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OpenAI, Microsoft, Google, and Anthropic form an industry AI safety forum
⚡ Today’s Highlights
📰 News: OpenAI, Microsoft, Google, and Anthropic are establishing a safety advisory board to set guide AI safety
💰 Funding: Q-CTRL, Protect AI, Ampcontrol, ScorePlay, Cyclops Security, HumanFirst, Effectiv, and Materials Nexus
🌎 Content: Marc Andreessen shared his reasons to be optimistic about AI on Breaking Points and Peter Diamandis interviewed Stability AI CEO Emad Mostaque
📰 Today's Top Stories
(4 min read) (Source: OpenAI)
TLDR: OpenAI, Microsoft, Google, and Anthropic have formed the Frontier Model Forum to ensure the safe development of "frontier AI" models with high-risk capabilities.
Frontier AI models pose unique regulatory challenges due to their unpredictable dangerous capabilities.
The Forum aims to coordinate safety research, set best practices, and create benchmarks for advanced AI models. The industry body will collaborate with policymakers, academics, and civil society to address trust and safety risks.
The Big Picture: The formation of the Frontier Model Forum showcases the AI industry's commitment to addressing safety concerns surrounding high-risk AI models. By collaborating and promoting best practices, these tech leaders aim to enhance transparency and responsible innovation in the AI landscape. The growing focus on AI regulation demonstrates the need for ethical and standardized approaches to AI development, ensuring that AI technologies contribute positively to society while mitigating potential risks.
(6 min read) (Source: VentureBeat)
TLDR: Yesterday, Stability AI introduced Stable Diffusion XL (SDXL) 1.0, a powerful text-to-image generation model that improves image quality and allows users to create highly detailed images with less effort.
SDXL 1.0 is built on a 3.5 billion-parameter base model, enabling better accuracy and understanding of various concepts.
The model's fine-tuning process is enhanced with ControlNet, making it easier and faster to achieve optimal image results with minimal input.
The SDXL 1.0 base model is open and available to the community under a CreativeML ethical use license, with various accessibility options like Amazon Bedrock and SageMaker Jumpstart.
The Big Picture: With improved image quality and simplified fine-tuning, SDXL 1.0 holds significant potential in various industries, driving innovations in creativity, design, and communication. The open availability of the base model encourages collaborative development and paves the way for an ecosystem of AI tools and applications.
(5 min read) (Source: Reuters)
TLDR: Amazon's AI service, Amazon Bedrock is attracting thousands of customers like Sony and Ryanair to create AI applications with generative technology for text and images, the company announced yesterday.
As part of its AI push, Amazon announces AWS HealthScribe, allowing software vendors to build apps for transcribing and analyzing doctor-patient conversations, potentially transforming the healthcare industry.
Amazon is also planning upgrades to Alexa with generative AI, transforming it into a more conversational and action-oriented assistant for its half a billion devices.
(3 min read) (Source: Shopify)
TLDR: Shopify introduced Shopify Magic, a suite of AI-enabled features integrating generative AI across products and workflows.
Shopify Magic generates personalized content for store building, marketing, customer support, and back-office management tasks.
Sidekick, a conversational AI assistant, understands and executes tasks, offers business insights, and can modify merchant shop designs.
The Big Picture: The accessibility and personalization offered by AI have significant implications for e-commerce, transforming how entrepreneurs build and grow their businesses.
💰 Funding News
1. Q-CTRL, a global quantum technology company, raised a $54M Series B. Their AI-enhanced quantum infrastructure software stabilizes quantum hardware and reduces errors in algorithms by over 1,000x, enabling breakthroughs in materials science, optimization, and drug discovery.
IBM announced that Q-CTRL will provide performance management software natively to all of its cloud-connected quantum computers.
Q-CTRL has demonstrated significant growth and commercial traction. They entered 2023 with over $15M in bookings and closed the first half of 2023 cash-flow positive, while growing to over 100 staff.
The round was led by Morpheus Ventures (Damien Petty, Partner)
The funds will drive technical innovation, expand the product portfolio, and scale operations to make quantum technology more useful. Q-CTRL aims to accelerate growth and expand offerings across various industries, shaping the future of quantum computing and sensing.
2. Protect AI, a startup focusing on AI security, has raised $35M in a Series A round. Their flagship tool, AI Radar, provides visibility into AI model components and generates a "ML bill of materials" to identify and address practical threats in the AI and machine learning supply chain.
The round was led by Evolution Equity Partners, with participation from Salesforce Ventures, Acrew Capital, boldstart ventures, Knollwood Capital, and Pelion Ventures.
The funding will be used to enhance their platform capabilities, expand research efforts, and launch new open-source projects. Protect AI plans to grow its workforce and increase its impact in addressing AI security "weak points."
3. Ampcontrol, a leading AI-powered software for electric fleets, raised $10M in Series A funding. They provide real-time decisions and monitoring tools to reduce EV charger downtime and electric fueling costs for fleet operators.
