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This week’s news:
Let’s get started 🕺
OpenAI is raising money at a $29B evaluation, and Microsoft seems interested in giving them $10B. That’s roughly enough money to buy Lufthansa, Coinbase, or Zalando, for reference. It seems like Microsoft is working on a complicated deal in which they’d get 75% of OpenAI’s profits until it recoups its investment. After they get their money back, Microsoft would own 49% of OpenAI.
Why does it matter? We shouldn’t be surprised that Microsoft is investing $10B in AI, and we shouldn’t think they’re the only ones.
Let me be clear: EVERY big tech company is making similar investments. Some examples:
What’s interesting to me is not that Microsoft IS investing in AI, but HOW Microsoft is doing it.
Everyone else is doing that internally (well, technically Google is doing it through Deepmind, but the two companies are seen as the same thing in the public eye). This is making them much more careful about their risks, and slower in releasing them to the public. People are also biased towards big tech and tend to hold them more accountable than a relatively “new” company like OpenAI (look at what happened to Meta with Galactica).
Microsoft instead is allowing an external company to do the work for them. It’s providing them with the capital and computing power, keeping a preferential way of communication to integrate their technology into their product.
This is great for many reasons. I’ll share three:
Now: More than 1B people use Microsoft’s office product. 345M of them pay for an Office365 subscription. This means that whenever Microsoft will be ready to pull the trigger, they will be able to integrate the most powerful technology humans ever had available into the workflow of 1B+ people.
Suddenly the good old boring Microsoft seems to have a strong seat to be the key player in this AI revolution.
Smart, isn’t it?
Other tech news in 5 lines or less.
🗣️ Microsoft releases VALL-E: a model that can clone your voice from just 3 seconds of audio. You can hear the demo here. As the name says, the architecture is inspired by OpenAI’s DALL-E. I TOLD YOU MICROSOFT IS SERIOUS
🧑💻 OpenAI is working on a pro version of ChatGPT. You can subscribe to the beta here.
🚫 ChatGPT was banned from New York City public schools’ devices and networks. Their Department of Education was concerned about "negative impacts on student learning." Can/should you stop progress?
🚨 OpenAI says they have a solution to detect AI-assisted plagiarism. It’s pretty cool: basically, ChatGPT will use a statistical distribution to pick its words that are known just by OpenAI. In this way, they can analyze a sentence and estimate the likelihood that that sentence was generated by its technology.
💸 Binance sees $12B in withdrawals in 60 days. That’s a lot, and some people are scared they may be insolvent.
🥊 The Winklevoss twins (the people who sued Mark Zuckerberg claiming he stole the idea for Facebook from them) are in a $900M crypto chaos with the crypto exchange Genesis. Basically, they own another crypto platform called Gemini that lands money from Genesis to give financial services to its users (why crypto names are so weird). Genesis doesn’t give Gemini their money, they can’t give money to their users who got pissed, so they are suing them. A classic crypto crisis shitshow.
The sweet part of the newsletter: fun news from the crazy world of tech.
I’ll talk to you next week.
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