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  • #50. ⚖️ Law firms and AI | 🇺🇸 Texas to be world's clean energy capital | 🇨🇳 BYD vs Tesla

#50. ⚖️ Law firms and AI | 🇺🇸 Texas to be world's clean energy capital | 🇨🇳 BYD vs Tesla

Plus: Anthropic AI's 100K token upgrade | Gmail's AI helper | EPA's new rules for power plants | UK's wind power | AVs' data diet | Volvo's EX30 EV


Law firms and legal departments are increasingly adopting artificial intelligence tools, including GPT-4, to automate tasks such as document drafting and contract analysis. These AI tools can conduct legal research in minutes, which would traditionally take hours, thus potentially transforming the practice of law. However, the introduction of AI in the legal sector raises concerns about job security for lawyers and changes to the financial dynamics of the legal business, which currently relies on billable hours. Despite these concerns, companies like Latch, using GPT-4, have gained significant interest, with a waitlist of more than 80 companies. While AI tools can expedite processes, they are seen as an aid rather than a replacement for human lawyers. However, the adoption of AI may lead to a reevaluation of the traditional billable hours model in law firms.

AI research startup Anthropic has significantly expanded the context window of its text-generating AI model, Claude, from 9,000 to 100,000 tokens. This allows Claude to maintain coherency in longer conversations and recall initial instructions after thousands of words. The increased context window enables Claude to digest, analyze, and summarize large amounts of text, such as books or lengthy documents, and provide synthesized knowledge across the text. For instance, the model could read the entire text of "The Great Gatsby" and identify an altered line within 22 seconds. However, Claude still struggles with session-to-session memory retention and equal prioritization of all information.

Google has announced a new feature, "Help Me Write", aimed at simplifying the process of drafting routine emails. Powered by Google's proprietary AI, this tool will draft automated messages in Gmail, text messages, and other Google apps, based on user prompts. This feature is an expansion of Google's previous "Smart Compose" and "Smart Reply" functionalities, with the ability to generate complete emails. A "refine" button is available to adjust the length and tone of the email, which can then be manually edited or sent as is. While "Help Me Write" has been tested on Google Docs and Gmail since March, the official launch date for all Google users has not yet been confirmed.



Bobby Tudor, a financier who made a fortune in fracking, is now investing in green energy, predicting a decline in the oil and gas industry. Texas, already the largest U.S. producer of renewable energy, sees a surge in clean-tech startups and major energy companies pursuing hydrogen projects. Houston alone could attract up to $250 billion annually in emerging energy sectors by 2040. Despite this, political opposition threatens green energy growth, as a segment of the state's leadership fears the transition could harm the fossil-fuel industry. Tudor's coalition, the Houston Energy Transition Initiative, is advocating for the energy transition, despite pushback from politicians favoring oil and gas interests. The outcome of this high-stakes fight could offer insight into the broader struggle to address climate change.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed new regulations targeting carbon pollution from the US's 3,400 natural gas and coal plants, which contribute 25% of the country's greenhouse gas emissions. These rules, part of Biden's plan for 100% clean electricity by 2035, are expected to significantly reduce emissions and provide health benefits. The regulations allow utilities, in collaboration with states, to decide how to meet the EPA's emissions rates using available technologies. However, the proposal only covers the largest existing gas plants, excluding a large category of emitters. The regulations, if they withstand legal challenges, will be the first climate rules for the coal and gas sector. Despite potential hurdles, the transition to cleaner energy is already underway due to decreasing coal usage and increasingly competitive renewable energy prices.

In Q1 2023, wind power surpassed gas as the UK's primary electricity source for the first time, making up 32.4% of the country's electricity supply, compared to gas's 31.7%. This is despite England banning onshore wind turbine installation since 2015. The UK, a world leader in offshore wind capacity, saw wind energy generation increase by 3% from Q1 2022, while gas decreased by 5%. In total, renewables accounted for about 42% of the UK's electricity. However, billions in wind and solar projects are delayed due to connection bottlenecks. The UK aims to have an emissions-free electricity grid by 2035.


The expanding fleet of autonomous vehicles and increasing data storage costs have prompted self-driving car developers to be more selective about the data they keep. Companies like Waymo are setting strict data quotas and deleting outdated information, as storing all data generated is proving to be expensive and often unnecessary. This shift towards data prioritization comes amid pressure to control spending, as each autonomous vehicle could generate about 4,000 gigabytes of data daily, costing around $350,000 to store for a year at Amazon's current rates. This change also signifies a maturing industry, as companies focus more on valuable data to improve their technology and expand their services.

Volvo is set to unveil the EX30, a small SUV, on June 7th, with US reservations also opening on that date. The vehicle is likely to be smaller than Volvo's 40 series of EVs, but it will retain an SUV shape, targeting younger city dwellers who prioritize sportiness and compactness. Volvo's CEO, Jim Rowan, indicated last year that the company aims to appeal to the Gen Z demographic with these smaller, city-friendly SUVs. However, the EX30 is expected to face stiff competition from other compact electric SUVs on the market.

Chinese EV manufacturer BYD is set to unveil an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) later this year, named DNP, aiming to rival Tesla's Autopilot. The system will initially feature in the 2023 Han premium EV sedan launching in Q4, with capabilities for assisted driving on highways and potential upgrades for urban streets. The move comes as BYD, which dominates the Chinese EV market, seeks to improve margins with software solutions, echoing a trend seen with other automakers like Tesla and XPeng.



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