#82. 😲Databricks acquires MosaicML for $1.3B | ☀️China solar now 2x coal | 🍎Apple AV testing at Chrysler's old test facility?
PLUS: OpenAI's ChatGPT "personal assistant for work" | Thompson Reuters buys AI legal tech startup CaseText for $650M | pumped hydro | climate tech Crux raises $4.25M | Lordstown files for bankruptcy | ChargePoint joins Tesla's NACS standard |
🤖 ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
OpenAI plans to develop ChatGPT into a supersmart personal assistant for work, capable of performing tasks like drafting emails or documents in an individual's style and with up-to-date business information.
This move could put OpenAI in direct competition with its business partner Microsoft, as well as other customers like Salesforce, who also aim to build AI copilots for work-related tasks.
OpenAI's commercial focus will be on enhancing ChatGPT's capabilities and potentially opening an app store for customized versions of the chatbot.
Developing a reliable personal assistant will require substantial work, including training the software on personal data without compromising privacy and finding ways to optimize the AI models' size and performance.
OpenAI's potential assistant may incorporate features like autonomous AI agents that can carry out specific tasks to achieve goals.
The competition between OpenAI and Microsoft in the personal assistant space raises questions about access to OpenAI's software and the blurred lines between personal and work-related computing.
Thomson Reuters is set to acquire legal tech startup Casetext for $650 million in cash.
Casetext, initially focused on creating a community for attorneys and providing free access to legal texts, later pivoted to AI and ML to develop automated workflows and tools for legal teams.
Casetext's flagship product, CoCounsel, utilizes AI to review documents, assist with legal research, prepare depositions, and analyze contracts.
The acquisition aims to accelerate Thomson Reuters' strategy of incorporating generative AI into its major business verticals, including legal, tax, accounting, and news.
Casetext has a customer base of over 10,000 law firms and corporate legal departments and has raised over $64 million in funding.
Thomson Reuters plans to invest $100 million annually in AI and allocate $10 billion for mergers and acquisitions, many of which will focus on AI, until 2025.
Databricks, a data lakehouse vendor, is acquiring MosaicML, an AI startup, for an estimated $1.3 billion.
The acquisition will bring MosaicML's team and technology under Databricks' umbrella, enabling enterprises to manage data assets and build secure generative AI models on a unified platform.
MosaicML specializes in helping companies build, train, and deploy generative AI models using their proprietary data, offering commercially usable open-source models.
Databricks' platform, combined with MosaicML's offerings, will provide easy access to data and tools for enterprises to create their own private generative AI models.
The integration of MosaicML's technology is expected to reduce the cost of training and using large language models (LLMs) significantly.
The exact timeline for the completion of the acquisition and integration has not been disclosed.
🤖🔥🤯 COOL AI TOOLS, APPS, VIDEOS, PODCASTS, LINKS, AND MORE!
🌡️ CLIMATE CHANGE & CLEAN ENERGY
The Queensland government in Australia has committed $6 billion to build the Borumba Pumped Hydro Project, which is expected to be the largest investment in the state's energy infrastructure in decades.
There is a debate about whether pumped hydro or distributed batteries are a better solution for baseload power needs in the face of climate change and uncertain water availability.
The Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro project in New South Wales, Australia, is facing delays and cost overruns, with an expected completion date of 2029 and an increased cost estimate of AU$6 billion.
Rystad Energy predicts that global battery energy storage system (BESS) installations will surpass 400 GWh per year by 2030, suggesting the potential for managing backup electricity needs with batteries alone.
Europe, like Australia, is facing the impacts of climate change, with extreme heat, droughts, and reduced snowfall affecting hydroelectric power generation in countries such as France and Switzerland.
Ballooning gas prices in the global market are impacting Australia's electricity costs, making pumped hydro an attractive option to reduce reliance on gas and lower costs. Pumped hydro could compete with gas in the market for longer-duration storage.
Solar power capacity in China has reached twice that of coal power, according to a report by the China Electricity Council.
As of the end of March, China's installed power generation capacity was 2.62 billion kilowatts, with non-fossil fuel energy accounting for 50.5% of the total.
Solar power generation reached 430 million kilowatts, representing a year-on-year increase of 33.7%.
The growth of renewables in China is significant, but the country has also boosted coal production in the short term due to a drought impacting hydroelectric power.
The Chinese government has encouraged coal miners to increase production and coal-fired generators to stockpile fuel to address energy needs.
Despite the short-term boost for coal, China continues to take steps to address climate change and promote renewable energy.
DC-based climate tech startup Crux raised $4.25 million in funding in a round led by Ardent Venture Partners.
Crux, founded by Alfred Johnson and Allen Kramer, developed a platform for transferable tax credits from clean energy projects.
The company aims to facilitate the exchange of tax credits between clean energy developers, tax credit buyers, and financial institutions to fund new clean energy projects.
The platform includes software for workflow, data, and stakeholder management to create a marketplace for larger buyers.
Crux plans to expand its team from 16 to potentially 24 members and enhance its platform to accommodate the role of the syndicator in tax credit transfers.
🚗 AUTONOMOUS & ELECTRIC VEHICLES
Lordstown Motors (RIDE), an EV startup, has filed for bankruptcy and plans to sell off its assets, including the Endurance electric truck.
The bankruptcy filing comes after a dispute with Taiwanese manufacturing giant Foxconn, who failed to invest the promised amount to keep Lordstown afloat.
Lordstown's stock price plummeted after a short seller report accused the company of inflating pre-order numbers, and its CEO and CFO resigned abruptly.
The EV startup halted production earlier this year due to quality issues and issued a voluntary recall.
Lordstown has filed litigation against Foxconn, alleging material damage caused by their actions.
Lordstown plans to sell the intellectual property (IP) of the Endurance electric truck and related assets to maximize their value.
ChargePoint, a leading provider of EV charging solutions, has announced that it will adopt Tesla's NACS connector for its new and existing charging stations.
The NACS connector, previously exclusive to Tesla, has been adopted by other charging station manufacturers and operators after Ford and GM/Rivian announced their adoption.
ChargePoint will offer NACS connector options for new orders and retrofit existing stations on demand, starting in 2024.
By adopting the NACS connector, ChargePoint aims to serve the charging needs of all EVs from Ford, GM, and Rivian that feature the connector.
With ChargePoint's adoption, nearly all major charging companies in North America have embraced the NACS connector, with Electrify America being the only major exception.
There have been rumors of a connection between Apple and Route 14 Investment Partners, and recent evidence suggests that Route 14 Investment Partners is possibly related to Apple's car project.
Route 14 Investment Partners purchased an old DaimlerChrysler proving ground in Wittmann, Arizona for $125 million, and it is believed to be involved in autonomous vehicle testing.
During a visit to the proving ground, a car with a sensor stack matching those used by Apple was spotted undergoing testing.
Additionally, a sign posted on the property referenced stormwater complaints and led to the discovery of documents linking an individual named Ken Lynch to both Route 14 Investment Partners and Apple.
While the evidence is not conclusive, it strengthens the connection between Route 14 Investment Partners and Apple's car project and suggests Apple's financial commitment to developing its own car.
🎉 THAT’S ALL FOR TODAY!
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