Welcome to The Week in Generative AI, a weekly column for marketers from Quad Insights that quickly sums up need-to-know developments surrounding this rapidly evolving technology.
Meta to launch smart glasses and AI chatbot
On Wednesday, Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled new AI consumer products that integrate virtual and real-world experiences.
For instance, Meta’s $299 Ray-Ban smart glasses, set for release in the U.S. on Oct. 17, will include the Meta AI assistant for live broadcasting on Facebook and Instagram. Reuters’ Anna Tong notes that “a software update planned for next year will give the assistant the ability to identify places and objects that people are seeing, as well as to perform language translation.” (The latest Quest mixed-reality headset, priced at $500, ships starting Oct. 10, and will come equipped with technology featured in Meta’s higher-end Quest Pro.)
The company also announced Meta AI, a chatbot assistant that generates text responses and realistic images with real-time web search capabilities thanks to a new partnership with Microsoft’s Bing. As part of that chatbot ecosystem, Meta is developing a platform for creating custom AI bots, exemplified by 28 celebrity-styled chatbots (e.g., a bot named Amber that chats in the manner of Paris Hilton).
• “Meta to Push for Younger Users With New AI Chatbot Characters” (The Wall Street Journal)
• “Meta is putting AI chatbots everywhere” (The Verge)
• “Meta introduces ChatGPT competitor, AI tools amid industry arms race” (The Washington Post)
Amazon invests in Anthropic
Amazon is investing $4 billion in Anthropic, the AI startup behind Claude. The move grants Amazon a minority stake and ensures privileged access for its cloud customers to Anthropic’s technology via Amazon Bedrock, its AI business platform. Anthropic, in return, has committed to using Amazon Web Services (AWS) for its AI pursuits.
Callum Keown and Tae Kim write in Barron’s that this “arrangement follows Microsoft multibillion-dollar, multiyear investment in OpenAI. Alphabet’s Google, another major player in the intensifying battle for AI supremacy, also is an investor in Anthropic.” Companies such as LexisNexis and Bridgewater Associates have tapped into Claude’s prowess by developing applications ranging from legal summaries to advanced financial charts, while Lonely Planet creates travel suggestions using the technology.
Over at CBNC, Arjun Kharpal observes that “the move underscores Amazon’s aggressive AI push as it looks to keep pace with rivals such as Microsoft and Alphabet’s Google.”
• “Amazon Makes a Shrewd Move in the AI Arms Race” (Bloomberg)
• “Amazon’s Big AI Investment Just Put Microsoft and Alphabet on Notice” (The Motley Fool)
ChatGPT can now answer voice prompts
OpenAI has upgraded ChatGPT to interact via spoken word, akin to Siri or Alexa, and can now also respond to images, a milestone in making it more user-friendly according to reporting from The New York Times’ Cade Metz, Brian X. Chen and Karen Weise. For $20 a month, subscribers to ChatGPT Plus can access the voice response feature on mobile devices, which potentially broadens its user base.
As Metz, Chen and Weise write, “Older digital assistants, like Alexa and Siri, acted like command-and-control centers that could perform a set number of tasks or give answers to a finite list of questions programmed into their databases … and adding new commands to the older assistants could take weeks,” while “ChatGPT can respond authoritatively to virtually any question thrown at it in seconds.”
The incorporation of DALL-E, an image generator, has broadened ChatGPT’s capabilities further.
• “The New ChatGPT Can ‘See’ and ‘Talk.’ Here’s What It’s Like.” (The New York Times)
• “ChatGPT Isn’t Stuck in 2021 Anymore, Can Browse Web for Recent Answers” (The New York Times)
• “OpenAI Seeks New Valuation of Up to $90 Billion in Sale of Existing Shares” (The Wall Street Journal)
• “Getty Images Plunges Into the Generative AI Pool” (The Verge)
Thanks for reading. We’ll see you next week.
If you’d like to catch up on prior installments of this column, start by heading to last week’s recap: “The Week in Generative AI: September 22, 2023”