OpenAI Teams with News Corp

PLUS: Amazon Alexa Upgrades with Subscription, Google Meet Introduces Adaptive Audio and more.

Today:

  • OpenAI Teams with News Corp

  • Microsoft, G42 Launch Kenyan Project

  • Groq Raises $300M With Morgan

  • Amazon Alexa Upgrades with Subscription

  • Zuckerberg Forms AI Advisory Council

  • Google Meet Introduces Adaptive Audio

  • UK Funds AI Safety Research

  • Anthropic Appoints Airbnb Veteran CFO

A landmark multi-year global partnership with News Corp

OpenAI and News Corp have formed a multi-year partnership, granting OpenAI access to News Corp’s extensive news content. This includes current and archived articles from major publications like The Wall Street Journal, The Times, and The Australian. The collaboration aims to provide users with reliable information and uphold high journalistic standards. 

News Corp will also contribute its journalistic expertise to ensure quality in OpenAI’s offerings. Leaders from both companies express optimism about the partnership’s potential to enhance the value and integrity of digital journalism.

Microsoft ties up with UAE-based AI firm to invest $1 bln in Kenya data center

Microsoft is partnering with UAE-based AI firm G42 to invest $1 billion in a data center in Kenya, aiming to expand cloud-computing services in East Africa. The data center, powered by geothermal energy, will provide access to Microsoft's Azure. G42 has also started training an AI model in Swahili and English. 

This move follows significant investments by tech giants like Amazon and Alphabet in cloud and AI services. The partnership agreement will be signed during Kenya's President William Ruto's visit to the U.S., with the data center expected to be operational within two years.

Nvidia Challenger Groq Enlists Morgan Stanley to Raise $300 Million

Groq, an AI chip developer competing with Nvidia, is seeking to raise $300 million with the help of Morgan Stanley. Founded by Jonathan Ross, a key figure behind Google's tensor processing unit, Groq aims to offer a cheaper and faster alternative to Nvidia’s chips. 

This funding round would double Groq's total funding and bring it closer to rivals like Cerebras. Despite significant investments in AI chip development, many companies in this sector face challenges in achieving success due to the high costs and complexities involved.

Amazon Alexa’s big AI upgrade could require a new subscription

Amazon is planning to introduce a new subscription fee for its upgraded AI-powered Alexa, separate from the existing $139 Prime membership. This enhanced version of Alexa, which will be launched later this year, features a more conversational AI. Elements of this new Alexa are already available in a preview mode, activated by saying, “Alexa, let’s chat.” 

This move follows similar efforts by Google and Apple to enhance their virtual assistants with generative AI capabilities. Amazon’s CEO, Andy Jassy, has highlighted the goal of making Alexa more intelligent and capable.

Meta’s Zuckerberg Creates Council to Advise on AI Products

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has established a new advisory council to guide the company on its AI and technology advancements. The Meta Advisory Group includes Stripe CEO Patrick Collison, former GitHub CEO Nat Friedman, Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke, and investor/former Microsoft executive Charlie Songhurst. 

This group will meet periodically with Meta’s management to offer strategic guidance. Notably, these advisors will not receive compensation for their roles. This move is part of Meta's broader efforts to leverage expert insights for technological and strategic growth.

Google Meet’s adaptive audio connects mics from multiple laptops for clearer audio

Google Meet has introduced "adaptive audio," a feature that enhances audio clarity by connecting the microphones and speakers of multiple laptops in the same room. This is designed to improve the meeting experience for Google Workspace users without dedicated video conferencing equipment, reducing echoes and feedback. 

The feature will be available by default to users with specific Google Workspace packages, including Gemini Enterprise and AI Meetings and Messaging add-ons, and can be manually turned off. This update, announced at the Google Next event, is part of a broader set of new features coming to Google Workspace.

Tech Secretary unveils £8.5 million research funding set to break new grounds in AI safety testing

The UK government is launching an £8.5 million research funding program to enhance AI safety. Announced by Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan at the AI Seoul Summit, the grants aim to address AI risks like deepfakes and cyberattacks while leveraging AI's benefits. Managed by the UK AI Safety Institute, the program encourages UK-based researchers to collaborate internationally. 

The initiative seeks innovative methods to adapt society's systems and infrastructure to AI advancements. This effort builds on the Institute's ongoing work, including international collaborations and setting AI development standards, ensuring AI remains a transformative force for good.

Airbnb Veteran Krishna Rao Joins AI Startup Anthropic as CFO

Artificial intelligence (AI) startup Anthropic has appointed Krishna Rao, a veteran from Airbnb, as its new chief financial officer (CFO). Rao will be responsible for shaping Anthropic’s financial strategy and operations as the company expands globally. Previously, Rao served as CFO at Fanatics Commerce and Cedar. During his tenure at Airbnb, he played a significant role in navigating the company through the pandemic and its IPO. 

Anthropic also recently appointed Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger as chief product officer to oversee product engineering and design. Additionally, Anthropic launched its AI assistant, Claude, in Europe and received a $4 billion investment from Amazon.

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