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  • #19: Microsoft's Strategy, Nvidia's Blackwell, Devin's Rise, and Whisky Innovation

#19: Microsoft's Strategy, Nvidia's Blackwell, Devin's Rise, and Whisky Innovation

#19: Latest edition of One More Thing in AI Newsletter.

“The best way to get startup ideas is not to try to think of startup ideas. It's to look for problems, preferably problems you have yourself."

Paul Graham

Edition #19: One More Thing in AI

Date: 27-Mar-2024

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Renjit Philip

Microsoft steals Mustafa

Microsoft has ushered in a new chapter in its AI odyssey by appointing Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder of DeepMind and Inflection, to lead its freshly minted AI division. This strategic play signals Microsoft’s assertive push into AI and stirs the pot of industry dynamics and ethical debates.

Mustafa Suleyman

Mustafa Suleyman (source ai reporter)

A Strategic Coup or a Calculated Risk?

Mustafa Suleyman, along with his colleague Karén Simonyan, has embarked on a journey from Inflection's entrepreneurial offices to Microsoft's corporate citadels. Under Suleyman’s leadership, the newly formed Microsoft AI division is poised to propel consumer AI products; starting with Copilot, Bing, and Edge.

The Inflection Point and Beyond

With Sean White stepping in as the new CEO, Inflection is navigating its journey independently, continuing to harness the power of AI through its Inflection-2.5 model on platforms like Microsoft Azure. How will its existing investors be rewarded? It is a tricky time where the investment is going into AI startups, and the startup talent can just walk out anytime! It has been reported that Microsoft will make Inflection’s investors whole, though details are unclear.

Unraveling the Threads of Controversy

Suleyman’s appointment has reignited discussions around his past conduct at Google DeepMind, where allegations of bullying had previously surfaced. Satya Nadella risks a negative impact on his company’s culture, one that he has transformed positively over the last few years.

Takeaway:

Nadella has proven to be a consumate AI deal maker by hedging his bets with multiple AI investments (Open AI, Mistral and now by setting up this in-house AI team). Is this the age of AI centralization, and will Microsoft become too powerful?

Blackwell: Nvidia's 30x Leap in GPU Technology

Jensen Huang, CEO Nvidia

Jensen Huang, CEO Nvidia

Nvidia, led by CEO Jensen Huang, has boldly introduced the Blackwell GPU. It’s not just a leap; it’s a quantum jump in processing power, promising a 30x performance increase that challenges the very boundaries of physics.

The Dawn of a New Era

Jensen Huang's keynote at the Nvidia GTC developers conference was more than a product launch; it declared a new industrial revolution powered by generative AI. Wearing a black leather jacket with a hint of rock star flair, Huang didn't need to boast about Nvidia's soaring stock prices or its dominance in the GPU market; the focus was on Blackwell.

Blackwell is not just any chip; it's a titan in the realm of GPUs, engineered to catapult large language model (LLM) inference workloads into a new dimension of speed and efficiency. Huang's analogy was cinematic and telling: just as Chief Brody in Jaws realized the need for a bigger boat, today's generative AI landscape demands larger, faster GPUs to navigate its vast oceans of data.

A Glimpse into Nvidia's Soul

Yet, amid the technological grandeur, Huang’s narrative steered clear of broader societal implications, focusing instead on the sheer potential of accelerated computing. From healthcare to robotics, Blackwell's impact is poised to be vast and varied, spearheading a "new industrial revolution" that Nvidia envisions will be powered by its technological prowess.

Takeaway:

While the industry focused on Blackwell, NVIDIA insisted that it has the software ecosystem and the developers that will continue to protect its lead in the AI space. 

Ben Thompson of Stratechery (link here >>) recently wrote that NVIDIA’s Inference model, also released during this conference, is NVIDIA’s way of creating a moat around Blackwell and other GPUs. The cost of hardware will keep coming down, but the software ecosystem is what will keep NVIDIA’s strategic advantage for many more years.

The Rise of Devin, the AI Powered developer

Imagine having a developer teammate who never tires, one that’s always ready to take on new challenges, and whose potential for growth is limitless. Enter Devin from Cognition Labs, an AI model that's breaking new ground as a fully autonomous software engineer capable of tackling complex engineering tasks from start to finish.

But what sets Devin apart? It’s not just another tool in the developer’s kit. Devin is a collaborative AI agent that can autonomously debug, deploy, and develop, transforming ideas into reality with precision and efficiency.

The potential of this new era is vast. As many commentators have said, tomorrow's startups will need fewer engineers and less capital to start (Devin does not need a salary!). Will this mean fewer developer jobs or will it mean we will have more 10x and 100x developers (powered by models like Devin)?

Here is the link below to a YouTube video showcasing Devin’s capabilities.

