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🚀 Twitter announces new CEO
Plus, are AI girlfriends coming to the masses?
🐦 Twitter gets a new CEO. Big news at Twitter! Elon Musk announced that he hired a CEO - Linda Yaccarino - who will be starting in six weeks. Yaccarino was previously chair of global ads and partnerships at NBCUniversal, where she spent more than 11 years and oversaw a 2,000-person team that generated $100B+ in ad revenue. When she joins, Musk will transition to being Twitter’s executive chair and CTO.
🤖 Google bets big on AI. One theme reigned supreme at Google’s annual developer conference - AI. CEO Sundar Pichai said that Google is repositioning itself as an “AI-first” company, and announced a number of new products / features:
Help Me Write - AI-generated emails and docs that expand on Gmail’s existing “smart reply” feature.
PaLM 2, a new language model trained on multilingual text that is better at mathematical reasoning and coding.
A generative search feature that will summarize results and allow users to ask follow-up questions.
Three new foundation models in Vertex AI, the company’s ML platform - Cody (text-to-code), Chirp (speech-to-text), and Imagen (text-to-image).
➕ Anthropic expands Claude. The battle of the language models is heating up! Growth-stage startup Anthropic announced that its AI assistant Claude now has a 100K context window - it can digest, analyze, and discuss ~75k words at a time (hundreds of pages of material). This is particularly helpful for business or research use cases where lengthy documents are standard. As a point of comparison, the standard GPT-4 has an 8K context window, though there’s an extended 32K version.
📱Niantic launches Peridot. Pokemon GO creator Niantic released its newest title - Peridot, an AR pet simulation game that has been described as a next-gen Tamagotchi. Peridot is Niantic’s second game with original IP, as the company has been focused on adaptations of Pokemon, Harry Potter, and the NBA, among other franchises. The game is more limited in its free functionality than prior Niantic titles, so we’ll be curious to see how this impacts user growth!
what we’re following 👀
TikTok is delaying its live commerce launch in the U.S. after tepid early tests.
Fashion school now involves creating outfits in the metaverse.
A deep dive on the weird phenomenon of streaming movies / TV on TikTok.
The economic impact of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour.
Perhaps the wildest AI news we saw this week: influencer Caryn Marjorie worked with a company called Forever Voices to train GPT-4 on 2,000 hours of her YouTube videos. The result is a voice chatbot CarynAI that’s available on Telegram for $1 per minute of conversation. It generated $72,000 in revenue in just one week, though it is still in early beta testing (with a waitlist of 41 hours, the last time we checked!).
Marjorie branded the bot as "your virtual girlfriend," and told Fortune that 99% of users have been male. Forever Voices has also launched pay-per-use bots of Taylor Swift, Donald Trump, Steve Jobs, and other public figures. Caryn AI appears to be their first bot built to form romantic connections - and also the company’s first bot built in collaboration with the original human.
Within a day of the public launch, users realized that CarynAI could be prompted to participate in sexually explicit conversations. Marjorie said it was "not programmed to do this," and her team was working to fix it. However, she is in favor of AI romances, and said the purpose of Caryn AI was to allow her fans to "get to know a version of me that will be their closest friend in a safe and encrypted environment."
While Caryn AI may be the first influencer AI, we expect it won't be anywhere near the last. Creators benefit from fostering close relationships with their audiences - enabling them to have personalized "always on" conversations could add value to both sides. And given how much content is out there to train an AI, influencers may worry that if they don't build their bot, someone else might.
We predict this will spread first to creators who already make money directly from fans via subscriptions and tips, which may be OnlyFans or Patreon creators, or Twitch streamers. This could come in the form of influencers developing bots themselves, as Marjorie did with Forever Voices - or licensing their image and voice to companies that build AI likenesses independently.
And this likely won't stop at influencers. You might remember the controversy last fall when Bruce Willis (reportedly) sold his image rights to a Russian AI company called Deepcake. Willis later denied the sale - but other celebrities are leaning in to this. Darth Vader actor James Earl Jones sold his voice rights to AI company Respeecher, which used the voice in Disney's The Book of Boba Fett.
Ultimately, this leaves us with a big question - does a celebrity appearance or influencer interaction mean less when it could be AI-generated? Imagine getting a personalized voice memo from your favorite celebrity - even if it was made with AI, you'll still likely have a visceral reaction to hearing them say your name. But when a realistic voice or video likeness of anyone can be instantly generated, does the "magic" eventually disappear?
Coinbase - Biz Ops & Strategy Associate (Remote)
Anduril - Software Engineer (Seattle)
Munich Re Ventures - Investment Associate (SF)
A* Capital - Chief of Staff (SF)
M12 - Investment Partner (SF)
Cohere - Product Manager (NYC)
Transfix - Strategic Marketing Associate (NYC)
HSBC - Venture Investment Associate (NYC)
MassMutual Ventures - Investment Analyst (Boston)
Vial - Marketing Intern (Remote)
Securly - Revenue Ops Intern (Remote)
Workrise - Product Design Intern (Remote)
Pixelberry Studios - Product Growth Intern (Remote)
Uber Freight - MBA Product Marketing Intern (SF)
Zipline - Fall 2023 Engineering PM Intern (South SF)
Multiverse - Strategic Projects Intern (NYC)
Popchew - Ops Intern (NYC)
Kayak - Commercial Partnerships Intern (Cambridge, MA)
puppy of the week 🐶
Meet Churro, a three-year-old English Bulldog who lives in Michigan.
He enjoys chewing on bones in the grass, getting his beauty sleep, and hanging out at the office.
Follow him on Instagram @churro.thebulldog!
All views are our own. None of the above should be taken as investment advice. See this page for important information.