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⚡️Anthropic rolls out new ChatGPT rival

PLUS: Emmy nominations favor HBO in a big way

Announcement

Alright folks.

I love a good rebrand.

And the Spark and Conceit Media are getting one.

While it’s a bit confusing, the Spark Weekdays will now become CLAY.

As part of the launch of our overall rebranding of Conceit Media, it’s going to be important to put the new name on everything.

“The Spark” will now be the name given to a premium weekend subscription newsletter.

Don’t worry — you’ll still get the same great content here on the weekday newsletter.

It’s just important that we put the “CLAY” name everywhere to ensure consistent branding.

In this case, then, the Spark is elevated to another level.

It’s promoted, if you will.

I’m very affectionate of the “Conceit Media” name, but the spirit of the word isn’t necessarily how folks will read into it.

Based on my tests, “Conceit Media” tends to evoke a negative connotation, while I was drawing on the literary term that essentially means “key concept.”

CLAY, I believe, will get a much different result from my conversations so far.

I’m looking forward to building something great together.

—Clayton

The Precap

Happy Thursday, creatives!

I’ve missed you guys the last couple days.

But I’ve been up to some important behind-the-scenes business stuff I’ll be excited to announce soon.

We’ve got stories of AI rivals (both in the US and internationally).

We’ve also got a look at the Emmy nominations. Big names, big highlights.

Trends & Changes

🤖Anthropic, a rising star in the AI field, is stepping up its game to compete with Microsoft-backed OpenAI and Google. With a recent funding boost of $750 million, the startup is now unveiling its latest creation: Claude 2, an advanced AI chatbot. Anthropic, founded by former OpenAI research executives and supported by tech giants like Google, Salesforce, and Zoom, is making its chatbot technology available to consumers for the first time.

🛅Over the past two months, Anthropic has tested its AI models with big-name businesses like Slack, Notion, and Quora. The response has been overwhelming, with over 350,000 people eagerly awaiting access to Claude's application programming interface and consumer offering. While Anthropic has primarily focused on catering to businesses, they believe that Claude 2 is their safest and most robust version yet, suitable for a broader range of users.

🦅Initially, Claude 2 will be accessible to users in the U.S. and U.K., with plans to expand availability in the near future. The rise of generative AI chatbots, like OpenAI's ChatGPT, has sparked significant interest and investment within the tech community. Despite concerns about bias and misuse, this technology has already found its way into education, healthcare, advertising, and more.

🧑‍💻Anthropic's ambitions are lofty. Claude 2 boasts an impressive capability to summarize up to approximately 75,000 words, equivalent to the length of a book. Users can input large datasets and request summaries in various formats such as memos, letters, or stories. In contrast, ChatGPT can handle only around 3,000 words.

📂Baichuan Intelligence, a Chinese startup founded by computer science prodigy Wang Xiaochuan, has just released its highly anticipated large language model, Baichuan-13B. With its impressive 13 billion parameters and optimization for commercial use, Baichuan is quickly becoming one of China's most promising LLM developers.

💾Wang, the founder of search engine provider Sogou, stepped down from his previous venture in late 2021 to focus on his new startup. In just three months, Baichuan has made significant strides, securing $50 million in financing and assembling a team of 50 talented individuals.

👨‍💻Baichuan-13B, based on the Transformer architecture like GPT, has been trained on a staggering 1.4 trillion tokens, surpassing Meta's LLaMa. Wang has ambitious plans for his startup, aiming to release a large-scale model comparable to OpenAI's GPT-3.5 by the end of the year.

🤖The foundational model, Baichuan-13B, is now available for free to academics and approved developers for commercial use. Notably, the model offers variations that can run on consumer-grade hardware, ensuring accessibility even in the face of U.S. AI chip sanctions on China.

💴China's investment in large language models is gaining momentum, with other prominent players such as Baidu, Zhipu.ai, and IDEA making significant contributions. This trend aligns with China's preparations to implement stringent AI regulations, especially for generative AI and content control. Licensing requirements for launching large language models may slow down China's competition with the U.S. in this budding industry.

💼HBO’s masterpiece “Succession” is on top of the Emmys this year. The prestige saga concluded its final season with a bang, securing a staggering 27 Emmy nominations—the highest among all dramas. On the comedy front, "Ted Lasso" claimed its throne with 21 nominations.

✍️But — impending writers' strike threatens to delay the prestigious ceremony originally scheduled for September. These impressive nominations cemented HBO's position as a dominant force in television, earning the network and its streaming service, Max, a remarkable total of 127 nominations, surpassing all other networks. Netflix secured second place with a commendable 103 nominations, demonstrating its ongoing presence in the industry.

🐉HBO's stronghold extended to the best drama category, with not only "Succession" but also the second season of "The White Lotus," the popular video game adaptation "The Last of Us," and the "Game of Thrones" prequel "House of the Dragon" all earning nominations. Remarkably, this marks the first time since 1992 that a single network has achieved four nominations in this prestigious category.

In the fast-paced world of technology, semiconductors have become a focal point of political contention. These valuable components, essential for electronics manufacturing, are costly, tightly regulated, and challenging to produce. Any disruption in their supply chain can reverberate not only through the tech industry but also across the entire globe, as shown by the Covid-19 chip shortages last year. Now, an escalating standoff between the United States and China threatens to exacerbate the disruption.

On July 4, the Chinese government introduced new export controls specifically targeting gallium and germanium, minerals rarely refined but crucial for electronics manufacturing. Gallium, in particular, plays a vital role in semiconductors, and China is a significant exporter of this resource. This development directly affects foundries in Taiwan and South Korea, which heavily rely on raw materials sourced from China, just across the strait. Although the export controls are not an outright ban, they grant the Chinese government the power to halt any particular export at its discretion.

Meta's Chief Technology Officer, Andrew Bosworth, recently held an engaging Q&A session on Instagram, addressing various topics including the metaverse and its potential impact. Bosworth acknowledged the confusion surrounding the term and compared it to the early days of the internet, which was similarly difficult to define. He emphasized that the metaverse lacks a full and agreed-upon definition, even among those working on its development. However, Bosworth expressed confidence that the term would eventually become clear as the technology progresses.

Interestingly, the attention garnered by Meta's rebranding to focus on the metaverse exceeded their expectations. Bosworth admitted that they initially worried people wouldn't even notice the shift. Just over a year ago, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg was fervently promoting the metaverse as the future of the internet, but it failed to gain significant traction despite substantial investments. In a recent restructuring, Meta's Reality Labs division, responsible for metaverse development, faced layoffs while Zuckerberg turned his attention toward AI.

Sparky is our newsboy - delivering the Spark to our readers far and wide. Do Sparky a solid and forward the Spark to a friend!

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