Microsoft’s Victory Lap and AI Meets Blockchain

Ready to test its powers and explore, Generative AI is the adventurous cat on Roomba! (photo made using DALL-E). In America it was Super Bowl Sunday for us 🏈 and tomorrow’s Valentine’s Day, so let’s show you some love ❤️

What do we have for you today?

Microsoft should change its name to Usain Bolt: the tech giant ran off the blocks and has a stunning lead on the competition in Search.

Apple is to iPhone as Gen AI is to [everything]: we share some early briefs from a16z on Gen AI uses and I also highlight uses that have yet to be seen executed impressively.

AI and Blockchain sitting in a tree, K-[AI]-S-S-I-N-G: a closer look at how Web3 (blockchain) can be optimized by AI and what can be in store for the future.

Microsoft’s running circles around Google

It's gutsy of Microsoft to challenge Google at its own game. But the results of AI-boosted Bing look promising. If things hold true, the long game might bring prominence to Bing.

CNET reporter Stephen Shankland shared on Saturday how impressed he is with Bing’s search results. In sum he says ‘Bing can run rings around Google Search.’ The true magic coming with the results from more nuanced queries like “What did the US shoot down over Alaska?” (testing its recent knowledge), “Write an email apologizing for being late to a crucial meeting” (demonstrating its customized output ability), and “Are electric toothbrushes better than manual toothbrushes if you brush for 2 minutes?” (testing its ability to debate both sides).

Google’s Bard is yet to make its debut for public consumption. Meaning there’s still time to see how it might impress us. Plus old habits die hard — Google is synonymous with search for so many. But we’re also in a new generation where Gen Z relies on Tik Tok for advice and recommendations. So for now, Microsoft is the leading breed in this Kennel Club 🐶

Generative AI paving the way for new category-defining products

Shared by a16z, Generative AI is undoubtedly the breakthrough consumer-facing tech of the 2020s. From writing articles and tweets to creating children books and full stack code to producing stunning video game assets and editing films. Similar to how the iPhone forever changed our daily interactions with technology—birthing a medium that in turn created staples like Uber, DoorDash, and Airbnb in the palm of our hands—Gen AI will be another medium for the world.

A redeeming aspect about generative AI is its ability to focus on personalization. This pursuit has been the holy grail for so many existing companies for so long; but privacy concerns have generally been the roadblock. Generative AI unlocks new doors and is capable of this level of customization. Personalized use cases include: Generative AI therapy, shopping, dating, coaching, video games, tv shows, marketing and growth for SMBs, audio, and of course learning!

Consumer-facing categories will never be the same. Gen AI is the adventurous cat on Roomba seeking to test and explore! Some areas creatives are anxious and salivating to see executed (and well). Fields like combining generative AI and AR/VR, Gen AI and Web3, and Gen AI and 3D Printing/Physical Design.

What if AI and the Blockchain joined forces?

For all intents and purposes, crypto is having a rough time (”crypto winter”). However many are still bullish on the blockchain and Web3. Why? For starters, Web2 (what I’m currently writing on. In?) still has issues — lack of transparency, large amounts of centralization and private code, and numerous barriers to entry for financial freedom. On the flipside, Web3 is seen to provide transparency and be verifiable, it reinforces and embraces an open-source system (”DeFi” and “DeSci” among other decentralized concepts), and enables individual ownership of data.

Marrying AI and Web3 has the potential to dispose of antiquated ideas and systems to “make way for a new era of transparency, efficiency, and individual financial freedom and data ownership.” Some founders are already on it, like PLAI Labs that raised $32M back in January, blending gaming and community with Web3 and generative AI. Others are keeping the decentralized spirit of Web3 but without building on the blockchain. Nillion the decentralized infrastructure startup raised $20M in December 2022 for instance.

Joining forces, AI and blockchain can provide immense value and disrupt the crypto world that struggled to make sense to the metaphorical majority. Ideas include:

  • Fixing blockchain interoperability with Gen AI prompts to find the highest yield across all blockchains

  • Enhanced security to protect against fraud and stolen tokens

  • Improving your sleep and rewarding you with tokens

Now I can get behind this last one, I needed it like yesterday 😪💤

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

What caught our eye? 👀The Manchester, UK based healthtech embedded with conversational AI capabilities is already integrated into institutions across the US and UK. This funding will develop the skills of doctors and nurses at scale, eventually producing new clinicians autonomously using generative AI models to give digital humans and virtual tutors the ability to hold natural conversations with healthcare professionals.

New developments to spam your #random Slack channel 💬

  • 🌙 Dormint, the Web3 & AI “sleep-to-earn” platform

  • 💡 Galileo, instantly turning your ideas into designs and outputs complete Figma files

  • 🖼️ Diagram’s suite of generative creativity tools like Genius and Magician making it your AI companion for Figma

Things to learn when you need a raise

Want access to the Generative AI investors database? Share and subscribe to AI In the Middle (below) to receive it! ⬇️

Before you go

February’s first 13 days have felt like a year, phew. A summation of some of the happenings this month alone.

That’s all folks. Thanks for reading and subscribing. Most importantly for sharing the wealth too! Hello to all of our new readers. I'll be back Thursday.

— Matthew J. Sánchez (@matthewjsanchez)