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  • Microsoft Is Making a $3.2 Billion Cloud and AI Investment in Australia

Microsoft Is Making a $3.2 Billion Cloud and AI Investment in Australia

Also: Apple, caught by surprise in generative AI boom, to spend $1 billion per year to catch up


In today's tech roundup, Microsoft pledges a whopping $3.2 billion towards cloud and AI development in Australia, while Apple intends to spend $1 billion annually to further its generative AI capabilities. A novel tool named Nightshade is providing artists a shield against unauthorized AI training with their artwork. On the device front, major tech players are pushing to include AI processing in personal gadgets, shifting from traditional cloud-based AI to on-device "client AI". Researchers at Oxford present EVEscape, an AI tool that can anticipate virus variants, aiding pandemic monitoring. ChatGPT continues to dominate AI platforms, leading with 14 billion visits over a year, and AI-focused startups are the favorites in the VC investment scene for 2023. Don't miss today's AI image and a read on how generative AI could revolutionize gaming.


  • ๐Ÿ’ฐ Microsoft Is Making a $3.2 Billion Cloud and AI Investment in Australia

  • ๐ŸŽ Apple, caught by surprise in generative AI boom, to spend $1 billion per year to catch up

  • ๐Ÿ’€ This new data poisoning tool lets artists fight back against generative AI

  • ๐Ÿ“ฑ Big tech is battling to put AI on your PC, laptop and smartphone

  • ๐ŸŽ“ Oxford University develops AI tool to track virus variants

Microsoft has pledged a significant $3.2 billion investment in Australia, aimed at amplifying its cloud and AI infrastructure in the nation, marking its largest investment there in four decades. This initiative will bolster Microsoft's computing capacity in Australia by 250% and reinforce the nation's cybersecurity framework. Additionally, Microsoft commits to training 300,000 Australians to equip them with essential digital skills. This announcement coincided with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's U.S. visit and subsequent discussions with U.S. President Joe Biden on technological advancements.

Apple plans to invest $1 billion annually in generative AI development, according to Bloomberg. This move comes as Apple seeks to catch up with competitors like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, who have already introduced advanced AI features. While Apple currently utilizes AI in enhancing photos and autocorrecting text, it hasn't launched a generative AI product comparable to OpenAIโ€™s ChatGPT or Google Bard. Internal projects include the large language model framework "Ajax" and a chatbot called "Apple GPT." The company aims to incorporate AI advancements into Siri, Messages, and Apple Music, with potential features like auto-generated playlists. Leading these AI efforts are executives John Giannandrea, Craig Federighi, and Eddy Cue.

A tool named Nightshade has been devised to empower artists against the unauthorized utilization of their artworks by AI companies for model training. Nightshade alters image pixels subtly before online upload; if scraped into AI training datasets, these alterations can cause model malfunction, disrupting image generation tasks by AI like DALL-E. Developed under the leadership of University of Chicago's Ben Zhao, Nightshade aims to tilt power balance towards artists, countering unauthorized training data usage. Additionally, an integration plan with a similar tool, Glaze, is underway, enhancing options for artists to protect their works and challenge AI companies' training practices.

Big tech companies, including Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, and Nvidia, are competing to integrate AI processing capabilities into personal devices like PCs, laptops, and smartphones. While AI has traditionally been processed on large cloud servers, there's a growing emphasis on "client AI," which refers to on-device AI processing. This shift promises faster and cheaper AI implementations, eliminating the need for expansive server infrastructure. Notable movements include Intel's upcoming Meteor Lake processor with dedicated AI capabilities, AMD's Ryzen AI integration, and Qualcomm's continuous effort in AI acceleration. Meanwhile, Nvidia, though a leader in AI with its massive GPUs for server clusters, hasn't been as vocal about client AI. The race is on to determine which tech giant will most influence the future of on-device AI, signaling potential market volatility and transformative changes in daily computing experiences.

Researchers at Oxford University and Harvard Medical School have developed an AI tool named EVEscape (Evolutionary Model of Variant Effect) to predict emerging virus variants. This deep-learning model, combined with biological and structural data about a virus, can forecast the likelihood of a viral mutation escaping immune responses. During tests, the model, using data available at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in February 2020, successfully predicted the emergence and prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 mutations and the diminishing efficacy of certain antibody-based therapies. This breakthrough offers significant value for pandemic monitoring and in designing vaccines resilient to potential high-risk mutations.

๐Ÿ› ๏ธ AI tools updates

From September 2022 to August 2023, ChatGPT led the AI industry with 14 billion visits, contributing to 60% of the total 24 billion visits amongst the top 50 AI platforms. This information is based on an analysis by writerbuddy.ai, which examined over 3,000 AI tools. Overall, AI tool usage experienced significant growth, with an average monthly increase of 236.3 million visits. Interestingly, there was a marked gender disparity in AI tool users, with 69.5% being male. The US led in AI traffic, with 5.5 billion visits, followed by India with 2.1 billion visits, whereas Europe and Africa lagged behind in adoption. A majority of users, 80.53%, accessed AI tools directly, indicating a high rate of recurring users. Among the top AI tools based on traffic, ChatGPT emerged as the clear leader.

๐Ÿ’ต Venture Capital updates

AI and deep tech startups are garnering significant VC funding, with over a quarter of 2023's total investments in US-based startups directed towards AI companies, more than doubling the previous year's percentage. The recent early-stage cohort from Peak XV Partners, a VC fund operating in India and Southeast Asia, exemplifies this trend, spotlighting AI and deep tech as central players in the venture capital realm.

๐Ÿซก Meme of the day

โญ๏ธ Generative AI image of the day