Welcome to The Week in Generative AI, a weekly roundup for marketers from Quad Insights that sums up the latest news surrounding this rapidly evolving technology.

Employees of AI companies issue open letter warning of AI risks

As AI safety concerns continue to heat up, a group of current and former employees at major AI players, including OpenAI and Google DeepMind, this week issued an open letter “that warned of a lack of safety oversight within the industry and called for increased protections for whistleblowers,” The Guardian reports. In addition to asking for the institution of anonymous channels for employees to raise AI-related issues to a company board, the letter calls to end the practice of forcing employees into legally binding agreements that prohibit them from airing AI-related risks. “AI companies have strong financial incentives to avoid effective oversight, and we do not believe bespoke structures of corporate governance are sufficient to change this,” per the letter.

Previously: “OpenAI announces new safety committee,” as we noted in last week’s edition of this column.

U.S. Bank leverages AI to create audience models in new campaign

For its new national campaign “The Power of Us,” U.S. Bank leveraged AI “to create audience models to test its creative against,” Marketing Dive’s Aaron Baar reports. In a partnership with agency Supernatural, AI avatars were generated for U.S. Bank’s six core target audiences — and in the process, the underlying campaign theme of “powering potential” emerged, Baar notes. With all English versions voiced by actor Jake Gyllenhaal, the campaign’s hero spot and three additional spots highlight various stories about what can be achieved with the help of the U.S. Bank team. The campaign will run across channels including CTV, broadcast, digital and out-of-home.

Previously: “Adweek explores use of AI-generated focus groups,” as we noted in the April 12 edition of this column.

Amazon uses generative AI to scan packages for defects prior to shipment

Amazon is using an AI model to “find defective or damaged products, or flag items that may be the wrong size or color,” Fast Company’s Sam Becker reports. Aiming to decrease returns and boost sustainability, the tool — dubbed “Project P.I.” (short for private investigator) — utilizes generative AI and computer vision tech to flag issues in its fulfillment centers. Read the full story here.

See also: “Amazon plans an AI upgrade and monthly subscription for Alex,” as we noted in the May 24 edition of this column.

Sanderson Farms debuts an AI chicken chatbot

Sanderson Farms, the nation’s third largest poultry producer, just debuted Sandy — a new AI chatbot with a chicken avatar. In a slightly surreal deployment of AI technology, Sandy — “the first-ever chicken chatbot tool,” per the announcement — will now offer website visitors “quick cooking tips, fast recipe finds, helpful serving suggestions and more.” (A sample prompt provided by Sandy: “What’s a healthy chicken-thigh recipe my kids will eat?”) All aboard the AI chatbot hype train — even apparently, chickens.

Generative AI seed funding deals see sharp decline

Pre-seed and seed funding venture capital deals in the generative AI space amassed just $122.9 million in Q1 2024 — down 76% from a peak of $517.7 million in Q3 2023, PitchBook’s Jacob Robbins reports. Since the rise of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in 2022, startups have flooded into the space and raised gaudy amounts of funds, but the market seems to be correcting course as investors shift to a “wait-and-see” approach of assessing the technology’s viability as a revenue generator, Robbins notes. “There was this huge rush, and a lot of people got funded who probably shouldn’t have,” Founder and Managing Partner of Ripple Ventures Matt Cohen tells Robbins.

Further reading