Ilya Sutskever Exits OpenAI

PLUS: Weka's $140M Series E Round, Senate's $32B AI Regulation Plan and more.

Today:

  • Ilya Sutskever Exits OpenAI

  • Anthropic Hires Instagram Co-founder

  • PolyAI Reaches $500M Valuation

  • LanceDB Powers AI Databases

  • Weka's $140M Series E Round

  • Senate's $32B AI Regulation Plan

  • China Advances in AI Chip Memory

Video of the day: Sam Altman says he is “feeling the AGI”

OpenAI co-founder and chief scientist Ilya Sutskever announces departure

Ilya Sutskever, co-founder and chief scientist of OpenAI, has left the company. OpenAI confirmed his departure, with CEO Sam Altman praising Sutskever's contributions. Jakub Pachocki has been named the new chief scientist. Sutskever plans to start a new project but did not provide details. 

This news comes shortly after OpenAI's announcement of their new foundation AI model, GPT-4o. Sutskever was previously involved in an attempt to oust Altman, which was later reversed. His next steps are anticipated to have significant impact on the AI industry.

Anthropic hires Instagram co-founder as head of product

Mike Krieger, Instagram co-founder, is joining Anthropic as its first Chief Product Officer. Krieger will lead product engineering, management, and design, focusing on expanding Anthropic’s AI applications, including the Claude app. He aims to enhance both consumer and enterprise services. Anthropic’s CEO, Dario Amodei, praised Krieger's expertise in developing intuitive products. 

Krieger, who previously co-founded the news app Artifact, believes in AI's potential to benefit society. His move to Anthropic follows significant advancements by rivals OpenAI and Google in the AI field, signaling Anthropic's intent to aggressively pursue the consumer market.

PolyAI secures near $500mn valuation in boost to UK’s AI ambitions

PolyAI, a UK-based artificial intelligence (AI) startup, has secured a valuation of nearly $500 million, boosting the country's AI ambitions. The company specializes in developing AI systems that can understand and respond to human language, with applications in customer service and call centers.

This funding round will enable PolyAI to expand its team and continue its research and development efforts in the field of AI technology. The investment in PolyAI reflects the growing importance of AI in various sectors and highlights the UK's position as a global leader in AI innovation.

LanceDB, which counts Midjourney as a customer, is building databases for multimodal AI

Chang She, a co-creator of the Pandas library and former VP of engineering at Tubi, co-founded LanceDB to solve issues with traditional data infrastructure in AI. LanceDB, an open-source database designed for multimodal AI, supports models that handle text, images, and videos. 

Backed by Y Combinator, LanceDB raised $8 million in seed funding. The database, built on Apache Arrow, offers flexibility, performance, and scalability, making it easier for AI teams to manage large-scale data. LanceDB's customers include Midjourney and WeRide. Despite its commercial success, the company remains committed to its open-source roots.

Weka scores $140M to supercharge AI workloads with ‘dynamic data pipelines’

Weka has raised $140 million in a Series E round, doubling its valuation to $1.6 billion. The company aims to enhance its software platform, which eliminates data bottlenecks and feeds continuous data to GPUs, increasing efficiency and sustainability in AI workloads. Founded in 2013, Weka uses a zero-copy architecture to accelerate AI pipelines, significantly improving performance over traditional storage systems. 

With over 300 customers, including major AI firms, Weka plans to expand its workforce and invest in R&D. The company's annual recurring revenue has doubled and is expected to triple or quadruple this fiscal year.

Senate unveils $32 billion roadmap for regulating AI

Four top Senators, including Chuck Schumer and Mike Rounds, unveiled a $32 billion annual roadmap to regulate AI. This proposal focuses on AI workforce training, safeguarding private information, and mitigating AI's energy costs, without proposing specific legislation. 

The roadmap encourages collaboration with the Senate Appropriations Committee to fund AI research and infrastructure. Some lawmakers have already introduced AI-related bills, and reactions to the roadmap are mixed. Supporters see it as a crucial step, while critics argue it lacks enforceable laws and could consolidate power in AI infrastructure providers.

Chinese firms make headway in producing high bandwidth memory for AI chipsets

Two Chinese chipmakers, CXMT and Wuhan Xinxin, are making progress in developing high bandwidth memory (HBM) semiconductors for AI chipsets. CXMT has created sample HBM chips in partnership with Tongfu Microelectronics, and Wuhan Xinxin is building a factory to produce HBM wafers. 

These developments aim to reduce China's reliance on foreign suppliers amid US export restrictions. Huawei also plans to produce HBM2 chips by 2026. While China's HBM efforts currently lag behind global leaders like SK Hynix and Samsung, the advancements represent significant steps forward in the country's semiconductor capabilities.

Win the world’s fastest DeLorean in Google’s Gemini API developer contest

At the Google I/O conference, Google announced the Gemini API developer contest, offering cash prizes up to $300,000 and a grand prize of a custom electric 1981 DeLorean. The DeLorean, built by DeLorean Midwest, features a Tesla Model 3 drivetrain, achieving a 12.26-second quarter mile and 4.10-second zero-to-sixty. 

The contest, starting May 14, 2024, requires participants to build an app using the Gemini API and submit a demo video by August 12, 2024. Entries will be judged on Remarkability, Creativity, Usefulness, Impactfulness, and Execution, with final voting from August 16 to September 4, 2024.

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