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  • #58. 🗯️ Generative AI unlocks probabilistic products | 🪫 3-minute charging battery | 🚕 Waymo & Uber driverless rides

#58. 🗯️ Generative AI unlocks probabilistic products | 🪫 3-minute charging battery | 🚕 Waymo & Uber driverless rides

Plus: OpenAI's superintelligence governance proposal | "prompt engineer" jobs pay $355K | Perovskite solar cells | electricity transmission | Tesla brand loyalty still high | Nairobi's EV buses


Sam Altman et al. over at OpenAI have written a blog post outlining their approach to AI governance. They explain how AI may surpass expert skills in various domains over the next decade, and have impacts akin to today's largest corporations. Despite potential prosperity, it's crucial we manage associated risks, as AI could pose existential threats, akin to nuclear energy or synthetic biology. To navigate this, we propose three steps: coordinate leading development efforts for safe, integrated AI evolution; establish an international authority, like IAEA, for auditing and regulating high-capability AI; and invest in research for ensuring superintelligence safety. Current models pose lower risks and should remain less regulated. Yet, powerful systems need public oversight and their use should be democratically decided. Despite these challenges, we persist in AI development, believing in its potential to remarkably improve our world and considering that halting its creation could be even riskier.

Generative AI, a probabilistic computer producing diverse, non-deterministic outputs, introduces a new category of product design: probabilistic products. These products, like social networks, have emergent, unpredictable attributes. These products can be categorized into three groups based on their relationship with unpredictability: (1) Products that are uniquely enabled by or benefit from the probabilistic nature, like AI companionship (a bot that responds and interacts in unique, human-like ways) or generative media (creative content that's generated by AI, like art or music); (2) products that are okay with some unpredictability but don't necessarily rely on it. This might include AI that synthesizes or summarizes information; it's okay if the output varies somewhat, as long as the main points are accurately conveyed; and (3) products that need deterministic (i.e., predictable and consistent) outputs. These are usually in fields that require precise, accurate results, like financial calculations or navigational directions.

The rise of AI tools like ChatGPT has sparked a new job role called 'prompt engineering'. The role involves refining textual inputs for AI chatbots to produce the desired results. This field is seeing an influx of job listings, including those with salaries up to $355,000, significantly higher than the average salary for a freelance copywriter. Some remain skeptical, considering it a skill rather than a standalone career, and suggesting that users can quickly learn to adjust prompts for AI. However, others believe companies may invest in prompt engineers to showcase their commitment to AI advancement.



Prieto, a Colorado-based startup, has unveiled a prototype of a 3D battery that can be fully charged from 0 to 100% in just 3 minutes. The battery functions well in extreme temperatures and is non-flammable. The 3D design allows for 360-degree ionic transfer, enabling faster charging and high energy density. Prieto claims that the battery's characteristics can make range anxiety a thing of the past for electric vehicles.

The cost of solar power is expected to further decrease with the development of perovskite solar cells, a low-cost, high-efficiency alternative to traditional silicon solar cells. Researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have been exploring this technology, which, when combined with silicon, can increase overall solar cell efficiency without substantially raising the cost. Qcells, a South Korean company, has invested $100 million in a pilot line for the manufacture of these perovskite-silicon cells. Meanwhile, the American company First Solar has acquired the Swedish perovskite startup Evolar AB to potentially enhance its thin-film solar technology. Further, alternative applications and cost-cutting methodologies are being explored to make this technology even more affordable.

The U.S. needs significant energy transmission reform to achieve President Biden's clean energy goals, as current projects can't connect to the grid due to infrastructure limitations. The construction of additional transmission lines, particularly in wind and solar-rich regions, is critical. However, local objections and a lengthy approval process hinder their development. Proposals to override local objections and limit review time have been met with contention. Some suggest focusing on distributed renewables and making more areas self-sufficient in electrical power, advocating for local microgrids and virtual power plants instead of large-scale transmission projects.


Uber has formed a strategic multi-year partnership with Waymo, the autonomous vehicle pioneer, to offer driverless rides and deliveries across Uber's platform, starting in Phoenix, Arizona. The collaboration is set to massively scale Waymo’s driverless tech and provide access to a vast customer base for the company, while significantly enhancing Uber's service offerings.

Tesla continues to boast high brand loyalty, outpacing many automakers, with about 67% of Tesla owners repurchasing from the brand compared to the luxury brand loyalty rate of 46%. Moreover, Tesla's Model 3 and Model Y are predominantly stealing market share from mainstream brands like Toyota and Honda rather than luxury brands, indicating the brand's broad appeal.

Electric buses are increasingly visible on the streets of Nairobi, Kenya, as four bus operators now use them. BasiGo, which has supplied nearly 20 electric buses since March 2022, is planning to provide over 1,000 locally manufactured mass transit electric buses to Kenyan transport operators over the next three years, signaling a rapid acceleration in the country's transition to electric mobility.


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