Tag: Palantir

07
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Emails: Palantir blames Morgan Stanley for ‘blemished’ direct listing

  • In two emails sent internally this weekend, Palantir Technologies blamed Morgan Stanley for a “failure” that left some employee and alumni shareholders unable to sell their shares when the company made its public debut last Wednesday.
  • The problem stemmed from a glitch with Morgan Stanley’s trading platform Shareworks.
  • In an unsigned email sent late in the evening Sunday, Palantir said it had heard from Morgan Stanley that the bank was in a “war room” all weekend working to determine which shareholders were owed compensation. 
  • A spokesperson for Shareworks at Morgan Stanley said the issue was a “slowness” that “may have resulted in delayed logins into our system.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Palantir placed blame squarely on Morgan Stanley following a glitch in the bank’s trading software Shareworks on Wednesday, according two unsigned emails sent to “Palantirians” on Saturday and Sunday, which were obtained by Business Insider.

That glitch temporarily prevented some employee and alumni shareholders from selling shares during the tech company’s direct listing.

Morgan Stanley “intends to ‘make people whole’ who were affected by the Shareworks failure,” Palantir wrote in the email from Saturday.

“We have and will continue to put the weight of the company behind protecting our hobbits and helping make sure Morgan Stanley is good to its word,” that email said, referring to employees with a reference to “Lord of the Rings.”

“The issues that we encountered with Shareworks are very frustrating. And while it was a successful listing (we pulled off the near impossible in getting the company listed and out in less than 6 months) it was blemished by Shareworks’ failure,” that email added.

A spokesperson for Palantir declined to comment on the emails. 

A spokesperson for Shareworks by Morgan Stanley told Business Insider that it had “experienced slowness that may

02
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

AI Weekly: Palantir, Twitter, and building public trust into the AI design process

The news cycle this week seemed to grab people by the collar and shake them violently. On Wednesday, Palantir went public. The secretive company with ties to the military, spy agencies, and ICE is reliant on government contracts and intent on racking up more sensitive data and contracts in the U.S. and overseas.

Following a surveillance-as-a-service blitz last week, Amazon introduced Amazon One, which allows touchless biometric scans of people’s palms for Amazon or third-party customers. The company claims palm scans are less invasive than other forms of biometric identifiers like facial recognition.

On Thursday afternoon, in the short break between an out-of-control presidential debate and the revelation that the president and his wife had contracted COVID-19, Twitter shared more details about how it created AI that appears to prefer white faces over black faces. In a blog post, Twitter chief technology officer Parag Agrawal and chief design officer Dantley Davis called failure to publish the bias analysis at the same time as the rollout of the algorithm years ago “an oversight.” The Twitter executives shared additional details about a bias assessment that took place in 2017, and Twitter says it’s working on moving away from the use of saliency algorithms. When the problem initially received attention, Davis said Twitter would consider getting rid of image cropping altogether.

There are still unanswered questions about how Twitter used its saliency algorithm, and in some ways the blog post shared late Thursday brings up more questions than it answers. The blog post simultaneously states that no AI can be completely free of bias, and that Twitter’s analysis of its saliency algorithm showed no racial or gender bias. A Twitter engineer said some evidence of bias was found during the initial assessment.

Twitter also continues to share none of the results from

30
Sep
2020
Posted in technology

Secretive, never profitable Palantir makes market debut

BOSTON (AP) — Seventeen years after it was born with the help of CIA seed money, the data-mining outfit Palantir Technologies is finally going public in the biggest Wall Street tech offering since last year’s debut of Slack and Uber.

Never profitable and dogged by ethical objections for assisting in the Trump administration’s deportation crackdown, Palantir forged ahead Wednesday with a direct listing of its stock, gaining 31% in its first trading day.

Rather than selling newly minted shares to raise money; Palantir listed existed shares for public trading. After a delay, trading began after noon and the stock closed at $9.50 after reaching a peak of $11.42.


The low-key stock strategy was in character for a secretive company long reliant on spies, cops and the military as customers — and whose founders are keeping voting control of the company.

