Last Week in AI #219: Google's new slate of generative AI products, Meta unveils generative ads, effects of US sanctions on Chineses AI firms, and more!
Google announces new language model that powers 25 products, Meta tests generative AI for ad creation, US sanctions forcing Chinese AI to advance w/o chips
Introducing PaLM 2
Our take: This event was much anticipated as Microsoft made the first moves toward incorporating the latest in generative AI into products. Google’s ambitious launch of an entirely new slate of AI products seems to have answered the call. It should be clear now that tech companies are pushing full steam ahead on AI, and the speed of both AI model development and deployment are only accelerating. I’m eager to find out how OpenAI/Microsoft, as well as other companies respond in the second half of 2023.
Introducing the AI Sandbox for advertisers and expanding our Meta Advantage suite
Meta is introducing the AI Sandbox, a testing platform for generative AI-powered advertising tools. This includes features like Text Variation, Background Generation, and Image Outcropping to make ads more engaging and efficient. Initially available to a small group, the AI Sandbox will be expanded to more advertisers in July. Additionally, Meta is enhancing the Meta Advantage suite of ad automation tools, allowing advertisers to leverage AI more effectively and flexibly.
Our Take: The introduction of the AI Sandbox and improvements to the Meta Advantage suite demonstrate Meta's evolving focus on integrating artificial intelligence into advertising. As these new tools and features not only streamline ad creation and audience targeting but also reduce the manual labor required for crafting effective ads, the advertising landscape is poised for a significant shift. This may mark a change in perception of Meta’s AI endeavors as the company is seen as playing catch-up in the latest generative AI craze started by ChatGPT.
U.S. Sanctions Drive Chinese Firms to Advance AI Without Latest Chips
It has been months since the US imposed extensive restrictions on China's access to advanced semiconductors and semiconductor manufacturing equipment. The Biden Administration's move was a real attempt to hobble China's capacity for training AI systems at scale. Matt Sheehan described the move as a bet, and in a conversation with me asked whether China might yet be able to do something interesting with trailing-edge (not state-of-the-art) chips. Indeed, a WSJ review of research papers and employee interviews found that Chinese researchers are looking at ways to face restrictions by using fewer or less powerful semiconductors to train state-of-the-art AI systems. While companies such as Baidu stockpiled A100 chips before the US rules came into effect, they have heavily restricted internal use and reserved these chips only for the most computationally intensive tasks.
Our Take: The two paths for China, given the severity of the Biden restrictions, were to (1) develop in-house capacity for producing high-end semiconductors or (2) work with what they've got. I asked Andrew Feldman of Cerebras about (1), and his perception was that it would take a very long time for China to develop internal capability to produce the advanced semiconductors they're being cut off from, given the further restrictions on the tools needed to make those semiconductors (in a sense, they would have to work from the ground up to develop capacity). (2) seems difficult, but maybe easier than (1) if the right training techniques can be developed. It sounds like there are a few promising techniques out there. My thought is that if these techniques do allow China to develop the sort of AI systems the US is able to train at our scale, then China will need to keep a lockdown on those techniques to maintain its competitiveness. If those techniques leak (and scale in the appropriate way), we'll just use them to jump further ahead
Reflected Diffusion Models - "In this blog post, we will be discussing our recent work on Reflected Diffusion Models, which explores this connection to develop a new class of diffusion models which correctly trains for thresholded sampling and respects general boundary constraints."
Advanced Prompt Engineering - "What to do when few-shot learning isn't enough..."
Language models can explain neurons in language models - "Our method currently has many limitations, which we hope can be addressed in future work. We are excited about extensions and generalizations of our approach. Ultimately, we would like to use models to form, test, and iterate on fully general hypotheses just as an interpretability researcher would."
Latest pitch for AI: DeepMind-trained soccer robots - "Video Eggheads at Google's DeepMind have developed a deep learning curriculum that can teach robots how to play soccer badly – and it's wonderful to behold."
Researchers develop novel AI-based estimator for manufacturing medicine - "When medical companies manufacture the pills and tablets that treat any number of illnesses, aches, and pains, they need to isolate the active pharmaceutical ingredient from a suspension and dry it."
