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Amazon Invests Additional $2.75B in AI Startup Anthropic. Total Reaches $4B

9 must-read tech stories of the past 24 hours.

TECH BRIEF

Enterprise software company Databricks unveiled DBRX, an open-source AI model that outperforms competitors such as Llama 2-70B and Mixtral on benchmark tests for language comprehension, programming, and math skills. Even though DBRX doesn't match OpenAI’s GPT-4 potency, it is pitched as a more cost-effective alternative to GPT-3.5. The model's "mixture-of-experts" architecture enables faster and more affordable operation. By open-sourcing DBRX, Databricks solidifies its position as an AI research leader and drives its strategy further.

Despite a peak in tech layoffs not seen since the Great Recession, tech industry recruiters are struggling to find desired talent, leading to job offers reportedly reaching $1 million. Hefty compensation packages and accelerated stock-vesting schedules are being offered, largely to AI specialists, by industry leaders including OpenAI and Meta. These companies are even resorting to poaching entire teams. Concurrently, tech giants like Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and Meta have announced layoffs this year as they pivot their focus to AI development.

Apple is staunchly refuting parallels drawn by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) between its business practices and those of Microsoft in the 1990s. The tech giant is accused of monopolistic tactics following a recent DOJ lawsuit. Apple claims its global iPhone numbers, approximately 20%, are not comparable to Windows' 90% market share during the 1990s. The DOJ also focuses on Apple's tight control over the App Store, the limited interoperability of the Apple Watch, and the impact on Android developers.

Microsoft-supported cloud and data security startup, Rubrik Inc., is reportedly preparing to file for an IPO as early as next week. The move comes after successful IPOs by Reddit and Astera Labs. The firm has already secured $1.18 billion in funding, with a notable investment from Microsoft in 2021 valuing it at $4 billion. The upcoming IPO could seek to raise $500 million to $700 million.

Amazon is investing an additional $2.75 billion in AI startup Anthropic, raising its total investment to $4 billion. The aim is to advance generative AI technology and enhance customer experiences. Anthropic will use Amazon Web Services as its primary cloud provider and Amazon's custom chips to build AI models. Deal is part of a growing trend of tech companies investing heavily in AI startups.

In a new endeavor, LinkedIn is testing TikTok-style short-form video posts, adding to its multitude of platforms investing in infinite scrolling. The videos, spotted by TechCrunch, appear to be existing posts reformatted for this undoubtedly popular feature. However, concerns are prevalent, as infinite scrolling is viewed as contributing to social media addiction and potential damage to mental health.

Meta is set to incorporate AI into its Ray-Ban smart glasses from next month. The new features, currently accessible through an early access waitlist in the US, offer object and languages translation as well as animal and monument identification capabilities. Improvements are expected as the technology struggled with some faraway or obscured image identifications during testing.

Sam Bankman-Fried, co-founder and ex-CEO of crypto exchange FTX, is to serve a 25-year prison sentence following fraudulent activities and money laundering charges. He was found guilty on seven counts at Southern District of New York court. This development could send significant signals to the broader crypto industry.

Google is planning on implementing on-device AI features, such as record summaries and smart replies, onto the Pixel 8. Driven by the Gemini Nano model, these features were previously only available on the Pixel 8 Pro and Galaxy S24. Google aims to expand the reach of Gemini Nano, welcoming feedback and fostering innovation.

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