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  • Apple buys startup DarwinAI, adds staff to its AI division

Apple buys startup DarwinAI, adds staff to its AI division

Also: Adobe drops on weak forecast fuelled by AI competition fears


In today's newsletter, we delve into a series of pivotal advancements and strategic shifts across the technology and finance sectors. Apple has notably expanded its AI capabilities with the acquisition of Canadian startup DarwinAI, aiming to strengthen its position in generative AI technologies. Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley has appointed Jeff McMillan as the head of its AI division, underscoring the growing importance of AI in the financial industry. In other news, concerns rise over data poisoning in generative AI, prompting a call for robust security measures, while Adobe faces a downturn in stock prices due to increased competition from AI startups. Additionally, we explore how e-commerce and business software are being transformed by AI, with Amazon launching a tool for easier product listing creations and Oracle rolling out new generative AI tools for businesses. On the venture capital front, HiLabs secures significant funding to enhance healthcare data management with AI, highlighting the sector's continued growth and innovation.


  • 💰 Apple buys startup DarwinAI, adds staff to its AI division

  • 🏦 Morgan Stanley names a head of artificial intelligence as Wall Street leans into AI

  • 💀 As Generative AI Takes Off, Researchers Warn of Data Poisoning

  • 📉 Adobe drops on weak forecast fuelled by AI competition fears

Apple has expanded its footprint in the AI sector by acquiring the Canadian AI startup DarwinAI, adding several employees from DarwinAI to its AI division. This strategic move aims to enhance Apple's capabilities in generative AI, a field where it has been trailing behind competitors like Microsoft and Google. DarwinAI has been known for its innovative AI technology used in the visual inspection of components during the manufacturing process, catering to various industries. Additionally, Alexander Wong, an AI researcher from the University of Waterloo and a key figure behind DarwinAI's success, has joined Apple as a director within its AI group. This acquisition highlights Apple's continued investment in AI and its commitment to integrating advanced AI solutions into its product lineup.

Morgan Stanley has recently appointed Jeff McMillan as the new head of firm-wide AI, reflecting the increasing significance of AI in the financial services industry. Previously leading the Analytics, Data, and Innovation organization within the bank's Wealth Management division, McMillan has been instrumental in advancing Morgan Stanley's technological initiatives, notably in collaborating with OpenAI to introduce generative AI tools for the firm's operations. This promotion is part of a broader trend on Wall Street, where despite a general scaling back in jobs, there is a fervent competition to recruit AI specialists. This strategic move underscores the firm's commitment to staying at the forefront of AI development and application across its various business units, ensuring that Morgan Stanley remains a leading innovator in the financial sector's evolving landscape.

As generative AI continues to advance, offering remarkable capabilities from creating new content to enhancing productivity, concerns about data poisoning have emerged among researchers. This form of cyberattack involves inserting false or misleading information into datasets used to train AI models, potentially leading to the spread of misinformation, undermining of functionality, or unauthorized sharing of sensitive data. The nature of generative AI, which relies heavily on vast amounts of diverse data from the public internet, makes it especially susceptible to this threat. Researchers illustrate how small manipulations, such as altering Wikipedia articles or controlling expired domain images, can significantly impact AI outputs. While currently hypothetical, these vulnerabilities highlight the critical need for thorough data examination and robust security measures. The conversation around mitigating these risks is evolving, with some advocating for comprehensive legislation and others employing defensive tactics like "defensive poisoning" to protect intellectual property. The situation underscores the urgent need for the AI community to address these security challenges to ensure the safe and ethical use of generative AI technologies.

Adobe experienced a notable dip, approximately 10%, in its stock price during extended trading due to a less optimistic sales forecast for the upcoming quarter, influenced by growing fears of competition from emerging generative AI startups. The company projected quarterly revenue to be between US$5.25 billion and US$5.3 billion, slightly below the average analyst expectation of US$5.31 billion. This downturn reflects concerns that Adobe's stronghold in the creative arts software market may be jeopardized by new entrants leveraging generative AI technologies. In response, Adobe has integrated its AI model, Firefly, into flagship products like Photoshop and Illustrator. However, recent showcases by competitors, such as OpenAI's video-generation model Sora, have heightened investor anxieties regarding Adobe's competitive edge. The company’s attempts to innovate and capitalize on AI features, such as predicting a lower-than-expected increase in new recurring creative business, have yet to meet investor expectations, affecting stock performance. Despite these challenges, Adobe continues to focus on monetizing AI features and has announced a new $25 billion share buyback program, signaling a long-term commitment to innovation and market leadership amidst evolving AI-driven competition.

🛠️ AI tools updates

Amazon has introduced a revolutionary AI tool for sellers, allowing them to transform existing product pages from other websites into comprehensive Amazon listings with just a URL copy-paste action. This innovation aims to simplify and speed up the process of creating detailed product descriptions on Amazon, enhancing efficiency and user experience for sellers. Powered by Amazon's cloud computing service AWS, this feature uses generative AI to analyze and replicate product information into new listings on Amazon's platform. This service will initially be available to US sellers and is expected to roll out progressively in the coming weeks. Additionally, Amazon has reported that over 100,000 sellers have already utilized its generative AI features, indicating significant interest and potential growth in this area. This development represents a significant stride in leveraging AI technology to improve online retail operations and seller experience.

Oracle has recently unveiled a new suite of generative AI tools aimed at enhancing business operations, including finance, HR, and supply chain management. By integrating more than 50 generative AI features into its corporate software, Oracle aims to increase productivity, reduce costs, expand insights, and improve employee and customer experiences. These tools allow finance professionals to better interpret business trends, assist program managers in project planning, enable product specialists to create SEO-friendly descriptions, and help call center employees summarize interactions more efficiently. This strategic move is seen as an effort to strengthen Oracle's position against competitors like Microsoft by leveraging the same technology underpinning OpenAI's GPT-4, thus intensifying the competition within the enterprise software market. Oracle's initiative reflects the growing trend of incorporating AI to streamline complex business processes and offer innovative solutions to traditional problems.

💵 Venture Capital updates

HiLabs, a Maryland-based firm specializing in AI for healthcare data management, recently raised $39 million in a Series B funding round, bringing their total funding to around $41 million. Founded in 2014 and primarily serving health insurers, HiLabs aims to address the costly issue of dirty data in healthcare, which is estimated to cost the industry over $300 billion annually. Their cloud-based MCheck platform improves data quality by focusing on aspects such as provider data accuracy, clinical results, payment accuracy, and value-based care. This not only enhances operational efficiency and member satisfaction for insurers but also addresses patient challenges by improving provider directory accuracy and care management.

🫡 Meme of the day

⭐️ Generative AI image of the day