TidyBot Personalized Robot Assistance with Large Language Models - "In this work, we investigate personalization of household cleanup with robots that can tidy up rooms by picking up objects and putting them away."
Study Finds Four Predictive Lupus Disease Profiles Using Machine Learning - "A new study using machine learning (ML) identified four distinct lupus disease profiles or autoantibody clusters that are predictive of long-term disease, treatment requirements, organ involvement and risk of death."
Machine learning may help reduce deaths after non-cardiac surgery - "A new study led by a Ph.D. researcher from The University of Western Australia has found that artificial intelligence using computer or machine learning may help reduce common cardiovascular complications after non-cardiac surgery, including heart attacks and injuries to the heart muscle."
Research Finds Machine Learning Combats Warming - "Among all greenhouse gasses, carbon dioxide is the highest contributor to global warming. Without action by 2100, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the average temperature of the world will increase by about 1.5 degrees Celsius."
A machine-learning approach for the early diagnosis of Parkinson's disease - "Among all neurological diseases, the incidence of Parkinson’s disease (PD) has increased significantly. PD is typically diagnosed on the basis of motor nerve symptoms, such as resting tremors, rigidity, and bradykinesia."
GPTZero App Seeks to Thwart AI Plagiarism in Schools, Online Media - "Startup attracted 1.2 million registered users since January"
Machine Learning can be used to improve energy use in cities - "Drexel researchers use machine learning to predict Philadelphia's energy use. The City of Philadelphia has set a goal of halving GHG emissions from the built environment by 2030."
Microsoft’s new way to monetize AI chat - "Today, Microsoft announced a new ad solution to enable online services, apps, and publishers to monetize chat and create more engaging experiences for AI chat users. The Ads for Chat API."
ImageBind: Holistic AI learning across six modalities - "ImageBind is part of Meta’s efforts to create multimodal AI systems that learn from all possible types of data around them. "
Introducing PaLM 2 - "PaLM 2 is a state-of-the-art language model with improved multilingual, reasoning and coding capabilities"
Introducing MPT-7B: A New Standard for Open-Source, Commercially Usable LLMs - "Large language models (LLMs) are changing the world, but for those outside well-resourced industry labs, it can be extremely difficult to train and deploy these models."
Google rebrands AI tools for Docs and Gmail as Duet AI — its answer to Microsoft’s Copilot - "In March, Google announced a bunch of AI features for its Workspace suite of apps in an effort to keep pace with Microsoft’s rapid integration of similar tools."
The OptiDrill project is optimising geothermal drilling operations with Machine Learning - "The OptiDrill project is working on developing a real-time advisory system to overcome the socio-techno-economic uncertainties of deep geothermal drilling."
Enabling conversational interaction on mobile with LLMs - "Intelligent assistants on mobile devices have significantly advanced language-based interactions for performing simple daily tasks, such as setting a timer or turning on a flashlight."
You’re Probably Underestimating AI Chatbots - "Just as the first iPhone reviews mostly missed the device’s huge potential, it’s folly to draw conclusions from today’s unrefined technology."
Google launches ML Hub to help AI developers train and deploy their models - "At its I/O developers conference, Google today announced its new ML Hub, a one-stop destination for developers who want to get more guidance on how to train and deploy their ML models, no matter whether they are in the early stages of their AI career or seasoned professionals."
Google launches an AI coding bot for Android developers - "Google is launching a new AI-powered coding bot for Android developers. During its I/O event on Wednesday, Google announced that the tool, called Studio Bot, will help developers build apps by generating code, fixing errors, and answering questions about Android."
A selection of fine AI-cinema experiments - "I like to compare the current state of AI-cinema with the state of movies at the end of the 19th century and Eadweard Muybridges Horse In Motion, which was featured prominently as an iconic piece of movie history in Jordan Peeles excellent movie Nope."
Stability AI releases Stable Animation SDK, a powerful text-to-animation tool for developers - "Today Stability AI, the world’s leading open-source artificial intelligence company, releases Stable Animation SDK, a tool designed for artists and developers to implement the most advanced Stable Diffusion models to generate stunning animations."
Google drops waitlist for AI chatbot Bard and announces oodles of new features - "Google is adding a smorgasbord of new features to its AI chatbot Bard, including support for new languages (Japanese and Korean), easier ways to export text to Google Docs and Gmail, visual search, and a dark mode."
