- Future Perfect
- #52. 🤗 Together raises $20M for open source generative AI | 🇮🇳 KKR invests $250M in India's Serentica | 🚌 Edinburgh's driverless buses
#52. 🤗 Together raises $20M for open source generative AI | 🇮🇳 KKR invests $250M in India's Serentica | 🚌 Edinburgh's driverless buses
Plus: Google PaLM 2 is its GPT-4 | AI-ification of Google Search | Eavor & Sonoma Clean Power's 200MW geothermal | EU finalizes 42.5% renewable target | former pilot on why AVs are risky | Tesla's investment in France
🤖 ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
Together, a startup focused on open source generative AI, has raised $20 million in a seed round led by Lux Capital. The company aims to create an open ecosystem for generative AI models and services to help organizations incorporate AI into their production applications. Together plans to offer a cloud platform that provides scalable compute at lower prices compared to dominant vendors like Google Cloud, AWS, and Azure. The startup's efforts include projects like RedPajama, which focuses on developing chat models, and GPT-JT, a fork of the open source text-generating model GPT-J-6B. Together aims to provide transparency, control, and privacy to enterprises, catering to their generative AI needs. The company plans to expand its team and allocate the seed capital to research and product development.
Google has announced PaLM 2, a family of foundational language models that rival OpenAI's GPT-4. PaLM 2, which stands for "Pathways Language Model," has been trained on a large volume of data and supports over 100 languages. It can perform tasks such as reasoning, code generation, and multi-lingual translation. PaLM 2 is already powering 25 Google products, including the Bard conversational AI assistant. While Google claims PaLM 2 outperforms GPT-4 in some tasks, a cursory evaluation suggests that its performance may be worse than GPT-4 and Bing on informal language tests. Google has not disclosed the number of parameters in PaLM 2 or provided detailed information about the training data used. The lack of transparency has raised concerns among industry experts about the use of copyrighted and potentially harmful materials in the dataset. Despite criticism, Google is pushing for wide deployment of AI models and is also working on a newer multimodal AI model called "Gemini." Users in select countries can try PaLM 2 through Google Bard, the experimental AI assistant.
The AI takeover of Google Search starts now (long read)
Google is incorporating AI into its search results with a feature called Search Generative Experience (SGE). SGE presents an AI snapshot at the top of search results, providing a summary generated by Google's large language models (LLMs) sourced from the open web. Users can opt-in to SGE to access these AI-generated summaries, which aim to provide concise information and links to corroborating sources. The AI snapshot appears when Google's algorithms determine it to be more useful than standard results. SGE is seen as a foundational long-term change to the way people search, adding another layer of input and output to enhance the search experience. However, the AI snapshots are an opt-in feature, and Google remains cautious about the accuracy and responsible implementation of AI in search. Google's goal is to combine factual information with the reliability of its search results, while avoiding the potential pitfalls of AI misinformation. SGE represents Google's move towards an AI-first search experience that could shape the future of how information is accessed and monetized on the internet.
🤖🔗🤯 COOL AI TOOLS, APPS, VIDEOS, PODCASTS, LINKS, AND MORE!
🌡️ CLIMATE CHANGE & CLEAN ENERGY
Eavor Technologies Inc. (Eavor) has signed a cooperation agreement with Sonoma Clean Power (SCP) for the development of up to 200 MW of geothermal capacity in California. The project will utilize Eavor's closed-loop geothermal technology called Eavor-Loop. This agreement is part of the Geothermal Opportunity Zone (GeoZone) initiative by Sonoma and Mendocino counties, which aims to develop geothermal resources that minimize water use, align with community values, and are scalable and cost-competitive. The agreement allows for a demonstration power project with an initial capacity of 20 MW, which can be expanded to 200 MW. Eavor's closed-loop technology addresses water and land use concerns, making it scalable throughout the region. Sonoma Clean Power aims to foster geothermal development and sees Eavor's technology as an innovative solution for advancing the geothermal sector.
European Union (EU) countries are expected to finalize a new renewable energy target of obtaining 42.5% of the bloc's energy from renewable sources by 2030, according to a final version of the law. The EU is aiming to decarbonize its economies and reduce dependence on energy from a single country like Russia. The law sets a binding target of 42.5% renewable energy share, with member states encouraged to aim for 45%. In the transport sector, countries are required to reach at least a 29% share of renewables or reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of their transport sector by at least 13%. The law also mandates an annual increase in renewable energy use in the industry sector and sets targets for the use of renewable hydrogen in industrial processes. The final version of the law is pending formal approval from EU countries and the European Parliament, which is expected to be a formality.
Global investment firm KKR has invested $250 million in India-based Serentica Renewables, according to media reports. This marks KKR's second investment in Serentica in the past six months, following a $400 million investment in November. Serentica Renewables, part of the Vedanta Group, aims to set up large-scale renewable energy projects to meet the growing demand for corporate renewable energy in India. The company plans to build a 400-megawatt renewable portfolio in states including Karnataka, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra. The investment will support Serentica in capitalizing on a recently approved incentive that exempts solar and wind energy projects for corporates from paying inter-state transmission charges, reducing the cost of power. Serentica aims to offer renewable power to both group companies and other corporates in India.
🚗 AUTONOMOUS & ELECTRIC VEHICLES
The UK's first full-sized driverless buses have begun passenger service in Edinburgh. Operated by Stagecoach, the autonomous buses run from Ferrytoll park-and-ride in Fife to Edinburgh Park station across the Forth Road Bridge. Although called "driverless," the buses have two staff members on board. One person monitors the technology from the driver's seat, while a "bus captain" assists passengers with boarding and ticketing. The five single-decker buses have the capacity for approximately 10,000 passenger journeys per week. Equipped with sensors, the buses can travel on pre-selected roads along the 14-mile route at speeds of up to 50mph. The AB1 service is the UK's first registered autonomous bus route and is part of Project CAVForth, which is funded by the UK government and involves collaboration with various partners.
Missy Cummings, a former engineering professor at Duke University and senior safety advisor at the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), faced criticism and online attacks after expressing concerns about Tesla's Autopilot system. Elon Musk accused her of bias against Tesla, leading to a wave of online harassment. Cummings, now at George Mason University, discusses the safety of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) in an interview with IEEE Spectrum. She questions the claim that ADAS makes cars fundamentally safer, citing the lack of data on crash mitigation. Cummings also raises concerns about risk homeostasis, where drivers may take more risks because they rely on ADAS features that may not function as expected. She emphasizes the need for clear modes of operation, stating that either the computer drives or the human driver drives, to avoid confusion and ensure driver engagement. Cummings believes that while self-driving technology can be successful in narrow applications, achieving true self-driving cars capable of handling all road conditions is not likely in her lifetime.
Tesla is exploring the possibility of a "significant investment" in France, potentially in the form of a factory, following a meeting between CEO Elon Musk and President Emmanuel Macron. Tesla had previously considered France as a location for its first major car factory in Europe, but ultimately chose Germany for Gigafactory Berlin. However, with the company aiming to increase its global production capacity from 2 million units to 20 million units by the end of the decade, additional Gigafactories will be needed. Musk expressed hope for a significant investment in France during discussions with Macron, and he was also expected to meet with the French finance minister to explore potential tax credits for green technology investments. The locations for Tesla's new Gigafactories are expected to be announced within the next 12 months, with France and the UK being potential prospects.
🎉 THAT’S ALL FOR TODAY!
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