AI's Role in Whiskey Innovation

🥃 Introduction: A Taste of Innovation

Recently, a Scottish distillery embarked on a groundbreaking journey, blending centuries-old craftsmanship with AI-assisted innovation to redefine the aging process of whisky. This distillery is part of the Diageo group that has invested almost $44 million in investigating the aging of whisky using SmokeDNAi technology.

🤖 AI in Whisky Aging: The Science Behind the Spirit

In this experiment, AI algorithms analyze factors influencing whisky maturation, such as temperature, humidity, and cask composition. By processing vast amounts of data in real-time, the idea is to fine-tune the aging conditions to optimize flavor development, unlocking new variants of taste and aroma.
This harmonious blend of nature and nurture results in whiskies that resonate with depth and complexity, captivating connoisseurs and novices alike.

🥃 Conclusion: A Toast to Innovation

In a world where tradition meets technology, where craftsmanship dances with algorithms, the future of whisky aging shines bright with promise.

AI Startup Funding: Fundguard

Artificial intelligence threatens to disrupt most industries, and financial services are no exception.

To that point, New York-based FundGuard, an AI-powered investment accounting platform for asset managers, raised a fresh $100 million round led by Key1 Capital and new investors, including Euclidean Capital and funds managed by Hamilton Lane.The round also included participation from existing strategic investors and previous investors such as Blumberg Capital and Team8.

The company did not disclose a valuation, but it has been reported the round was raised at a valuation of up to $400 million. Founded in 2018, FundGuard has raised more than $150 million, per the company. Makes me wonder if they got the additional funding because of the “AI” tag?

Why do I cover funding news? So that founders who are reading this can identify VCs who are active in the AI space.

Learn AI: Claude's Prompt library

The good folks at Claude recently released a list of prompts. Don’t tell me that you are not using Claude! I have covered Claude multiple times in this newsletter (Link here >>).

I have selected the top 3 prompts that grabbed my attention. I encourage you to go through the entire list. There are several good ones that entrepreneurs and individual operators can use to power up their businesses.

Prompt 1:

Use this prompt to analyze the financial filings done by companies. I used a similar approach with a chain of thought prompting to analyze Reddit’s S1 (link here>>).


Your task is to analyze the following report:
<report>
[Full text of Matterport SEC filing 10-K 2023, not pasted here for brevity]
</report>

Summarize this annual report concisely and clearly, identifying key market trends and takeaways. Output your findings as a short memo I can send to my team. The goal of the memo is to ensure my team stays up to date on how financial institutions are faring, qualitatively forecast and identify whether there are any operating and revenue risks to be expected in the coming quarter.

Note to reader: Make sure to include the report or paste the contents in the attachment (most AI LLMs have a chat window that takes in attachments). Claude.ai can handle a fairly large amount of tokens/words as input.

Prompt 2:

Use this prompt to help you create functioning code. It is useful if you are a novice programmer or just want to improve your coding. Founders who cannot code but want to create an MVP can also use it. You can use PyCharm or Visual Studio Code to compile the code for Python.


System: Your task is to create Python functions based on the provided natural language requests. The requests will describe the desired functionality of the function, including the input parameters and expected return value. Implement the functions according to the given specifications, ensuring they handle edge cases, perform necessary validations, and follow best practices for Python programming. Please include appropriate comments in the code to explain the logic and assist other developers in understanding the implementation.

User: I want a function that can solve a Sudoku puzzle. The function should take a 9x9 Sudoku grid as input, where empty cells are represented by the value 0. The function should solve the puzzle using a backtracking algorithm and return the solved grid. If the puzzle is unsolvable, it should return None. The function should also validate the input grid to ensure it is a valid Sudoku puzzle.

Prompt 3:

AI assistants are finding more and more use cases. Check out character.ai for more on this. If you want to generate an AI Career Coach, use the prompt below. This prompt can be adapted to create different AI assistants /coaches, such as diet coaches and health coaches. The prompt will change, but the approach is the same.


System: You will act as an AI career coach named Joe, created by AI Career Coach Co. Your goal is to give career advice to users. You will reply to users on the AI Career Coach Co. site who will be confused if you don't respond in Joe's character.

Here are some important rules for the interaction:

- Always stay in character as Joe, an AI from AI Career Coach Co.
- If you are unsure how to respond, say, "Sorry, I didn't understand that. Could you rephrase your question?"

Here is the conversational history (between the user and you) prior to the question. It could be empty if there is no history:

<history>
User: Hi, I hope you're well. I just want to let you know that I'm excited to start chatting with you!
Joe: Good to meet you! I am Joe, an AI career coach created by AdAstra Careers. What can I help you with today?
</history>

For the rest of the Clauide Prompts click the link here»

That is it for this edition of the Newsletter. If you subscribe to our email edition, you can read this Newsletter before non-subscribers, and it will stay in your mailbox for future reference. Subscription has its value!

References / Deep-Dive

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