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A Look Back at the Top Business Stories of 2023

The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, the conviction of Sam Bankman-Fried, the reassertion of union power and the turmoil at OpenAI were just some of the big business stories in a year that was full of them.

DealBook has chosen photographs of some of the biggest newsmakers, stories and trends from 2023.

In November, Britain hosted an A.I. Safety Summit, which managed to include both the United States and China.Credit…Pool photo by Toby Melville

The world races to regulate A.I.

Artificial intelligence had a good year. Investment poured into A.I. start-ups; big tech firms deployed their scale and cloud computing operations to build ties with the field’s new leaders; and Nvidia became the first chipmaker to hit a market capitalization of $1 trillion thanks to demand for its A.I. semiconductors.

The investor enthusiasm was matched by worry among lawmakers, who often struggled to keep pace with the companies developing the technology. But the first steps toward developing regulations for A.I. have been taken. President Biden issued an executive order in October focused on the technology’s implications for national security; China imposed restrictions on certain types of A.I.; and E.U. lawmakers passed one of the world’s first regimes to regulate the technology.

But amid the disparate efforts, there was also an attempt to achieve some measure of international collaboration. Last month, more than two dozen countries, including the rivals U.S. and China, tech executives and researchers attended Britain’s A.I. Safety Summit. The event didn’t end with an agreement for a new set of rules, but the governments warned of the dangers posed by the most advanced A.I. systems and agreed to keep talking.

Golfers on the LIV circuit celebrating after winning the team championship in October at Trump National Doral in Florida.Credit…Cristobal Herrera-Ulashkevich/EPA, via Shutterstock

The PGA Tour and LIV Golf agree to a merger

On June 6, the PGA Tour, the world’s pre-eminent men’s professional golf circuit, and LIV Golf, a Saudi-funded rival that was poaching top players and posed a serious threat, tentatively agreed to join forces. The decision was a stunning reversal for the PGA Tour and its commissioner, Jay Monahan, and it was negotiated in secret, angering many of the tour’s top players.

The deal demonstrated the growing power of Saudi Arabia in the business of sports. The kingdom has spent billions in soccer, boxing and golf as part of a push to diversify its oil-dependent economy. But many questioned the logic of the deal and pointed to Saudi Arabia’s dismal human rights record. U.S. lawmakers want to know if the Saudi government is using sports to further its strategic objectives as a means of “sportswashing.”

Moviegoers stop in front a poster for “Oppenheimer” before attending a screening of “Barbie,” in July.Credit…Chris Pizzello/Associated Press

‘Barbenheimer’ dominates the box office

In July, two movies that were released on the same day provided a long-awaited signal that theaters had bounced back from the pandemic. “Barbie” is a comedy based on the Mattel doll and directed by Greta Gerwig. “Oppenheimer” is a biopic about the creator of the atomic bomb made by the auteur filmmaker Christopher Nolan. Together, they gave North American multiplexes their biggest weekend since “Avengers: Endgame” arrived in April 2019. Some moviegoers even watched them back-to-back.

The movies opened as the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA, the union representing tens of thousands of actors, were both on strike, bringing the industry — and hopes for a consistent stream of hits — to a near standstill. The W.G.A. banquet for business executives. Those who attended included Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple; Larry Fink, chief executive of BlackRock; and Stephen Schwarzman, chief executive of Blackstone. Xi tried to convey that foreign business was welcome in China, despite the growing challenges of operating there amid a crackdown on companies with Western ties and the strained relationship with the U.S. Yet the dinner showed that many U.S. companies aren’t ready to give up on doing business in the country.

Elon Musk at the DealBook Summit in New York last month.Credit…Amir Hamja/The New York Times

Elon Musk berates advertisers who fled X

At the DealBook Summit on Nov. 29, Elon Musk made waves after he used profane language to denounce companies that had suspended their advertising on X following Musk’s endorsement of an antisemitic conspiracy theory. He also said he hadn’t meant to support bigots, and apologized for his post. The 90-minute interview with Musk, the billionaire whose companies SpaceX, Tesla and X are among the most consequential and talked-about in the world, also touched on his personal philosophy, his concerns about A.I., and the 2024 presidential election.

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