What are Amazon’s AI ambitions?

Everything you need to know in AI this week

It’s been a busy week in AI. In addition to all the AI news you’re about to hear, the Writers Guild of America finally reached a deal with Hollywood studios after five long months of strikes—which became a sort of proxy battle for human labor vs. AI labor. FYI, many are considering the deal a win for humans. Per the agreement →

  • AI can’t be used to write scripts.

  • AI-generated writing can’t be used as source material.

  • But individual writers can still choose to use AI tools if they wish.

What’s your take on the issue? Are the restrictions justified? Curious to hear your thoughts. :)


Amazon’s Deep Pockets Hit AI

Marissa Leshnov for The New York Times

Amazon’s relationship with AI? It’s getting serious. News broke this week that Amazon agreed to invest up to $4 billion in Anthropic, the AI startup behind ChatGPT rival Claude 2.

The details:

  • Amazon is initially investing $1.25 billion in Anthropic with the option to increase its investment to $4 billion over time.

  • Neither party disclosed just how big of a stake Amazon acquired, but Amazon said its investment amounted to a minority position.

  • As part of the deal, Amazon’s employees and cloud customers will also gain early access to Anthropic’s newest tech.

Mutually beneficial: Amazon Web Services (AWS) CEO Adam Selipsky said the deal "will help make Anthropic's models better [and] will help make [Amazon’s] chip technology and AI infrastructure better.” In return for the cash, Anthropic committed to using AWS as its primary cloud provider for mission-critical workloads. It will also help develop tech for Amazon's in-house chip production.

The background? Anthropic reportedly plans to build a “frontier-model” (called Claude-Next) that’s 10x more capable than today’s most powerful AI. To do so, the startup hopes to raise as much as $5 billion in the next two years—and Amazon seems like as good (and deep-pocketed) a place as any to start.

Big picture: Amazon is flexing its muscles to compete with Big Tech-turned-AI rivals like Microsoft and Google. Just last week, Amazon caused a stir by unveiling its own Alexa generative AI.

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🗞️ Other AI News & Articles

Major Meta News

At this week’s two-day Meta Connect event, the company formerly known as Facebook made some major AI announcements. Here are some of the new features Zuck is rolling out:

  1. Meta AI. Powered by Meta’s Llama 2 model, Meta AI is a personal AI assistant for Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. It’s basically a chatbot with access to real-time information thanks to a partnership with Bing. Meta AI can also generate images from text prompts (for free).

  2. AI personalities. Meta’s launching 28 AI chatbot characters that have unique personalities and interests. Much like Character.AI, these characters are designed to humanize the chatbot experience.

  3. Ray-Bans (seriously). Meta is partnering with Ray-Ban to launch a new pair of smart glasses that act as a camera with audio for live streaming videos, snapping pictures, or making phone calls. They come with a Meta AI integration that makes the whole experience hands-free.

ChatGPT Goes Multimedia

Since its launch last November, ChatGPT has been text-first. But now, OpenAI is rolling out an upgrade that allows users to prompt the chatbot not just by typing in commands, but by speaking them out loud or by uploading pictures.

We’re used to frequent changes to ChatGPT, but this one’s different. While past changes have been all about the chatbot’s abilities, this one’s about how users interact with it.

Who can try it out? The new feature will launch for paying customers within the next two weeks. Everyone else will get access “soon after,” according to OpenAI.

Podcasts Get the AI Treatment

Spotify announced an AI voice translation tool which translates podcasts into different languages—in the host’s own voice.

The pilot: The new feature is initially being tested on a few popular podcasters (like Lex Fridman and Steven Bartlett) on a select number of episodes. So far, Spanish is the only available language, with German and French rolling out soon.

Zoom out: AI voice translation is shaping up to be the next big thing in the creator economy. It opens up creators’ content to entirely new audiences—without sacrificing the listening experience. YouTube is also working on AI-powered video dubbing.

Everything else:

  • Getty Images is launching an AI-powered image generator that promises to avoid copyright infringement.

  • Apple may be quiet in the AI space, but it’s also the biggest acquirer of AI companies since 2017.

  • The CIA is working on its own version of ChatGPT.

  • China is reportedly building a massive particle accelerator to power a new AI chip factory.

📺️ This Week’s Videos to Watch:

More important AI news: Dive deeper into this week’s hottest AI news stories in my latest YouTube video:

Productivity hacks: Save several hours a week by making your own AI automations—turns out, it’s actually not that difficult. I made this step-by-step tutorial.

Some insights: Get Zuck’s view on the transformative potential of AI—and whether he thinks his cage fight with Elon Musk will actually happen.

There you have it! Curious to see whether those Meta Ray-Bans will actually catch on or become Google Glasses 2.0…what do you think?

—Matt (FutureTools.io)

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You rock! See ya next week. :)

P.S. This newsletter is 100% written by a human. Okay, maybe 96%.