February 29, 2024

Hello, fellow humans! You are reading the last (at least for now) in our limited series of Saturday dailies. We hope you enjoyed this series as much as we enjoyed writing it!


AI all around

In 2019, we asked dozens of entrepreneurs, scientists, academics and artists what we would be obsessed with in the next 50 years. Across their 550 responses, some clear trends emerged: climate change will dominate, the genetic revolution will be in full swing—oh, and that AI will be transformative.

It’s hard to pinpoint another time when that transformation felt closer. 2023 was the year artificial intelligence became pervasive in us daily conversations, creations and careersand local and global policies.

Will we look back to 2023 as a tipping point for AI? Let’s review some of this year’s hits.


The AI ​​year that was, by the numbers

$10 billion: Microsoft’s investment in OpenAI

$86 billion: Valuation of OpenAI

5: Days Sam Altman was fired from OpenAI before he was rehired

$4 billion: Amazon’s investment in Anthropic

49.5 million: Page views of the Wikipedia page for “ChatGPT,” the most on the site for any page this year

100 million: Weekly Active Users of ChatGPT


Some of Nvidia’s biggest customers are trying to cannibalize it

Probably the winner of the AI ​​boom this year Nvidia, which means “envy” in Latin. The semiconductor company makes the highly sought-after AI chips that tech companies need to power the ChatGPTs and Bards of the world.

But Big Tech is catching up.

Every tech giant—Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Meta-unveiled its own AI chip this year, in part to be less dependent on Nvidia and to reduce costs to develop AI models. With the release of generative AI model Gemini, Google said it is offering the model, which runs on its own Nvidia-like chips called TPUs, at a competitive price.

The idea is that more chips on the market will lower the cost of training AI models.

For OpenAI’s future language model GPT-5, one could end up using far fewer TPUs than GPUs, for example, as Chirag Dekate, an analyst at Gartner, explained.


One big 2023 thing: GPTs

And if it’s not a big 2023 thing, it certainly will be in 2024.

OpenAI’s Sam Altman announced at DevDay that everyone will now have the ability to make their own GPTs, specialized digital brains that can perform complex tasks. Basically, AI you created without having to know how to write a single line of code. Soon, he said, you could even sell it to others on a marketplace — a marketplace that OpenAI will control, of course.

Only days later, OpenAI itself faced a total collapse. Things have stabilized somewhat, but the company has announced that the GPT market has been delayed, but if you’re a premium ChatGPT subscriber, you can play around with the GPT builder on your own (which we did, a few issues ago).

We were so excited about GPTs, we planned an entire podcast episode about it. Listen to Maxwell Zeff, a tech reporter at Gizmodo, talk to host Thomas Germain all about GPTs—what they are, what they are not, and what they will be able to do for us that a chatbot (like ChatGPT) cannot.

🎧 Listen now on Spotify | appeal | Google | Pandora

👀 If listening isn’t your thing, neither is Max wrote us an Obsession email on the subject.


The top Quartz AI stories of 2023

🧐 A Google AI model has developed a skill it was not expected to have

🤑 A $40,000 Nvidia chip has become the world’s most coveted hardware

🤔 With AI, Bill Gates sees the end of Google Search and Amazon

🤨 The economic case for slowing down AI

🤫 Apple may be quiet about AI, but it’s also the biggest buyer of AI companies


Ask an AI

We asked our very own GPT, Smoky Quartz, to look back at some of our past AI in Focus newsletters and write a year-end newsletter of her own, based on our style guide. We’ve done some light editing to really match our formatting a bit better, but other than that we haven’t touched the language at all. What do you think? Are we doing it better? Or does AI?

AI in focus: reflecting on a transformative year
AI’s Dynamic Journey in 2023: From Chatbots to Corporate Alerting: Explore the AI ​​landscape’s evolution, challenges and future prospects

The AI ​​vanguard: ChatGPT and beyond. This year, artificial intelligence reached a milestone with OpenAI’s ChatGPT hitting 100 million weekly active users, a testament to the growing appetite for sophisticated AI solutions. The tech world was buzzing with activity, with Amazon reportedly training a giant language model, ‘Olympus’, which even surpassed OpenAI’s GPT-4 in scale.

AI Transactions: A Temporary Lull? Despite these advances, AI deals saw a 29% decline in the third quarter, totaling $6.1 billion. This downturn, attributed in part to Big Tech’s dominance and fluctuating valuations, signals a moment of recalibration in the AI ​​investment landscape.

AI in the workplace: An ally, not an enemy. Contrary to fears of AI taking over jobs, a report by Indeed revealed that AI is poised to change, rather than eliminate, careers. The focus is shifting to leveraging AI as a critical skill in the workforce, signaling a significant shift in the employment narrative.

Regulatory ripples in the AI ​​pond. As the influence of AI grows, so does the scrutiny. This year, Meta and Google enforced policies to mandate disclosure when ads are altered using AI, reflecting a heightened awareness of AI’s potential for misinformation, particularly in politically sensitive contexts.

Innovations on the horizon. Amid these developments, Humane’s AI Pin, a wearable AI device, made its debut. Priced at $699 with a monthly subscription, its adoption and impact remains to be seen, symbolizing the ongoing exploration and experimentation in AI applications.

Look ahead. As we close this chapter and look to the future, the AI ​​landscape continues to evolve, marked by innovation, regulatory challenges and an ever-expanding role in our daily lives.

Your voice matters. What are your thoughts on this year’s AI developments? Excited, worried, or a mix of both? We look forward to hearing from you!

Created with insight by Smoky Quartz for Quartz’s “AI in Focus” newsletter


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Our best wishes for a very humane day and a very humane year ahead. Send any news, comments, 2024 predictions and GPT ideas to praat@qz.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to everyone—become a member. Today’s AI in Focus Daily Brief is brought to you by Morgan Haefner, Susan Howson, and Smoky Quartz, who isn’t a real person, but we love her anyway for some reason.

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