week, May 25: stock market records, RBI's strictness, and Gen Z's attitude at the workplace

Best of the WeekPremium
Best of the Week

Dear reader,

Imagine a world where Jackie Shroff, the noted environmentalist and occasional Bollywood actor, is a more astute businessman than Scarlett Johansson. Strange, right? But in this very universe, that's the case.

Let me explain. Both actors were in the news last week for similar reasons. While they may not be aware of each other’s existence, their fates have intertwined in an interesting way.

The Delhi high court recently passed an order protecting Shroff's personality rights. This includes his name, image, voice, likeness, and other unique aspects of his identity. Shroff even sought to remove YouTube videos featuring snippets of his interviews over the years. While such videos exist for almost every celebrity on the internet, Shroff took proactive steps to protect his rights and likeness.

Johansson, known for her roles in movies like Avengers and Chef, would have benefited from taking a page out of Shroff’s book. OpenAI recently launched Sky, a voice assistant that answers your questions, reminiscent of the AI in the movie Her. Johansson voiced the AI assistant in Her, set in a futuristic landscape. 

Sam Altman of OpenAI had approached Johansson to voice Sky last year, but talks didn't progress. According to an in-depth article by our partner publication The Wall Street Journal, Johansson and her lawyers found Sky’s voice to be “eerily similar" to hers, prompting legal action.

Shroff filed and won his case before Sky's launch. Now, anyone wanting to use Shroff's distinct voice and mannerisms must not only pay him but also seek his permission—something Johansson missed with OpenAI.

Artificial intelligence is touted as a game-changer, but we're still grappling with its real-world implications. In the news industry, publishers are miffed as it's clear that AI bots like OpenAI have been powered by scouring millions of online articles. This is a broader conversation, and one I hope to delve into soon.

Until then, here are the best works from Mint’s newsroom—all written without any AI intervention:

🌬️ The Indian renewable industry is perhaps known more for its dealmaking than its power generation. With billions of dollars worth of assets, it's not difficult to see why. In a bid to become profitable, German energy giant Siemens is exiting India. According to new economy writers Sneha Shah and Ranjani Raghavan, Siemens Gamesa's wind power business is up for sale, valued at about $1 billion. This division generates around $700 million in annual revenue, as reported by Sneha and Ranjani.

🚁 This week, Iran's interior minister confirmed that the country's leader, Ebrahim Raisi, died in a helicopter crash that also claimed the life of the foreign minister. We invited Elizabeth Roche, an associate professor at Jindal University, to write about the implications of this tragedy. Roche explores what’s next for Iran and how this event will impact India, the Middle East, and the West.

👔 Millions of students aspire to become IITians as they feel that it'll set them up for life. But the IIT tag doesn't mean as much as it once did: a poor job market has ensured that. Devina Sengupta and Pratishtha Bagai report that even top IITs like Bombay and Delhi are facing challenges in placing students. Startups are experiencing funding shortages, and global consultancies are not hiring at their usual scale, leaving many students in a difficult position.

Pratishtha is also one of Mint's newest writers. I hope this is the first of many mentions for her in Best of the Week!

🪷 Along with new names, we have familiar faces returning: Vivek Kaul is back after a brief hiatus. Keen readers may have noticed Vivek's award-winning newsletter, Easynomics, back in their inboxes this week. In this timely story, Vivek answers a crucial question: why does the stock market seem to love the BJP? The ruling party's decisions have favoured listed companies. Vivek explains that both foreign and domestic investors want the BJP to return for a third consecutive term due to GST implementation, which formalised the Indian economy to an extent, and growing revenues and profits.

📈 Almost serendipitously, the stock market vindicated Vivek's explanation: Prime Minister Narendra Modi proclaimed in an interview with The Economic Times that the BJP will come back to power, propelling the markets to new heights. The Reserve Bank of India's record dividend to the government, totalling a staggering 2.1 trillion, also helped sentiment, with banking stocks joining the party. Markets correspondents Dipti Sharma and Ram Sahgal write about the causes and effects of the Indian stock market crossing a total valuation of $5 trillion.

😡 The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has reprimanded various financial entities, including Paytm, Kotak Mahindra Bank, and Bank of Baroda. Under governor Shaktikanta Das, the regulator is doing its best to whip lenders into shape. While former governor Raghuram Rajan focused on cleaning up banks' balance sheets, Das wants to ensure better governance. But as Shayan Ghosh writes, the way the RBI has been going about this is interesting, and the approach involves taking decisive actions, such as cancelling banking licences and restricting companies from acquiring new customers, thereby targeting their core operations.

🛵 Zomato's share price has surged over 50% since the beginning of the year. The food delivery company distinguishes itself from its startup peers as a consistently profitable and innovative entity. However, Zomato wasn't always this way—it spent its first four years burning through investor money. TN Hari, a senior executive with multiple growth-stage startups, chronicles Zomato's journey from a struggling startup to an investor darling.

🚧 The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) is the largest employment scheme in the world. Given the scale of the programme, there's bound to be some lapses. Year-on-year, the initial budget for MGNREGS has seen cuts— but by the time it's time for implementation and disbursal, the scheme always overshoots its spending. Manjul Paul and Nandita Venkatesan from our Plain Facts rom our Plain Facts team, in collaboration with, present a detailed report on India's rural jobs promise. It's an eye-opening read, complete with detailed graphics that provide a clear perspective on the scheme.

🧘 I'll end this week's issue with my favourite story: Gen Z and the workplace. Devina Sengupta explores how senior managers are navigating relationships with younger employees. The mix of remote work and Gen Z's frankness can create awkward situations for managers. Devina, a self-confessed millennial, spoke with managers, HR professionals, and younger employees to decode this complex relationship. As a Gen Z myself, I have my own opinions, but Devina does an excellent job balancing the perspectives of seasoned professionals like Narayan Murthy against the more laid-back attitudes of some younger employees.

That's all for this week. I hope you all have a pleasant weekend!

If you have any thoughts, ideas, or feedback, please feel free to write to me ( or reply to this mail. We are a constantly evolving news product, so any input is much appreciated!


Shashwat Mohanty

Assistant Editor

Subscriber Experience Team

3.6 Crore Indians visited in a single day choosing us as India's undisputed platform for General Election Results. Explore the latest updates here!

Shashwat Mohanty
Shashwat works in the Subscriptions team, often thinking and executing ideas that could get people to pay for news. He is interested in editorial-led iniatives, as he believes that genuined journalism is still extremely valuable. He is a co-writer of Mint's flagship newsletter, Top of the Morning, and also writes the script of the podcast by the same name. Shashwat is also the producer and acontributer to the Best of the Week newsletter. When he's not missing deadlines, he likes attending live music gigs, discussing baseball, and complaining about the mileage of his car.
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Published: 25 May 2024, 07:00 AM IST
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