'Bing' me up Scotty

Good Morning! 🌞 This week is chock-full of goodies happening in AI. Including a potential return of our old friend Clippy. Many of you seemed to really enjoy Monday’s issue (thank you!). Let’s keep it going!

What do we have for you today?

Microsoft seals the deal with OpenAI. Bing making a comeback?AI evolving qualitative fields of Design and Operations: UX and Search.Hot Take: Is ChatGPT really something to be impressed by?

Signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours 🎶

The ink is still wet. It’s been the talk of the town all of January! On Tuesday, Microsoft had their earnings call, sprinkling AI all throughout the press release and meeting. Just the day before, OpenAI confirmed their partnership with the legacy tech giant $MSFT in a "multi-year, multi-billion dollar investment."

With the $10B deal, it’s expected that OpenAI will be integrated in every Microsoft commercial product to further push the needle forward in adding value to customers. Cloud and process service and product lines like Azure, Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel, Word, and Bing, to name a few will be injected with OpenAI power.

I’m basically telling you, don’t be surprised if Bing has a full-blown, anime level redemption arc with a new, major rebrand. Even juicier for Microsoft? As a minority holder in OpenAI, Microsoft receives all of the goodness of its tech without assuming direct responsibility for potential ethical headaches down the line.

Though super exciting for generative AI and Microsoft as a whole, the payback model from the investment is a little wonky (in my opinion). It’s also a weird time considering pervasive tech layoffs — Microsoft included; with its ‘strategic decision’ to let go of 10,000 employees.

AI as a Service or AIOps, what sounds better?

AI is the new “IoT”. AI-focused entrepreneurs are innovating task-heavy and detail-oriented fields and skills with the transformative help of AI. Qualitative domains like UX in design, workflows in operations, or even Search and Research are being reimagined.

An AI-enabled document reader, Sage Reader (in beta), was released into the wild this week. Superpowering the way we consume literature — from books to PDFs — Sage Reader features fast semantic search. Users are capable of asking abstract questions and receive direct quotes and lines which answer it.

Similarly, we see AI vector database and vector search startups blossoming. Pinecone, a vector database company makes it easy to build high-performance vector search applications. Ultimately, making uses like semantic search, ranking/recommendation engines, or anomaly detection, even more powerful and seamless.

In the field of design (a personal soft spot I have), we see innovators like QoQo! The AI companion was created to “keep designers curious, efficient, and organized.” QoQo is optimizing UX tasks like user journey mapping, UX synthesis, and user interview script generation.

The way I could have used this for my corporate job. Have y’all ever followed the entire user interview or research process?! Probably not, there’s usually not enough budget (my fellow designers will get this) 😩

Hot Take: Is ChatGPT actually innovative?

“There are half a dozen startups [not just Google or Meta] that basically have very similar technology to it….In terms of underlying techniques, ChatGPT is not particularly innovative”, echoes Meta’s Chief AI Scientist, Yann LeCun.

Among AI Scholars ChatGPT isn’t anything revolutionary. In fact, the technology is merely packaged nicely — made attractive to the everyday person. AI Professionals note that these types of data-driven AI systems have been around for quite some time in labs and companies. LeCun points out language programs like GPT-3 come off the backs of innovations made by established figures; in this case Google’s Transformers in 2017.

As part of the public, few of us ask why we haven’t seen systems like ChatGPT launched from Google, Apple, or Meta? I touched on this in an earlier post, and the short answer is reputational risks. But it was nice to have LeCun reiterate this by commenting with a laugh, “[the tech giants] have too much to lose by putting out systems that make stuff up.” He agrees we’ll see a deluge of ChatGPT replicas and parallel systems, with their own little hints of personality for taste, in the coming months.

Gen AI Deals that make your eyes (and mouth) water 💰

What caught our eye? 👀Fragrance and all things olfactive have a special place in my heart as a Perfumer of my own fine fragrance company, MATTEO PARFUMS. But I’m not here to self-promote. Aside from the personal connection, Osmo is a startup spinout from Google Research and is tackling one of the last senses to be substantially mapped and digitized for computing: smell. With AI, Osmo aims to uncover new aromas, enhance our culinary and olfactory experiences, detect diseases and waste earlier, ward off pests, and more. It’s all tying back to my post in December about multisensory (“multimodal”) AI being great winners in the future.

What caught our eye? 👀Spun out of the University of Leeds and coined as a “decision intelligence startup,” Slingshot provides a Platform as a Service for data preparation, analysis, and simulation that integrates with your current tech stack. Making data science stupid easy and accessible, users are able to then map their data and run simulations (”digital twins”) to test and predict scenarios to optimize their processes.

What caught our eye? 👀Coming off the tailwinds of Apple’s audiobook narration unveil and Microsoft’s VALL-E debut, ElevanLabs is creating a promising AI speech platform determined to disrupt audio storytelling. The London-based company, with their pre-seed funds led by Credo Ventures, has the long-term goal of instantly converting spoken audio between languages.

New developments to spam your #random Slack channel 💬

Things to learn when you need a raise

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Before you go

What to expect when everyone starts using ChatGPT to read and write emails (image props goes to @multikev)

Enjoy the weekend ahead and thank you for the continued growth and love. Tell a friend and give us a shout on Twitter or LinkedIn. We appreciate those of you already doing this. That’s all folks!

— Matthew J. Sánchez (@matthewjsanchez)