The round was led by The Westly Group, with participation from existing investors AngelPad and Lorimer Ventures.
Emily Fritze, Partner at The Westly Group, commented “Every commercial vehicle manufacturer is moving electric and will need a new suite of tools to manage the operations and energy of their fleet. [...] Ampcontrol has built the strongest, most reliable, and advanced charging product in the market.”
With the funding, Ampcontrol aims to further its growth and become the leading software platform for electric fleets. The software offers 24/7 hardware monitoring, fleet management, dynamic load management, V2G integrations, and has a best-in-class uptime of 99.995%.
4. ScorePlay, an AI-powered media operating system for sports organizations, raised a $5M Seed round. They provide an all-in-one solution for managing and distributing photos, videos, and other media content.
The round was led by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian's Seven Seven Six, with participation from other athletes like NBA All-Star Kevin Durant and tennis champion Dominic Thiem, among others.
The AI-powered platform offers powerful search capabilities, auto-tagging of assets, live mode for real-time content, and a single source of truth for all uploads, helping sports organizations save time, increase ROI, maintain consistency, and enhance visual storytelling.
With the new funding, ScorePlay plans to grow its tech team, expand offices in New York and Paris, and solidify its position as the go-to media solution in the sports industry.
5. Cyclops Security, a cybersecurity startup, raised $6.4M in seed funding from investors like CrowdStrike Falcon Fund and Insight Partners. The funding will be used to expand the team and further innovate their search platform, which allows security teams to analyze data with plain English queries for actionable insights in minutes, benefiting various sectors like FinTech, insurance, high tech, and manufacturing.
6. HumanFirst, a data productivity suite, raised $5M CAD in seed funding led by Panache Ventures (Scott Loong, Partner), with support from Inovia, Real Ventures, BoxOne Ventures, and angel investors like Kevin Mahaffey. The funding will be used to build dependable custom prompts and AI models to transform conversational data into better business insights, automation, and CX experiences, addressing the demand for scalable solutions in natural language understanding and generation.
7. Fintech company Effectiv, a real-time fraud and risk management platform, raised $4.5M in additional seed funding, bringing the total raise to over $9M. Better Tomorrow Ventures led the round, joined by Accel, which also led the pre-seed round in 2021, and angel investors. The funds will be used for product development, including the release of DeviceAI, a new device biometrics technology for analyzing and flagging suspicious user behavior on a device.
8. Materials Nexus, a deep tech AI and quantum mechanics company, raised £2M in a Seed round led by Ada Ventures. They accelerate material discovery using AI models, focusing on net-zero technologies like renewable energy generation and energy storage. The funds will scale their operations and develop sustainable innovations.
👀 More Reading:
Workers don’t feel AI is a threat to their jobs yet, Pew survey finds (The Washington Post)
AI will take more jobs from women than men by 2030, report says (The Washington Post)
America Already Has an AI Underclass (The Atlantic)
A new kind of thermal imaging sees the world in striking colors (Popular Science)
🌎 Fresh Content
This week was another filled with great interviews by many of the technologists at the forefront of AI. These are the best and most insightful discussions we found.
Marc Andreessen, of Andreessen Horowitz, recently went on Joe Rogan’s podcast to discuss all things AI. While that podcast was over 2.5 hrs long this 20 min interview on Breaking Points was a good run through of all the reasons Andreessen is optimistic on the promise of AI and what he’s actually afraid of.
2. Khosla Ventures featured two short 25 min talks we found really insightful.
First, Amjad Massad, CEO of Replit, spoke about how software development is evolving in the age of AI. He highlights how it's becoming easier by enabling faster development and increased demand for software. The bottleneck has shifted from coding to the process of deploying and running software. As we move closer to the goal of just speaking software into existence, an AI Cloud Dev community can blur the lines between end-users and developers.
We were especially inspired by his example of how at a recent hackathon, a non-technical Product Manager was able to build a much more sophisticated tool than the other technical participants, thanks to the help of Replit + AI.
Next, Ilya Sutskever, Co-founder and Chief Scientist at OpenAI, is joined by Sven Strohband, Managing Director at Khosla Ventures, in an interview where they define AGI, discuss the many safety concerns, and some practical advice for entrepreneurs that are building products on top of LLM’s.
3. If you’re looking for a fun discussion around some of the various applications of AI, Matt Ginsberg software engineer at X, the Google moonshot factory, joined Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson on the StarTalk Podcast. They discuss how AI will affect sports, if it can help detect and prevent natural disasters, and the various types of intelligence that AI can display.
4. Lastly, the most insightful interview we found this week was a discussion between Peter Diamandis, founder of the X Prize and Singularity University, and Emad Mostaque, CEO and Founder of Stability AI. This is an excellent discussion between two people who are deeply knowledgeable about all aspects of the industry.
They cover everything from how it will specifically affect every industry including Journalism, Hollywood, Politics, Healthcare, Education, Business, and Software development. They also touch on some of the bigger picture ways AI will disrupt the fundamentals of our civilization and how this will be the dawn of a new era of human potential.