💰 Another quick $1.5B

PLUS: Ernie Bot is on the rise

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Happy Wednesday, fellow humans 👋

Microsoft is investing $1.5B into G24 (a U.A.E.-based AI company), AI companions might become the next billion-dollar opportunity, and Baidu’s Ernie Bot is gaining popularity…

Let’s dive into it!

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🧵 In today's edition:

  • 💰 Another quick $1.5B

  • 🧑‍🤝‍🧑 AI girlfriends

  • 🤖 Ernie Bot is on the rise

  • 🛠️ AI Tools to Check Out

  • 🤑 AI Fundraising News

  • 🐦 Tweet Post of the Day

In a high-stakes move orchestrated by the Biden administration, Microsoft announced plans to invest $1.5B in G42, an AI company based in the U.A.E. 

The goal? To box out China as the U.S. competes for technological influence in the Gulf region.

Terms of the deal: 

  • Under the partnership, Microsoft will allow G42 to sell services utilizing powerful AI chips to train AI models. 

  • In return, G42 will use Microsoft's cloud services and adhere to stringent security measures negotiated with the U.S. government to protect AI intellectual property.

  • The agreement also requires G42 to strip out Chinese gear, such as Huawei equipment, from its operations, seek permission before sharing technology with other governments, and prohibit using the tech for surveillance.

  • Microsoft will have auditing powers over G42's use of its technology.

Overall: The tech rivalry between China and the U.S. is getting stronger each day. While the U.A.E. is a U.S. partner, concerns have arisen over G42's ties to China, including partnerships with Chinese firms and employees from Chinese government-linked companies. 

The deal could help the U.S. counter China's rising regional clout while reaping financial rewards for Microsoft. 

Read more: NY Times

🧑‍🤝‍🧑 AI girlfriends

This Twitter/X post made by Greg Isenberg, CEO of Late Checkout, has been trending since last week.

Its premise was simple: AI-generated virtual girlfriends are poised to create a billion-dollar dating industry. 

Here’s the story: 

  • Isenberg recounted meeting a 24-year-old man in Miami who admitted to spending $10,000 monthly on "AI girlfriends."

  • The man explained his fondness for customizing an AI companion's likes, dislikes, and even voice interactions, saying, "It's comfort at the end of the day." 

  • He preferred websites like Candy.ai and Kupid.ai, which offer immersive chatbots that portray fictional girlfriends.

Isenberg predicted, "Someone will build the AI-version of Match Group and make $1B+," referring to the dating app conglomerate. Platforms like Romance.AI, Replika, Forever Companion, Nomi.ai, and Soulmate are already gaining popularity by allowing users to create personalized AI partners for friendships, mentoring, or romantic relationships.

Want some proof? A recent survey from Infobip found that nearly 20% of Americans have flirtatiously chatted with AI bots, with motivations ranging from curiosity and loneliness to sexual exploration. 

Overall: As the technology develops, Isenberg believes AI companions could disrupt the dating industry with a billion-dollar AI girlfriend service.

While the concept raises ethical considerations, the market demand appears present, positioning AI girlfriends as an emerging industry to watch.

Read more: Yahoo News

One of China's tech giants, Baidu, recently announced that its AI chatbot "Ernie Bot" has amassed over 200 million users since its public release eight months ago. 

The number of users has doubled since the company's last update in December, demonstrating the growing popularity of ChatGPT-like AI assistants in China.

Here are some stats on the Ernie Bot:

  • During a conference in Shenzhen, Baidu CEO Robin Li revealed that Ernie Bot's API is being utilized 200 million times daily. 

  • Ernie Bot has also gained traction in the enterprise sector, with 85,000 companies utilizing the AI assistant.

  • Li stated that in the fourth quarter of last year, Baidu had already generated several hundred million yuan in revenue by leveraging AI to improve its advertising services and assisting other companies in building their own AI models.

Overall: While Ernie Bot was the first domestically developed ChatGPT-like chatbot announced in China, it faced regulatory hurdles and only received approval for public release in August, along with seven other AI chatbots approved by Beijing.

Despite its early lead, Ernie Bot faces fierce competition from rival domestic AI services like "Kimi" from Alibaba-backed startup Moonshot AI, which is quickly catching up regarding user visits.

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🤑 AI Fundraising News

  • Upstage raises $72M in Series B funding to help boost work efficiency with document processing engines and LLMs.

  • Take2 AI raises $3M in Seed funding to develop an AI-powered job simulation platform for sales recruiting that helps companies generate tailor-made simulations of real-world sales scenarios that vet job applicants for skills, behavioral attributes, and culture fit.

🐦 Tweet Post of the Day

Poe announced some exciting updates recently - check them out here 👇️ 

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As always, thanks for reading. Have a great day, and see you next time! ✌️

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