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The Friday AI hype firehose came right on schedule last week.

Right before the weekend, the Financial Times reported that DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman and LinkedIn creator Reid Hoffman were seeking up to $675 million in funding for their startup Inflection, even though they have yet to release a product.

Then the publication reported that Andreessen Horowitz, Marc Andreessen’s venture capital firm, had led an investment of more than $200 million in generative AI company Character AI (which generates dialogue in the style of characters such as Elon Musk and Nintendo’s Mario), launching the startup to a $1 billion valuation.

The same day, Bloomberg reported that Stability AI, the parent company of the popular open-source Stable Diffusion, is already hunting for additional investment that would value the company at $4 billion.


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ChatGPT API will increase AI news overload

This is all in addition to my weighed-down email inbox, which by Friday was overflowing with subject lines like “Early Look at World’s First Customer Support Platform Powered by OpenAI” and “Generative AI Content Creation App For Branded Enterprise Content” and “New ChatGPT-like Feature to Revolutionize Data-Driven Marketing.”

Given that Elon Musk’s “Based AI” pronouncements are only a few days old and OpenAI’s ChatGPT API was just released last Wednesday, I’m expecting this end-of-week AI overload to exponentially increase. A ChatGPT API hackathon drew hundreds in San Francisco on Sunday, with demos including a daily horoscope for every sign by Mean Girls’ Regina George, powered by ChatGPT.

Finding hope amid the hype

As I struggle to manage both my inbox and my buzzing brain, which felt by Friday a little bit like this, I am thankfully latching onto some signs of hope amid the AI hype.

All hail Michael Atleson, an attorney at the FTC’s division of advertising practices, who last Monday posted a breath-of-fresh-air blog post that reminded companies to keep their AI claims in check:

“A creature is formed of clay. A puppet becomes a boy. A monster rises in a lab. A computer takes over a spaceship. And all manner of robots serve or control us. For generations we’ve told ourselves stories, using themes of magic and science, about inanimate things that we bring to life or imbue with power beyond human capacity. Is it any wonder that we can be primed to accept what marketers say about new tools and devices that supposedly reflect the abilities and benefits of artificial intelligence (AI)?”

Atleson politely let companies know that the FTC “might be wondering” about, among other things, “Are you exaggerating what your product can do?” “Are you promising that your AI product does something better than a non-AI product?” “Are you aware of the risk?” And, seriously: “Does the product actually use AI at all?”

He concluded with a mic drop: “You don’t need a machine to predict what the FTC might do when those claims are unsupported,” he wrote.

Organizations still struggling with AI at scale

I’m also heartened by the fact that, honestly, enterprise companies can only move so fast when it comes to getting on the AI hype train. Just because the ChatGPT API can be used to create Queen Bee horoscopes doesn’t mean it’s going to show up in your health insurance next month.

For example, I’m currently working on a special issue for VentureBeat around the theme of implementing AI at scale. For large enterprise companies with millions of customers, sensitive data and regulatory guardrails, this is no small feat and one that most have just begun to tackle in a big way.

While my Twitter feed is filled with breathless predictions about AI use cases, many large enterprises are still just trying to corral and clean their data. Sam Altman may be prophesying about the future of AGI; but a leading insurance company is just trying to use AI to automate claims processing. Every CEO is looking for advice on not missing the boat on ChatGPT; but a Fortune 500 bank is still trying to get its average AI model deployment below 21 weeks.

An unlikely source of reassurance

Finally, I latched onto an unlikely source of reassurance in the midst of my Friday AI hype meltdown: Wired’s article titled “Welcome to the Museum of the Future AI Apocalypse,” curated by Audrey Kim, an early employee of Google.

According to the article, the Misalignment Museum “imagines a future in which AI starts to take the route mapped out in countless science fiction films — becoming self aware and setting about killing off humanity. Fortunately, in Kim’s vision the algorithms self-correct and stop short of killing all people. Her museum, packed with artistic allegories about AI and art made with AI assistance, is presented as a memorial of humankind’s future near-miss with extinction.”

The article said that Kim finds it unlikely that AGI will kill most of humanity, despite her exhibition’s theme.

“AI is going to affect all of us, so to me it’s about how do we get as many people to start thinking about it and forming their own opinions,” Kim said in the piece.

Ahh… I could just feel my typical Friday racing heart start to slow a little bit. You mean we’ll survive? If that’s the case, who cares about the AI hype?

As long as my inbox doesn’t explode, and my Twitter feed doesn’t melt, and Google searches of “generative AI” don’t pierce through the Earth’s atmosphere, I can handle the Friday AI hype.

But you’ll find me far better prepared to deal with it all on Monday.

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