AI Investment Surges, New AI Assistant Enhances Productivity, and CPU Wars on the Horizon
This weekly review delves into various developments shaping the world of artificial intelligence (AI), industry layoffs, major product releases, and the future of PC hardware. Palantir Technologies, a prominent tech company, firmly rejects calls for an AI development pause, highlighting the importance of staying ahead in the AI race. Meanwhile, Glean Chat, an AI-based search assistant, aims to enhance productivity within enterprises through conversational search capabilities.
The investment landscape showcases AI startup Cohere raising an impressive $270 million while Spotify undergoes strategic staff cuts to enter a new era in podcasting. Apple’s WWDC 2023 event unveils groundbreaking technologies, including the Vision Pro mixed-reality headset.
Stay ahead in AI race; tech boss urges West
Palantir Technologies firmly rejects calls to pause the development of AI. According to Palantir’s CEO Alex Karp, those advocating for a pause are typically individuals or organizations without any products of their own. Karp believes that the race for AI dominance is underway, and the West must maintain its current commercial and military advantages in this field. Slowing down the development of AI would continue the race, and it could jeopardize the West’s competitive edge. Karp argues that it is essential to continue pushing forward in AI to prevent other countries, especially adversaries, from surpassing the West in commercial applications and on the battlefield.
AI-based search assistant Glean Chat boosts productivity
Meanwhile, more companies embrace the trend of launching new products powered by artificial intelligence. Glean, a Palo Alto-based startup founded by former Google, Microsoft, and Meta employees, has recently unveiled Glean Chat.
This generative AI assistant enhances productivity and efficiency within enterprises through a conversational search interface. Glean Chat enables employees to quickly and effectively find information with proper source citations by leveraging APIs, an enterprise’s applications, and content repositories. It operates similarly to OpenAI’s ChatGPT but is tailored to an enterprise’s content and resource boundaries.
AI startup raises $270 million from the top tech investors
AI continues to attract significant investment, as demonstrated by the recent success of AI startup Cohere. Cohere has secured $270 million in funding from a combination of venture capital and strategic investors, including Oracle Corp. and Nvidia Corp. The Toronto-based company, valued at $2.1 billion to $2.2 billion, specializes in building large language models trained on extensive internet data. These models are customized for various applications, such as summarizing customer emails or generating website copy. Cohere’s CEO, Aidan Gomez, a former Google employee and co-author of a groundbreaking AI research paper, aims to leverage their technology to advance text analysis and generation.
WWDC 2023 news: Apple Vision Pro, Mac Pro, iOS 17, and more
At WWDC 2023, Apple unveiled its latest tech offerings, including the Vision Pro, a mixed-reality headset that marks Apple’s entry into a new technology platform. Tim Cook described the Vision Pro as a device that overlays virtual screens onto the real world and can be controlled through eye movements, hand gestures, voice commands, and an Apple Watch-like dial. The event also featured new hardware releases like the Mac Pro, Mac Studio, and a 15-inch MacBook Air. Apple used the occasion to announce updates for various operating systems and apps, including iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, macOS, and more.
Tech layoffs in 2023: A timeline
The tech industry has witnessed a surge in layoffs in 2023 due to an uncertain global economy and declining revenue growth. Significant layoffs have occurred at major tech companies, including Amazon, Meta, Microsoft, Google, IBM, SAP, and Salesforce.
The hiring spree during the pandemic to support remote work and e-commerce has led to workforce reductions as companies face revenue declines. Computerworld provides a timeline of these layoffs, highlighting the challenges big tech face and their impact on the industry.
Spotify cut staff and talent to enter its YouTube era
Spotify recently underwent a series of staff reductions to position itself for a new era inspired by YouTube. The company laid off approximately 200 employees, primarily in its talk-content division, adding to the 600 job cuts earlier in the year. Bloomberg describes this as the end of an era in podcasting and at Spotify. Despite the layoffs, the company plans to grow in the podcasting space.
Google gets stricter about employees’ time in the office
Google has implemented stricter policies regarding employees’ presence in the office as part of its hybrid work approach. The updated policy requires employees to work from the office more consistently, and Google will monitor office attendance using badges. Employees who fail to meet in-office requirements may face the consequences, including performance reviews. The company believes in-person collaboration is irreplaceable and is vital in fostering productivity and innovation.
The coming CPU war is likely to play out in 2024
The PC industry is on the brink of a seismic shift as chipmakers like AMD, Intel, and Qualcomm make significant strides to revolutionize machine operations while keeping up with the advancements in generative AI. Looking ahead to 2024, these companies are developing impressive components that will dramatically change how PCs operate. The battle for PC CPUs, which will increasingly incorporate GPU and NPU capabilities (or VPU for Intel), will drive significant performance and battery life improvements. While the true benefits of these innovations may not fully manifest until 2025, as software evolves to leverage the latest hardware features, this competitive landscape opens the door for new players like Nvidia to reshape the marketplace.
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