Mistral and the EU’s Quest for AI Independence: This Week in AI

This week, we bring you the latest happenings in the fast-paced and dynamic world of AI. We’ll cover everything from new multimodal AI models to significant funding rounds and the regulatory battles heating up in Europe. Google’s announcement of their Gemini flagship multimodal model has been met with skepticism, as the lite version of the model released this week didn’t live up to the company’s initial hype.

The focus shifted to French-based Mistral AI, which raised an impressive €450M at a valuation of $2 billion. Although the company has yet to launch a product, its financial success has raised concerns about inclusivity in the AI industry, given its co-founders’ lack of diversity. However, the European Union has its eye on companies like Mistral as it seeks to assert its sovereignty in the AI sector and navigate the delicate balance between entrepreneurship and regulation.

European legislators are currently debating policies to limit the risk of AI systems, with Mistral and its peers caught in the crossfire. These developments will shape the future of AI investments in Europe. Meanwhile, notable stories from the past week include Meta’s alliance with IBM to form the AI Alliance, OpenAI turning its focus to India, and Google’s launch of AI-assisted note-taking app NotebookLM. Additionally, tech regulators are scrutinizing the relationship between OpenAI and Microsoft in the U.K. and the U.S., with concerns over monopolistic practices.

Other developments include Meta rolling out new AI features and Ukrainian synthetic voice startup Respeecher securing funding. Elsewhere, MIT spinoff Liquid AI is building general-purpose AI systems, and EPFL researchers are using machine learning to track ocean-borne plastic off the coast of South Africa. On a similar note, Imperial College London is creating synthetic data to train machine learning models for tracking insects, while University of Washington researchers uncovered unsettling biases in a popular image generator.

New AI models and applications are changing the landscape of different industries. These recent developments highlight the challenges and opportunities emerging in AI and machine learning, from cutting-edge research to rapidly evolving applications. The future of AI is a terrain worth keeping a close eye on, with innovation and regulation shaping the industry as it continues to grow. These stories represent only a fraction of the activity in the AI and machine learning space, and we will continue to monitor the latest developments in this rapidly evolving field.


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