Ever since the introduction of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in November 2022, generative AI has experienced a meteoric rise. Big Tech has been in a race to get a slice of the generative AI pie in 2023, while many businesses have moved quickly to adopt and integrate the emerging tech into their processes – all within less than a year of it becoming mainstream.
In August 2023, a survey conducted by research company GlobalData found that more than 50% of businesses questioned had experienced significant disruption within their sector as a result of AI.
The rapid rise of generative AI’s popularity has also led to a rise in concerns and pressure for regulation in 2023. The technology industry and governments around the world have scrambled to make regulatory adjustments to how the technology is used and made.
Security, data privacy, and ethics have all been contested topics of discussion when talking about generative AI’s role in the industry. Technology companies have had to work hard to address these to appease both governments and customers while keeping up the innovation speed to not fall behind emerging players.
The World Economic Forum stated that studies have shown “efforts to regulate AI appear to be gathering pace”.
In 2023, the EU arguably surpassed other Western countries in the race to set generative AI regulations, with its Artificial Intelligence Act setting a clear stance on how the tech can be used and made.
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The UK does not currently have laws governing the use of AI. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expressed his desire for the country to be a “global leader in AI regulation”, shortly after the announcement that it would be hosting the world’s first global summit for AI safety.
But despite the hype, AI is still in a very early part of its roadmap, according to GlobalData.
“The ability of machines to do anything that a human can and possess consciousness is still decades away,” GlobalData wrote in its 2023 AI thematic research report.
However, the company notes that “good enough” AI is already here, however, capable of interacting with humans, motion, and making decisions.
This year has seen some huge investments into generative AI from Microsoft’s major investment into OpenAI to AI start-ups looking to do something different with the technology.
Here are the top five generative AI deals made in 2023, so far.
Microsoft invests $10bn in ChatGPT maker OpenAI – 23 January 2023
Microsoft announced it was investing $10bn in OpenAI in January, following its hit generative AI chatbot, ChatGPT, making waves across the industry since its release in November.
“We formed our partnership with OpenAI around a shared ambition to responsibly advance cutting-edge AI research and democratise AI as a new technology platform,” said Satya Nadella, Microsoft chairman and CEO.
The support follows the previous $1bn investment from Microsoft in 2019 and 2021.
“In this next phase of our partnership, developers and organizations across industries will have access to the best AI infrastructure, models, and toolchain with Azure to build and run their applications,” Nadella said.
Inflection AI secures $1.3bn in venture funding – 29 June 2023
The California-based AI start-up is on a mission to create “personal AI for everyone”.
CEO Mustafa Suleyman, who previously co-founded Google’s AI subsidiary DeepMind, said the funding round will be used to expand its first product, the world’s first ‘friendly’ focused AI chatbot Pi.
Released at the end of May, Pi is designed to be a kind and supportive companion which offers users “conversations, friendly advice, and concise information in a natural, flowing style,” Inflection AI said.
“Personal AI is going to be the most transformational tool of our lifetimes,” Suleyman said, “this is truly an inflection point.”
“We’re excited to collaborate with Nvidia, Microsoft, and CoreWeave as well as Eric, Bill and many others to bring this vision to life,” he added at the time.
Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang said: “A powerful benefit of the AI revolution is the ability to use natural, conversational language to interact with supercomputers to simplify aspects of our everyday lives.
“The world-class team at Inflection AI is helping to lead this groundbreaking work, deploying Nvidia AI technology to develop, train and deploy massive generative AI models that enable amazing personal digital assistants.”
Databricks raises $500m – 14 September 2023
The fresh round of funding follows Databricks raising $1.6bn in August 2021 at a valuation of $38bn.
The round included funding from Capital One Ventures and Nvidia, as well as investment companies T Rowe Price, Morgan Stanley and Franklin Templeton.
Databricks is using the funding to boost its generative AI capabilities.
“Enterprise data is a goldmine for generative AI,” Jensen Huang, Nvidia founder and CEO, said in a statement.
“Databricks is doing incredible work with NVIDIA technology to accelerate data processing and generative AI models.”
Anthropic secures $450m in Series C round – 23 May 2023
US-based AI start-up Anthropic raised $450m in a Series C funding round led by venture capital company Spark Capital. The investment included contributions from Google, Salesforce Ventures and Zoom Ventures.
The company was founded by employees of OpenAI in 2021 and is a straight rival to the ChatGPT maker.
Anthropic said the funding will be used to expand its flagship product, Claude, an AI assistant based on the company’s research into training helpful, honest, and harmless AI systems.
According to the company, Claude is more transparent about its behaviours and limitations than rival ChatGPT.
Anthropic CEO Dario Amodei said: “We are thrilled that these leading investors and technology companies are supporting Anthropic’s mission: AI research and products that put safety at the frontier.
“The systems we are building are being designed to provide reliable AI services that can positively impact businesses and consumers now and in the future.”
Adept AI secures $350m in Series B round – 14 March 2023
AI start-up Adept raised $350m in March in a Series B funding round led by Spark Capital and General Catalyst.
The US-based company, founded by former Google researchers, is aiming to train a neural network to perform general tasks for enterprise clients. The company says that it wants its products to produce real actions.
Adept’s funding round followed a $65m fundraiser in April 2022.
The company said the funding was being put towards the launch of its initial product, as well as the training of its models.
“Adept’s language models are geared towards creating ‘actions’ as opposed to generating text,” said Deep Nishar, managing director at General Catalyst.
“This automation of actions enables an enterprise’s knowledge workers to be a lot more efficient and effective.”