2º AI, Robots & Automation - 8th July


  • Thousands of performers who signed their voice rights away in perpetuity years ago are now being forced to compete with AI-cloned versions of their voices (Madhumita Murgia / Financial Times)  (🔐)
  • Valve won't publish Steam games that use copyright-infringing AI artwork, contrary to reports claiming that the company will not allow any AI-generated content (Wes Davis / The Verge)
  • Generative AI can make experienced programmers more productive, potentially eliminating tasks done by junior developers as companies use the tech to save money (Christopher Mims / Wall Street Journal)  (🔐)
  • How researchers at Amazon and other companies are making AI-powered devices and bots more conversational by tackling the voice disentanglement issue (Bernhard Warner / New York Times)  (🔐)
  • A look at uncensored and loosely moderated AI chatbots like WizardLM-Uncensored and Open Assistant setting off a polarizing debate about free-speech and risks (Stuart A. Thompson / New York Times)  (🔐)
  • An analysis of whether generative AI will destroy, displace, create, and accelerate jobs over years like other automation waves, or if this time is different (Benedict Evans)
  • How some crypto miners want to repurpose their idle rigs to train AI models, which isn't easy or cheap but can be more affordable than Big Tech's cloud services (Wall Street Journal)
  • OpenAI temporarily pulls its Browse with Bing beta feature from ChatGPT Plus after users found that requesting a URL's full text let them bypass some paywalls (Kevin Okemwa / Windows Central)
  • Google updates its privacy policy to say the company may use “publicly available information” to train its AI models and build products like Translate and Bard (Thomas Germain / Gizmodo)
  • How SoftBank is playing catch-up despite focusing on AI since 2018; PitchBook says the firm invested in just one of the 26 generative AI startups valued at $1B+ (Eliot Brown / Wall Street Journal)
  • OpenAI forms Superalignment, a team for developing ways to steer and control “superintelligent” AI systems, with access to 20% of its compute secured to date (Kyle Wiggers / TechCrunch)
  • Sensor Tower: ChatGPT iOS app downloads and Bing app downloads in the US were down 38% MoM in June 2023; Bank of America: visits to ChatGPT were down ~11% MoM (Kif Leswing / CNBC)
  • A look at AI Dungeon and other games that let players use generative AI to create in-game content, raising questions about authorship, ownership, and copyright (Will Bedingfield / Wired)
  • A look at Samsung's efforts to make AI chips; some skeptics question if the company can become indispensable in generative AI as in smartphones and high-res TVs (Chang Che / New York Times) (🔐)
  • NYC's law on AI use in hiring takes effect, requiring annual software audits, race and gender impact disclosures, and up to $1,500 fines per violation per day (Lauren Weber / Wall Street Journal)
  • Mastercard says nine big UK banks, including Lloyds and NatWest, signed up to use its AI-based Consumer Fraud Risk system, trained on years of transaction data (Olivia Solon / Bloomberg)(🔐)
  • The US military is running an eight-week exercise of five LLMs trained on classified info to test AI-enabled data for decision-making, sensors, and firepower (Katrina Manson / Bloomberg)(🔐)
  • Framing AI debates as a schism between people worried about rogue AI and those illuminating harms is ahistorical and obscures research, journalism, and activism (Emily M. Bender)
  • Lightning Labs unveils tools that let developers create AI agents to leverage GPT function calls to hold, send, and receive bitcoin via the Lightning Network (Frederick Munawa / CoinDesk)
  • Alibaba unveils Tongyi Wanxiang, an AI-based image generator initially available to enterprise customers in beta, meant to rival Midjourney and OpenAI's DALL-E (Josh Ye / Reuters)
  • Huawei releases Pangu Model 3.0, its new cloud computing AI model for operations, product R&D, and software engineering, based on its own hardware and platforms (Nikkei Asia)

Startups raising funds

  • NoTraffic, an Israeli autonomous traffic management platform, raised $50m in Series B funding. M&G Investments led, and was joined by VNV Global, UMC Capital and insiders Grove Ventures, Vektor Partners, Next Gear Ventures, North First Ventures, Meitav Investment House, Alchimia Investments and TMG. Link
  • CalypsoAI, an AI testing and security startup, raised $23m in Series A-1 funding. Paladin Capital Group led, and was joined by Lockheed Martin Ventures, Hakluy Capital, Expeditions Fund, Auren Hoffman and Anne and Susan Wojcicki. Link
  • Slang.ai, a New York-based phone answering product, raised $20m in Series A funding. Homebrew led, and was joined by Stage 2 Capital, Wing VC, Underscore VC, Active Capital, Collide Capital, Tom Colichio and Scott Belsky. Link
  • Zenarate, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based provider of simulation training software for improving sales agent performance, raised $15m led by Volition Capital. Link
  • JuliaHub, a Cambridge, Mass.-based platform for modeling, simulation and user built applications, raised $13m led by AEI HorizonX. Link
  • Realtime Robotics, a Boston-based industrial robotics startup, raised $9.5m in Series A extension funding from Shinhan GIB and Kyobo Life Insurance. Link
  • Loora, an Israeli AI startup focused on English fluency, raised $9.25m in seed funding. Emerge led, and was joined by Two Lanterns Venture Partners and Kaedan Capital. Link
  • BentoML, an SF-based AI app development platform, raised $9m in seed funding. DCM Ventures led, and was joined by Bow Capital. Link
  • Datapeople, a New York-based SaaS recruiting predictability platform, raised $13m in Series A funding co-led by GreatPoint Ventures and New Markets Venture Partners. Link
  • Typeface, an SF-based provider of generative AI for the enterprise, raised $100m in Series B funding at a $1b valuation. Salesforce Ventures led, and was joined by Lightspeed Venture Partners, Madrona, GV, Menlo Ventures and M12. Link
  • Reka, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based developer of custom enterprise AI models, raised $58m. DST Global Partners and Radical Venturesco-led, and were joined by Snowflake Ventures. Link
  • Sixty AI, a Portland, Ore.-based personal relationship management startup, raised $3.5m from 468 Capital. Link
  • Causely, a Boston-based "casual AI" platform for IT, raised $8.8m in seed funding. 645 Ventures led, and was joined by GlassWing Ventures, Tau Ventures and insider Amity Ventures. Link
  • Bdeo, a Madrid-based visual intelligence solution for insurers, raised €7.5m from Armilar, Hollard, The Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) and Íope Ventures. Link
  • Telexistence, a Japanese robotics startup focused on the retail and logistics sectors, raised $170m in Series B funding from SoftBank, Airbus Ventures, Globis Capital Partners, Monoful Partners and KDDI Open Innovation Fund. Link

M&A and Private equity deals

  • Databricks, an SF-based unified data analytics platform valued by VCs at $38b, will pay $1.3b to buy MosaicML, an SF-based OpenAI competitor that had raised $34m from firms like DCVC, Lux Capital, Frontline Ventures, Playground Global, Future Ventures, Correlation Ventures, Samsung Next and AME Cloud Ventures. Link
  • Thomson Reuters (NYSE: TRI) has agreed to buy Casetext, a San Francisco-based AI assistant for lawyers, for $650 million in cash. Link
  • Ramp, a corporate finance automation startup valued by VCs at $8.1b, acquired Cohere.io, a New York-based customer support startup that raised $3m from firms like Initialized Capital and YC. Link

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