AI Roundup: Chatbot Wars, China's Boom & Softbank's UK Bet

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By 

Sharad Diyali

Problem-solving

Prezent’s Weekly AI Round-Up may 2024

Problem-solving

By 

Sharad Diyali

Welcome to our latest round-up of the latest AI-related stories from across the globe. If, like us, you’re obsessed with how AI is impacting our world, particularly in communications for the enterprise, it can be hard to keep up with all the reports. Prezent’s weekly summary collects the biggest headlines from news outlets worldwide to keep you informed and up to date with all the breaking stories. 

Tech giants compete on conversational AI, China births 4 new unicorns and Softbank makes huge investment in UK AI

Hot off the press this week is OpenAI’s latest AI model, Chat-GPT 4o. This model promises to be even more intuitive for customers to use, moving closer to being a true digital personal assistant. With the ability to engage in real-time, spoken conversations and interact with both text and visuals, we will be closely watching how this tool is adopted and utilized in the weeks ahead. 

Elsewhere, all eyes are on Google’s next steps. With its landmark developer conference, Google I/O, taking place on May 14, tech experts are expecting to see a slew of new AI features announced. 

Google’s search engine remains by far the crowning glory of its suite of products. For this reason, many of the predictions of what will be unveiled at the conference are betting we’ll see AI embedded into search functions even more closely. This is looking increasingly likely given that new search offerings such as Perplexity AI have been given rave reviews, putting the tech giant on the defensive. 

Given the strides being made with conversational chatbots elsewhere, it looks like Apple is finally making a play to keep Siri in the game. Although Siri was revolutionary in its day, conversing with the tool in 2024 feels highly two-dimensional given the sophistication of other interfaces, forcing the company to take action. 

More details to follow on this story after Apple’s annual conference in June! 

The five AI announcements we’re watching this week 

Alibaba advances AI progress in China with cloud credits 

This week Alibaba revealed a new strategy that will strengthen Chinese startups working on Generative AI products. 

Rather than making traditional equity investments, Alibaba will instead provide startups with credits that allow them access to cloud computing resources, something in short supply across China due to US export restrictions on advanced chips. This follows on from the launch of Alibaba’s own version of ChatGPT, known as Qwen 2.5. 

Latin America and Argentina are far behind with AI

Breaking AI innovations dominate the headlines, but it’s important to take note of where progress isn’t moving as quickly. 

Latin America has seen rapid digital adoption in recent years, but when it comes to AI, the region is trailing behind with Brazil ranking at 35th place globally, followed by Chile (41st) and Colombia (48th). 

If this isn’t addressed, innovation across the region could be at risk, stifling economic development in turn. 

China’s ban on OpenAI creates boom in competitor startups 

OpenAI has been a global success since its launch just over a year ago. However, after the Chinese government banned its use, startups in the country have rapidly filled the vacuum with independent GenAI solutions. 

This race for market share has seen four Chinese startups, Zhipu AI, Moonshot AI, MiniMax, expand at a furious pace. The demand is so great that these startups have already achieved the hallowed “unicorn” status, surpassing a USD $1bn valuation.

Wayve set to rollout embodied AI software in UK thanks to $1bn Softbank funding 

In the UK, the transport industry is poised for change. Softbank recently signed off on $1bn of funding for Wayve, representing the largest investment from the fund in European AI. 

Wayve specializes in software for self-driving cars and aims to use the funding to roll out embodied AI, an approach that enables automated vehicles to learn from and interact with a real-world environment.  

Indian AI startup SiftHub enters the race

Finally, salespeople will be glad to hear that a new AI platform is ready to make their lives easier. SiftHub recently raised US$5.5 million in a seed funding round to provide sales teams with deep product knowledge,  semantic search features, and large language models fine-tuned with industry-specific knowledge.

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