#78. 💰Dropbox launches $50M AI venture fund | ☀️solar & wind outperformed coal for record 5 months | 🔌Texas requires Tesla's charging standard
PLUS: Generative AI legal minefield | Schumer's SAFE Innovation Act for AI | Texas heatwave | PayGo African solar startup Yellow raises $14M | Bill Gates'-backed $1B AI startup helps mine rare earth minerals for EVs | EU's first driverless race
🤖 ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
Dropbox has initiated Dropbox Ventures, a $50M venture fund for AI startups.
The company aims to mentor and financially support startups creating AI-powered products for the future of work.
Dropbox has unveiled new AI-powered features for its flagship cloud storage product, including Dropbox Dash and Dropbox AI.
Dropbox Dash is a universal search bar that learns and improves with use, while Dropbox AI can review and generate summaries from files.
Both AI services are designed to improve efficiency and personalization for Dropbox customers.
Dropbox is dedicated to ensuring its AI technologies are fair, reliable, and protect customer privacy.
AI-generated art sparks questions about ownership and authorship due to its dependence on existing works for training.
The U.S. Copyright Office states that only humans can hold copyrights, leading to debates over the ownership of AI-generated content.
There's a legal grey area on whether the use of copyrighted works for AI training is infringement or 'fair use.'
Generative AI's outputs may resemble works in the training data, complicating the question of copyright infringement.
New models of joint ownership have been proposed, allowing artists to gain rights in outputs that resemble their works.
The interpretation or reform of existing laws will significantly impact the future of creative expression in the realm of generative AI.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has presented a legislative framework for regulating artificial intelligence (AI), warning that Congress must join the AI revolution now or risk losing control of the fast-developing technology.
Schumer plans to launch a series of "AI Insight Forums" in the fall featuring AI experts, executives, community leaders, and others to form the basis for detailed policy proposals.
The "SAFE Innovation for AI" framework focuses on five pillars: Security, Accountability, Foundations, Explain, and Innovation. These cover areas from national security and misinformation to the protection of intellectual property and the promotion of AI's societal benefits.
Schumer's call to action aligns with recent warnings from AI experts, such as OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, about the potential risks of unchecked AI technology.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers also recently introduced the National AI Commission Act to create a commission of experts to study and evaluate the best ways for the U.S. to regulate AI.
🤖🔥🤯 COOL AI TOOLS, APPS, VIDEOS, PODCASTS, LINKS, AND MORE!
🌡️ CLIMATE CHANGE & CLEAN ENERGY
A prolonged, intense heatwave in Texas has seen temperatures exceed 100 degrees for several days, with heat indices reaching up to 125.
Multiple cities, including San Angelo and Del Rio, have set new all-time high temperatures.
The heatwave is expected to continue, moving more towards southern and western Texas, and health risks from prolonged exposure are a concern.
The frequency, intensity, and duration of heatwaves like this are linked to human-caused climate change.
The phenomenon, often caused by heat domes, is being exacerbated by an unusual jet stream pattern pushing them further south.
Models predict Texas could see an increase of 30 to 50 days with temperatures over 95 degrees by 2050 under moderate emission scenarios.
Solar and wind power surpassed coal in U.S. power generation for the first five months of 2023, a first-time record.
With hydroelectric power added, renewables outperformed coal for over six months since October 2022.
The decline in coal-fired power generation aligns with increasing renewable energy production and the retirement of coal plants.
Despite a brief resurgence of coal due to rising natural gas prices, coal use is expected to continue to decline in the U.S.
While the expansion of clean energy is promising, challenges remain in connecting new renewable sources to the national grid, which is a slow process.
Yellow, a financier for solar energy and digital devices in Africa, has secured $14 million in a Series B funding round.
Founded in Malawi in 2018, Yellow has since expanded to Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, and Madagascar, now plans to broaden its product offering and increase reach in its existing markets.
The company has raised a total of $45 million in debt and equity funding and intends to use the new capital to finance more solar systems and smartphones, and introduce other mobile financial services.
Yellow has a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 265% over the last four years and has served over 400,000 customers through its network of 1,100 agents.
Off-grid solar sector startups in Africa have attracted over $2.3 billion in funding over the past decade, indicating increasing interest in making solar energy accessible in the region.
🚗 AUTONOMOUS & ELECTRIC VEHICLES
Berkeley-based mining company KoBold Metals, which uses AI for mining rare earth elements, has completed a $200 million funding round, raising its valuation to over $1 billion and making it an AI "unicorn".
The funding round included contributions from Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a clean energy VC firm backed by Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Jack Ma, as well as from VC firms Andreessen Horowitz and Bond Capital.
KoBold uses machine learning to identify deposits of metals vital for electric vehicle batteries, including lithium, nickel, cobalt, and copper.
The company has more than 60 projects worldwide and invests $100 million annually, with a considerable portion dedicated to R&D for AI's application in earth's subsurface modeling and exploration.
KoBold predicts a $12 trillion gap between supply and demand for these crucial metals by 2050.
Texas will mandate the inclusion of Tesla's NACS (North American Charging Standard) connector on charging stations in the state.
The Texas Department of Transportation confirmed that both NACS and CCS connectors will be required at charging stations.
This move bolsters NACS as a potential standard for charging in North America, but also maintains the relevance of CCS by requiring its inclusion as well.
Tesla has proposed offering adapters from NACS to CCS during the transition to the new standard.
This development is a shift from Texas' previous stance, where Tesla's Supercharger network was excluded from state incentives.
Last year, Tesla's proposals for charging stations were denied subsidy from the Texas Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Program (TxVEMP) fund, which now requires charging station operators to include Tesla's NACS connector.
The Indy Autonomous Challenge, a race featuring fully autonomous cars, was held at Monza, Italy from June 16-18.
The event, held during the Milano Monza Motor Show (MIMO), hosted teams from top technology universities worldwide.
All cars used the same chassis and technology, a Dallara AV-21, and teams wrote their own autonomous racing software to control the vehicles.
Using AI, sensors, and cameras, the autonomous vehicles reached speeds of 190-200 miles per hour.
This event marked the first time the race, which began in 2019, was held in Europe, presenting new challenges including chicanes and tighter corners.
Organizers hope this event will help improve public trust in autonomous vehicle safety and capability.
🎉 THAT’S ALL FOR TODAY!
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