Every stage of history has its stand-out names. The 15th century brought us Joan of Arc and Leonardo Da Vinci. Isaac Newton came to us in the 17th century, while it took Mark Twain until the 19th century to grace humanity with his presence. Now, in the 21st century, “stand-out names” takes on a slightly different meaning (Kardashians, Trump…), but in years to come, one man’s name will undoubtedly be remembered - Elon Musk. Like him or not, he’s done things. And by the looks of it, he’s about to do much more.
Hottest stories: Elon’s xAI aims to understand the universe, Harris talks more nonsense, and Shopify to sell you a whole lot more stuff you don’t need
TL;DR Rundown: China’s AI rollout, a good and bad AI prediction, and Ukraine’s war AIs are “out of this world.”
Tool of the day: Meet 2, Claude 2.
Share and see: Mona Lisa in her natural setting
Today’s biggest stories if you’re in a rush
Musks’ new AI startup, x.AI, aims to understand the universe. Nice.
Elon Musk, SpaceX and Tesla founder, owner of Twitter, modern-day Albert-Einstein-meets-Nikola-Tesla, just announced the launch of x.AI, his new AI company. Staffed by the crème de la crème of AI researchers, xAI team members include alumni from DeepMind, OpenAI, Google Research, and Microsoft Research.
Musk aims to achieve many things with xAI, two of them being “to understand the true nature of the universe” and also to challenge existing AI companies with “politically correct” systems. One thing is for sure: he’s here to make waves, and he’s here to stay.
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Remember ethics class in high school? Where teachers talked about morality, right and wrong, how to be good and how not to be bad? Well, Kamala Harris has just had that same talk, but instead of with high schoolers, she was talking at the White House with “civil society leaders in the (AI) space.”
It’s kind of unclear exactly what was discussed, but there was a lot of fancy talk. Talk like: “It is a false choice to suggest that we either can advance innovation or we protect consumers” and “We must ensure that we don’t slow down innovation, but in that process, we must also ensure we don’t trample on people’s rights.”
Unfortunately, it sounds like an awful lot of talk-about-nothing while the administration tries and figure out its stance on AI. And, by extension, America’s global position as an AI power - because one thing is for certain: places like Ukraine and China are developing serious, field-tested AI, and are most certainly advancing innovation.
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As of June 2023, there are over 6 million Shopify stores online, processing well over $80B in order value. That’s an efficient selling machine. And it’s about to get a whole lot better. Introducing Sidekick, Shopify’s AI assistant to help merchants optimize their stores, time discounts, run ads, and automate email flows, the must-buy-now impulse of online consumers is getting a proper AI tickling in the very near future.
Listicle of what else is happening today
AI Ukraine: Ukraine is using “out of this world” AI in the war against Russia -stuff so advanced that western governments are struggling to track it.
Blue pill or red pill?: Marc Andreeson, VC billionaire, says AI could either A: completely eliminate the need for labor, and give everyone a universal basic income, or B: lead to Chinese world domination. It’s one of the two guys.
Just too much: AI junk is flooding the internet, with websites made from AI content multiplying like flies.
Take notes: Google’s AI-assisted notetaking app, NotebookLM, is here to help you make sense of it all.
Real, but manageable: Gates, that’s Bill, says he doesn’t doubt the threats of AI are legitimate - he says they’re also avoidable.
Chinese roll: China is rolling out its AI slower than the West - but it’s doing so with far greater regulation and precision.
90% gone: CEO lays-off 90% of his staff after developing an AI that can do their job better and faster.
Nvidia invests: Nvidia, the company powering the AI storm with its GPU chips, just invested $50M in Recursion, a biotech company using AI for drug research.
TOOL OF THE DAY
This one can’t be missed
Founded by former senior members of the OpenAI team (to which Claude 2 is a direct competitor), Claude 2 is a “more ethical, steerable AI chatbot” than other products on the market (apparently).
Preliminary testing shows Claude 2 to be slightly less effective than ChatGPT at nuanced tasks, however Anthropic aims to differentiate themselves via their ethical guardrails, which ChatGPT lack:
"We have an internal red-teaming evaluation that scores our models on a large representative set of harmful prompts, using an automated test while we also regularly check the results manually," - which ensures Claude 2 is less susceptible to jailbreaks or nefarious uses.