Harnessing Machine Learning to Make Complex Systems More Energy Efficient - "Getting something for nothing doesn’t work in physics. But it turns out that, by thinking like a strategic gamer, and with some help from a demon, improved energy efficiency for complex systems like data centers might be possible."
Anthropic leapfrogs OpenAI with a chatbot that can read a novel in less than a minute - "An often overlooked limitation for chatbots is memory."
Google’s open-source AI tool let me play my favorite Dreamcast game with my face - "While Wednesday’s Google I/O event largely hyped the company’s biggest AI initiatives, the company also announced updates to the machine learning suite that powers Google Lens and Google Meet features like object tracking and recognition, gesture control, and of course, facial detection."
People with podcasts can't stop talking about AI, Spotify's CEO says, citing a 500% rise in episodes about it in the past month - "As the hype around AI continues to soar, Spotify podcasters are getting in on the action. The number of daily podcast episodes about AI has gone up by almost 500% on Spotify in the last 30 days, CEO Daniel Ek tweeted Thursday."
Chatbots and other AI for learning: A survey of use and views among university students in Sweden - "5,894 students from across Swedish universities were surveyed about their use of and attitudes towards AI for learning purposes, both about chatbots (such ChatGPT) and other AI language tools (such as Grammarly)."
Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s partnering with AI companies to automate drive-thrus - "CKE Restaurants Holdings, the parent company of fast food chains Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, is rolling out artificial intelligence at its drive-thrus."
Neato Robotics is being shut down after 18 years - "In many meaningful ways, the robot vacuum has been a true success story. "
Coding instructors are adding AI to their lessons—before AI replaces them - "At General Assembly, a coding boot camp, ChatGPT is already part of the course. "
The best way to avoid a down round is to found an AI startup - "As we see unicorns slash staff and the prevalence of down rounds spike, it may seem that the startup ecosystem is chock-full of bad news and little else. That’s not precisely the case."
Wendy’s, Google Train Next-Generation Order Taker: an AI Chatbot - "Wendy’s is automating its drive-through service using an artificial-intelligence chatbot powered by natural-language software developed by Google and trained to understand the myriad ways customers order off the menu"
ChatGPT Fever Has Investors Pouring Billions Into AI Startups, No Business Plan Required - "Before their startup had customers, a business plan or even a formal name, former Google AI researchers Niki Parmar and Ashish Vaswani were fielding interest from investors eager to back the next big thing in artificial intelligence. At Google, Ms. Parmar and Mr."
IBM takes another shot at Watson as A.I. boom picks up steam - "On Tuesday, IBM announced WatsonX, an all-in-one artificial intelligence building tool for enterprises."
Peter Thiel’s Palantir is seeing ‘unprecedented’ demand for its military that its CEO calls ‘a weapon that will allow you to win’ - "Based on comments made by Palantir’s executives on a call with analysts late Monday, and the company’s website, here’s what we know about its so-called AIP product: AIP stands for Artificial Intelligence Platform."
Microsoft 365’s AI-powered Copilot is getting more features and paid access - "Microsoft is expanding preview access to its Microsoft 365 Copilot, a digital assistant based on OpenAI’s GPT-4 that brings AI-powered capabilities across Microsoft 365 apps and services."
AI lending firm Upstart jumps as $2 bln funding crushes short sellers - "Shares of highly shorted Upstart Holdings Inc (UPST.O) are on track for their best day in more than two years, squeezing bearish investors, after the artificial intelligence-driven lending marketplace secured an additional $2 billion in funding."
This startup uses AI to design better EV batteries - "Chemix’s batteries also eliminate controversially mined metals like cobalt and nickel."
The Future Is Here: Amazon Is Now Selling Astro, An AI Driven Household Robot - "Nearly two years ago, then Vice President of Product at Amazon, Charlie Tritschler, wrote about Astro, the company’s first iteration of a smart, home robot."
Self-driving truck startup TuSimple receives delisting notice from Nasdaq - "Autonomous truck company TuSimple said on Thursday it had received a delisting warning from the Nasdaq for falling to submit its quarterly report on time. The exchange plans to halt trading in the shares of TuSimple on May 15 if it doesn't appeal, the company said."
