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The SEC Newgate AI Weekly

AI Concept
By Tom Flynn
25 May 2023
Digital and Insight

Another ludicrously fast-paced week in AI has seen a wave of announcements from Microsoft, Adobe and Google, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has been meeting European leaders and Zoom had a difficult earnings call as investors grilled boss Eric Yuan on the company’s AI plans.

Altman makes waves in Europe
Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, touched down in Europe this week for a series of meetings with leaders in Portugal, Spain, Poland, France and the UK. The discussions included the development of talent and technology and the need for regulation at a national, European and global level, according to French premier Emmanuel Macron, who met Altman on Tuesday. Wherever Altman goes, doors open at the highest level – a sure sign that lawmakers are starting to comprehend the huge impacts that AI is about to have on their economies and on those who elect them.

Blowing out the Windows
Microsoft’s Build conference unveiled a stunning new development for Windows 11 which will see its personal AI Assistant Copilot integrated into the desktop, allowing users to summarise, explain or draft copy across open applications. The software giant also announced plans for plugin compatibility between GPT-4 and 365 Copilot, meaning that developers can build innovative new tools in the knowledge that they will work across OpenAI and Microsoft’s platforms. Expect to see an acceleration of plugin availability and capability (there are already well over one hundred available for Chat-GPT). Many currently available plugins feel a bit gimmicky, reminiscent of the early days of Apple’s App Store, but that will change quickly with this announcement.

Firefly creates a buzz at Adobe
Adobe launched a Firefly integration into Photoshop this week for all users, making image editing much easier and quicker. Early attempts with the tool suggest it heralds a revolution in image manipulation with implications for designers and bad-faith actors alike. The new Generative Fill feature gives users power to add or remove objects from images, fill in the blank space created by removal of an object or create an expanded image from an existing photo. Removing a random photobomber from your holiday snap or making it look like you are best pals with a celeb just became easy and fast for those without advanced image editing skills.

Google’s big picture moment
Google Bard can now provide images as part of its answers. Ask it for an itinerary for your weekend break and the answer will include pictures (if prompted to provide them) of all the main sites alongside its normal text-based descriptions. This is the first of a series of visual improvements to the tech giant’s chatbot which will see image generation and uploading of images for prompting rolled out in the near future.

Zoom out?
Bloomberg’s Markets Newsletter this week noted that Zoom’s share price, having soared as a result of the pandemic, has now settled back down, but at a level below its pre-Covid value. The reason? Concerns about uncertainty over the company’s AI strategy, if the questions from institutional investors at its recent earnings call are a good indication of their current thinking.

And finally…
Quote of the week comes from a piece in the i on the existential threat of AI and attempts to scenario-plan for an AI takeover:

“…by definition, we’re talking about something that’s vastly more intelligent than we are, which might have plans and intentions we could never grasp. It would be like a panda attending a meeting of the World Wildlife Fund: all the discussion might be about the fate of its species, but it couldn’t begin to understand what was being said.”