The big question for both investors and company management: Can Palantir successfully transition from a business built on the costly handholding of government customers to serving corporate customers at scale? The company is a hybrid provider of software and consulting services that often embeds its own engineers with clients.

Analysts say its future depends on selling multinationals on its tools for gathering disparate data from an ever-expanding data universe and using artificial-intelligence technology to find previously undetectable patterns. Those can theoretically guide strategic decisions and identify new markets much as they have aided in tracking terrorists and sorting military intelligence.

The company sets itself apart from most U.S. technology providers, and just moved its headquarters to Denver from Silicon Valley. Palantir colors itself patriotic and belittles other tech firms that won’t unquestionably support U.S. dominance in war-fighting and intelligence.

“Our software is used to target terrorists and to keep soldiers safe,” CEO Alex Karp wrote in a letter accompanying Palantir’s

30
Sep
2020
Posted in technology

Palantir Shares Go Up in Wall Street Debut

Palantir Technologies, a company that helps government agencies analyze vast amounts of digital data, saw its shares jump in its Wall Street debut on Wednesday in a sign of continued investor excitement for money-losing software companies.

The company’s shares began trading at $10 on the New York Stock Exchange, a 38 percent increase from a “reference price” of $7.25 set Tuesday evening, and closed the day at $9.73.

Palantir is one of many companies rushing to go public before the election on Nov. 3. It hit the market the morning after a presidential debate seemed to foreshadow political turmoil that could rattle investors in the coming months.

Still, as the rest of the American economy has struggled with mass unemployment and the closing of businesses big and small, Wall Street has been welcoming to new public offerings. The three months that ended with September were the busiest quarter for initial public offerings in 20 years, with 81 offerings set to raise $28.5 billion, according to Renaissance Capital, which tracks I.P.O.s.

Shares of Asana, a collaboration software provider, and Velodyne, which makes sensors for self-driving cars, also began trading on Wednesday. Asana’s stock rose, valuing the company at $4.4 billion, up from its last private valuation of $1.5 billion, while Velodyne’s stock fell 24 percent to $18.69.

Recent successful debuts have included the gaming company Unity Software, the software provider JFrog, and Snowflake, a business technology company whose value increased more than fivefold in its initial public offering this month.

Airbnb, DoorDash and several other tech companies are also expected to go public in the coming months.

Investors embraced Palantir despite its inability to turn a profit and the many controversies swirling around it. Among them is the highly unusual way Palantir has kept most of its corporate voting power in

30
Sep
2020
Posted in technology

AOC asked the SEC to investigate Palantir ahead of direct listing

  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission asking for the agency to investigate the data-mining company Palantir ahead of its stock-market debut, which it made on Wednesday.
  • Among the congresswoman’s concerns is Palantir’s longtime penchant for secrecy, which she wrote could hurt future investors.
  • Other concerns listed are its domestic and foreign contracts, including with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, law-enforcement agencies, and foreign governments that “may present human rights risks.”
  • Palantir, a famed Silicon Valley startup founded in 2003, has a reputation for being secretive and has come under scrutiny recently ahead of its direct listing.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote a letter to the US Securities and Exchange Commission in mid-September asking the agency to investigate the secretive data firm Palantir as the company gained attention with its stock-exchange plans.

In the letter, the congresswoman listed several concerns pertaining to the Peter Thiel-founded Silicon Valley startup. But her primary grievance was the startup’s failure to fully disclose information regarding its business practices, omissions that could lead to material risks for future investors and national security issues as it begins trading, the letter said.

According to Ocasio-Cortez, one such partial omission was the funding it received from In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture-capital arm. A 2009 shareholder report from Palantir revealed that In-Q-Tel held a 10% share in Palantir, but the firm’s 2020 S-1 filing did not say whether that investment was still in play or how many Palantir shares In-Q-Tel held. Palantir is listed as one of In-Q-Tel’s portfolio companies on the venture group’s website.

Palantir’s contracts with foreign governments were also cited, some of which involve governments “known to engage in corrupt practices and human rights violations,” such as Qatar, Ocasio-Cortez wrote in the letter.

Palantir’s domestic contracts have