⚙️ Hollywood's Doomed?

Good morning. While Sony scales down with a new, smaller PlayStation 5, we're zooming in on nano-sized advancements in AI and tech that are anything but small in impact.

In today’s newsletter:

  • 🤖 When AI Meets Hollywood: The Controversy Behind Disney's Loki

  • ⚡ AI's Growing Appetite for Electricity: A Worrying Trend

  • 📱ChatGPT Mobile App: Soaring Downloads but Slowing Revenue Growth

  • 🛢️ Thread: The New Frontier in Oil and Energy Asset Management With $15M Funding

  • 🛥️ Saronic on Course: $55M Funding Fuels Autonomy in Naval Operations

  • 🔍 Tidalflow: Ensuring LLM Reliability in Business Software with $1.7M in Funding


When AI Meets Hollywood: The Controversy Behind Disney's Loki


The creative industry has long celebrated the blend of technology and art, but recent events suggest that this relationship is entering a complex ethical landscape. The promotional poster for the second season of Disney Plus's "Loki" has sparked a heated debate among designers and artists. The cause of concern? A spiraling clock image in the background that displays visual artifacts commonly associated with generative AI. Illustrator Katria Raden was among the first to highlight these signs, raising unsettling questions about AI's growing influence on artistic creations.

But the controversy doesn't end there. The suspicious background image appears to have been sourced from Shutterstock, a platform with a clear policy against licensing AI-generated content unless it's made using their proprietary tool. This safeguards the platform's intellectual property ownership and adheres to ethical guidelines. However, Shutterstock has yet to comment on whether the image in question violates their policy, adding another layer of complexity to an already murky situation. This isn't the first time Disney has faced scrutiny for using AI-generated art; their Marvel series "Secret Invasion" ignited similar debates.

Artists and designers worry that these instances mark a troubling trend where their work could be replaced by machines. With AI technologies like Adobe Firefly and Canva Magic Studio gaining traction, there's growing concern that AI could drastically change the creative landscape. Notably, these tools have been increasingly marketed to organizations aiming to produce art at scale, often at a fraction of the cost it would take to hire human designers. This not only devalues the work of creative professionals but also raises ethical issues around intellectual property and artistic authenticity.

This Loki poster controversy brings to light the broader, ongoing discussion about the role of AI in the creative industry. Companies may find it tempting to use these emerging tools for quick and affordable solutions, but at what ethical cost? As AI-generated art becomes more prevalent, the industry is forced to confront these issues head-on, making it a topic that any stakeholder in the creative field cannot afford to ignore.


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AI's Growing Appetite for Electricity: An Unsustainable Trend?


The surge in Artificial Intelligence technologies is raising significant environmental concerns, particularly around energy consumption. Recent research suggests that if every Google search utilized AI capabilities similar to those in generative models like ChatGPT, the annual electricity usage would be comparable to that of the entire country of Ireland. This increase in energy use is attributed to the highly computational nature of generative AI models, which require robust server power and consequently contribute to growing energy consumption and carbon emissions from data centers.

Efforts are underway within the tech industry to address these challenges. Google, which accounted for 10 to 15 percent of its electricity consumption from AI as of 2021, is focusing on making AI computing more efficient. Tested practices have reportedly reduced the energy required for training a model by up to 100 times and emissions by up to 1,000 times. Despite these advancements, the computational demands for AI continue to be a subject of environmental concern. The study suggests that under worst-case scenario conditions, the energy consumption could become alarming, although this is considered unlikely at present.

Forecast models indicate potential sharp increases in electricity usage if the popularity of AI continues its current trajectory. By 2027, if the supply of AI servers reaches 1.5 million, the annual electricity usage could be between 85.4 to 134.0 TWh, an amount comparable to the current energy consumption of Bitcoin. While efforts are ongoing to make AI computing more sustainable, the rapid advancement and adoption of AI technologies make the issue of energy consumption a critical focus for immediate and sustained attention.

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📱ChatGPT Mobile App: Soaring Downloads but Slowing Revenue Growth

ChatGPT's mobile app is seeing mixed fortunes. Despite setting a new record with 15.6 million downloads and $4.6 million in gross revenue in September, growth is slowing, according to Appfigures. Growth rates have dropped from over 30% in previous months to 20% in September. The ChatGPT+ subscription service, priced at $19.99 per month, maybe reaching market saturation. While ChatGPT is doing well, it's not the revenue leader in the mobile AI chatbot space; competitor Ask AI holds that position despite heavy ad spending. The U.S. remains the largest market for ChatGPT, accounting for 60% of its revenues.

🛢️ Thread: The New Frontier in Oil and Energy Asset Management With $15M Funding

Thread, a North Dakota-based startup, has raised $15 million in a Series A funding round to advance its AI-powered robotics platform for utility inspections. The technology utilizes drones and robots equipped with AI algorithms to autonomously collect data on energy assets like wind turbines and power lines. With a suite of integrations for real-time asset monitoring, Thread aims to modernize the utility sector by providing actionable insights for asset management. The funding will help accelerate the recruitment of technical talent and product development, positioning the company as a key player in the utilities industry.

🛥️ Saronic on Course: $55M Funding Fuels Autonomy in Naval Operations

Saronic, an Austin-based startup specializing in AI-driven autonomous ships for defense applications, has secured $55 million in a Series A funding round. Led by an ensemble of venture capital firms, the funding aims to accelerate the development of Saronic's autonomous naval vessels, designed from the ground up to tackle unique maritime challenges. With pre-existing R&D agreements with the U.S. Navy, the company plans to revolutionize the way defense missions are carried out at sea. Saronic competes in an increasingly crowded field but distinguishes itself through its specialized focus on defense autonomy and AI capabilities.

🔍 Tidalflow: Ensuring LLM Reliability in Business Software with $1.7M in Funding

Tidalflow, a startup emerging with $1.7 million in funding, aims to facilitate the integration of large language models like ChatGPT into existing software ecosystems. The platform offers end-to-end solutions that enable companies to create, test, deploy, and monitor LLM instances of their software products. By simulating real-world use in a controlled environment, Tidalflow helps companies gain confidence in the reliability of their AI-driven solutions. As businesses look to leverage the burgeoning LLM technology for a range of applications, Tidalflow offers a pathway to mitigate risk and optimize performance.


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