Is time TikTokking for ChatGPT?

ByteDance's personal chatbot plans

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TikTok-maker targets ChatGPT

ByteDance, the company behind the attention-suck app TikTok, is reportedly working on an AI platform that will let users build their own chatbots. 

South China Morning Post **says it has seen an internal ByteDance memo outlining a plan for a generative AI “bot development platform.” And perhaps most curiously, it ByteDance is planning to launch the app in public beta as soon as this month. Your move, **OpenAI

ByteDance is not stopping there; the news report also claims the company is working on a text-to-image generator, though it’s unclear if or when that product will make a public appearance.

Why it matters: **OpenAI recently delayed the launch of its **custom GPT marketplace, which could provide an opening for ByteDance. Of course, with TikTok proving a lightning rod for China-anxious lawmakers around the world, it remains to be seen if ByteDance can really become a player in the AI global arena.

South China Morning Post | Link to story.

Nvidia promises to help Japan with GPUs

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang says his company will “our very, very best to prioritize Japan's requirements for GPUs.”

Huang made the comments after a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, where he noted Japan and other countries “are realizing that you need to own your own data, build your own AI factories and produce your own AI intelligence.”

Huang’s pronouncements come as the Japanese government has signed off on a 2 trillion yen ($13.6 billion) plan to develop and manufacture chips - so perhaps it’s just good business for Nvidia to make big promises.

Why it matters: Nvidia has been a major benefactor of the AI fever we’re currently living through. And now that nations are throwing tens-of-billions at the industry, it’s perhaps no surprise that Nvidia finds itself being courted by global leaders.

Reuters | Link to story.

Meta’s AI head says we can chill about AGI

A lot of tech executives have made predictions about when artificial general intelligence (AGI) will be a real actual thing. Elon Musk and Jensen Huang have both come out in recent weeks, suggesting the machines will be smarter than us in just a handful of years.

However, Meta’s chief scientist Yann LeCun is much more skeptical; he thinks we’ll be lucky if AI that’s as smart as a dog or a cat within the next decade.

LeCun, who oversees Meta’s AI division, suggests Huang is hyping the race to AGI because Nvidia has something to gain from it: “There is an AI war, and [Huang’s] supplying the weapons,” says LeCun.

LeCun also notes that, as advanced as large language models have become, they are still unable to understand some “really basic things about the world.” Much like pets, then. 

Why it matters: With so many tech companies pursuing AI that is smarter than humans, it is somewhat sobering to hear LeCun suggest the future is less certain than others seem to think. Still, the varying opinions across the AI sector perhaps only serve as a reminder that AI is still a nascent technology - one with the potential to surprise and disappoint in equal measure.

CNBC | Link to story.

AssemblyAI raises $50M

Speech AI startup AssemblyAI **has raised $50 million led by **Accel with participation from Keith Block, Nat Friedman, Daniel Gross, Insight Partners, and Y Combinator. 

Assembly AI offers a suite of audio APIs aimed at those who wish to build their own tools for speech-to-text, sentiment analysis, and more. The company has raised $115 million to date.

**Why it matters: **Across video meetings, phone calls, and even voicemails, spoken communications are still a big part of daily business. AssemblyAI’s ability to raise such a sizable early round suggests there could be many more innovators that will zero in on the space.

TechCrunch | Link to story.