Google shared AI knowledge with the world — until ChatGPT caught up - "Google's research teams helped create the AI revolution. Now executives want to make sure the company takes advantage of that knowledge first."
Chinese ChatGPT Rival Mobvoi Picks Banks for $300 Million Hong Kong IPO, Sources Say - "Beijing-based firm makes smart devices and enterprise software"
Everseen raises over $70M for AI tech to spot potential retail theft - "In 2007, Alan O’Herlihy, who previously worked with large SAP installations as well as retail, set out to find a way to help retailers minimize “shrinkage,” or where a store has fewer items in stock than in its recorded inventory."
Microsoft makes strategic investment into Builder.ai, integrates its services into Teams - "Builder.ai tapped into a new wave of businesses wanting their own native apps with a turnkey approach, accelerated by the rapid digitization of life during the pandemic."
SoftBank Says Goodbye to Alibaba, Hello to More AI Investments - "Japanese technology investor SoftBank Group said it was getting ready to go on the offensive again with its eye on investing in artificial-intelligence companies, a buzzy area it has long targeted but failed to capitalize on."
Baidu embeds ChatGPT-like service on flagship online search engine - "Internet and artificial intelligence (AI) giant Baidu, the first Chinese company to launch an alternative to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, has started to embed the service on its flagship online search product, as other major tech firms around the world race to bring similar tools to market."
Goldman Sachs created an A.I.-powered social media startup for corporate use - "Goldman Sachs, known more for its Wall Street bankers than its technology, has just spun out the first startup from its internal incubator."
Microsoft’s 2023 Work Trend Index: AI Can Help Employees, Not Replace Them - "With Microsoft forging ahead with its GPT-4-powered Copilot AI solution and integrating it across its enterprise productivity suite, it’s no surprise that the company’s 2023 Work Trend Index focused on AI and how it can help organizations be more efficient rather than replace employees."
Eventbrite integrates GPT capabilites into platform to aid the event planning process - "Eventbrite, an event management and ticketing website, announced Monday new GPT-powered tools that will help event creators with arguably some of the most tedious, time-consuming steps in event planning—event pages, email campaigns and social media ads. The features will roll out this month."
Microsoft’s new collaboration with an AI startup promises apps for everyone - "Microsoft is putting its money where its artificial intelligence (AI) ambitions are. The Redmond, Washington-based tech giant has invested an undisclosed sum in no-code app builder Builder.ai in a deal that includes an equity investment."
SK Networks Invests US$22 Million in US-based AI Startup Humane - "SK Networks has made a major investment in an artificial intelligence (AI) startup in the United States. The investment was led by Choi Sung-hwan, president of SK Networks’ business division, who led a global investment briefing session last month."
Exclusive: NEA and Pear VC just led a $4.5 million seed investment in Orby, the AI that wants to make workers more efficient - "The scramble into AI startups continues apace as NEA and Pear VC lead a $4.5 million seed investment into stealth startup Orby, which seeks to leverage the power of surveillance to automate away life's most tedious tasks."
AMP Robotics attracts investment from Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund - "AMP Robotics, a Denver, Colorado-based startup creating robotic systems that can automatically sort recyclable material, today announced that it extended its Series C round to $99 million, thanks to an investment from Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund."
‘A race it might be impossible to stop’: how worried should we be about AI? - "Scientists are warning machine learning will soon outsmart humans – maybe it’s time for us to take note"
The influence of AI on trust in human interaction - "As AI becomes increasingly realistic, our trust in those with whom we communicate may be compromised. "
Nearly 50 news websites are ‘AI-generated’, a study says. Would I be able to tell? - "A tour of the sites, featuring fake facts and odd wording, left me wondering what was real"
AI machines aren’t ‘hallucinating’. But their makers are - "Inside the many debates swirling around the rapid rollout of so-called artificial intelligence, there is a relatively obscure skirmish focused on the choice of the word “hallucinate”."
AI’s Ostensible Emergent Abilities Are a Mirage - "According to Stanford researchers, large language models are not greater than the sum of their parts."
China reports first arrest over fake news generated by ChatGPT - "A man in China's Gansu province has been detained for allegedly using ChatGPT to generate a fake story about a train crash, marking China's first arrest in an AI-related probe as Beijing tightens deepfake technology."
Scammer Made Thousands Selling 'Leaked' Frank Ocean Tracks That Were Fake, AI-Generated - "Frank Ocean communities on Discord and leaked music forums were in a frenzy over newly discovered music from the reclusive artist. It turns out most of it was AI-generated and sold by a scammer."
Seth Rogen Says A.I. Can’t Write Good TV: ‘You’d Have to Shove a Lot of Weed in That Thing’ - "Rogen also told IndieWire he is "very disturbed and distressed by the lack of information that I personally get from these streaming services" about "how much money they're making off us.""
AI voice synthesising is being hailed as the future of video games – but at what cost? - "Tech advances that make it easier to recreate human voices also raise ethical questions about the rights of actors and musicians"
Plagiarism machines': Hollywood writers and studios battle over the future of AI - "Hollywood writers have for decades penned sci-fi scripts featuring machines taking over the world. Now, they are fighting to make sure robots do not take their jobs."
The commercial AI-Clones cometh - "You gonna AI-pimp yourself A Snapchat-influencer built an AI-clone of herself and you can interact with it for 1$ per minute."
Where is India in the generative AI race? - "In the high-stakes race for supremacy in the burgeoning field of generative AI, India’s bustling technology ecosystem is facing an uphill battle to catch up to global leaders."
Constitutional AI: RLHF On Steroids - "What Is Constitutional AI? AIs like GPT-4 go through several different types of training. First, they train on giant text corpuses in order to work at all. Later, they go through a process called “reinforcement learning through human feedback” (RLHF) which trains them to be “nice”."
Death of an Author Prophesies the Future of AI Novels - "Stephen Marche composed this novella with extensive input from large language models. It’s required reading for anyone who's thinking about doing the same."
Why Are Home Robots Harder Than Self-Driving Cars to Build? - "We spend a lot of time performing mundane tasks like cleaning, organizing clothes or books, or prepping for cooking. We’ve had glimpses of home robots that can handle these tasks, but they’ve remained an unrealized dream for decades."
The Global Battle to Regulate AI Is Just Beginning - "Europe’s parliament is struggling to agree on new rules to govern AI—showing how policymakers everywhere have a lot to learn about the technology."
India Says It Won't Regulate AI - "India planted its flag in the sand of the global artificial intelligence race on Tuesday as a major agency said the government has no plans to regulate the technology."
Ministers not doing enough to control AI, says UK professor - "One of the professors at the forefront of artificial intelligence has said ministers are not doing enough to protect against the dangers of super-intelligent machines in the future."
EU lawmakers' committees agree tougher draft AI rules - "Key European Union lawmakers agreed on Thursday changes to draft rules to rein in generative artificial intelligence such as ChatGPT and proposed a ban on facial surveillance, moving the EU closer to setting landmark rules for AI."
What Really Made Geoffrey Hinton Into an AI Doomer - "The AI pioneer is alarmed by how clever the technology he helped create has become. And it all started with a joke."
To my fellow Gen Xers worried AI is going to take your job: Take a chill pill - "In an AI-driven workplace, Gen Xers will have new responsibilities, which could suit them well."
Andrew Ng and Fei-Fei Li Discuss Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence - Stanford Online - "Earlier this year Andrew Ng sat down with Professor Fei-Fei Li to discuss the past and present state of Artificial Intelligence, and some of the "audacious questions" still to be answered. If you would like to get started in AI, the new Coursera Machine Learning Specialization developed by Stanford"
GPT Agents and AGI - "⚠️ The Path of Auto GPTs leads to some added complications."
Prompt injection explained, with video, slides, and a transcript - "I gave an introduction to prompt injection, why it’s an important issue and why I don’t think many of the proposed solutions will be effective."
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Great work as always gents, thanks so much for what you do. I wanted to respond to the story you posted about the mother who thought her daughter was being kidnapped - you gave some great advice about making sure parents don't let their kids post public videos of themselves on social which can be used as samples to synthesize their voices, and one of the best pieces of advice I heard from a parent for this was to create a safety question and answer to confirm that it is indeed their child who is speaking. Not sure you want to follow up with that advice, but that sort of thing is really helpful to remind people who might be listening W/kids.