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  • ⚡️This artist asked AI to describe his photos. Then he used them as art prompts.

⚡️This artist asked AI to describe his photos. Then he used them as art prompts.

PLUS: A new dinosaur alert!

Happy Friday, creatives!

What a day to be alive.

Sun’s shining (depending on your exact longitude and latitude).

The breeze is blowing (again, maybe not where you are).

And it’s searing hot. Which is generally true of most places.

We’ve got Musk analysis, a look at a banner year for Meta, and a brand new dinosaur, just for you.

Not to mention, an inventive way a photographer is using AI.

—Clayton

AHEAD OF THE CURVE

One artist is threading the AI needle — having AI describe his art and then feeding AI art generators the description as a prompt.

The results? More stylized depictions of the subjects.

AI in this case is the interpreter of art — deciding what it looks like and then recreating it.

Of course, it’d be a different story if it were all integrated into a single AI program.

But all the same, a great experiment.

Cardinal.Photograph vs Midjourney

AI Arms Race

🤖Palantir, the data software firm — with the backing of the CIA's In-Q-Tel venture capital arm — might be on the brink of a significant price surge, according to Wedbush Securities.

💸The company's stock is projected to soar by 54% to reach $25 a share in the next year.

Palantir CEO Alex Karp has been an outspoken advocate for AI's rapid development, even acknowledging the associated risks.

In an op-ed for the New York Times, Karp emphasized the importance of responsible AI use, allowing seamless collaboration between humans and algorithms to ensure human control over the technology.

As the 4th Industrial Revolution takes shape, Palantir's AI "fortress" positions it to become a dominant force in the AI landscape. With the company's trajectory set for growth, investors and creatives in the tech world are eyeing Palantir's potential impact on the future of AI-driven innovations.

ALL THE MUSK NEWS YOU COULD POSSIBLY NEED

Bitcoin and Ethereum, the leading cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, have recently faced renewed attention in the wake of Ripple's XRP and the surge in popularity of Dogecoin, triggered by a surprising Wall Street crypto shift.

The price of Bitcoin, along with Ethereum, experienced a decline as traders redirected their focus towards XRP after the cryptocurrency won a partial legal battle against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Additionally, Tesla's Elon Musk, known for his involvement in the crypto space, rebranded Twitter to "X" as part of a broader plan to transform it into an all-encompassing super app. This move has sparked speculation that Musk might integrate Dogecoin into the platform, driving up the Dogecoin price once again.

Recently, Musk subtly added the Dogecoin Ð symbol to his "X" account, engaging with numerous Dogecoin fan accounts. This has led crypto market observers to speculate that Musk's intentions for "X" could have a profound impact on the cryptocurrency landscape.

Raluca Cherciu, CEO of Unpaired, an online community exploring emerging technologies, commented on the potential significance of Musk's vision, stating, "If we consider Musk’s vision for creating an everything app, it would be an absolute game-changer to incorporate cryptocurrency payments as part of that ecosystem."

While the rebranding of Twitter to "X" puzzled many users and business analysts, it also raised questions about the potential implications for the crypto market. Market analyst Simon Peters from eToro emphasized that Musk's choices could have short-term impacts on the market while potentially leading to a Twitter-based payment network that competes with established cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Bitcoin.

The move also sparked discussions about whether Musk might broaden "X" to encompass other cryptocurrencies, including stablecoins like USDC. Some experts believe that given Musk's strong online presence with Dogecoin, a dedicated Dogecoin function would be a likely addition if he were to launch a crypto payments system on Twitter.

As the market watches for further developments, investors are advised to focus on longer-term trends rather than getting distracted by short-term events. Staying informed and prepared is crucial in navigating the unpredictable world of cryptocurrencies.

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In other news, Elon Musk's leadership skills have come under scrutiny after his takeover of Twitter. A Harvard leadership expert described Musk as "totally out of his element" in running a social media platform. Bill George, an executive fellow at Harvard Business School, compared Musk's takeover to a "case study of failed leadership."

The billionaire's lack of expertise in social media was highlighted as a major concern. Since acquiring Twitter in a $44 billion deal in October 2022, Musk has made significant changes to the company. This includes firing key executives and laying off about half of the workforce. He also introduced new features, such as charging $7.99 for blue-check verification and recently rebranding Twitter's iconic blue bird logo to an X.

While Musk has been successful in other ventures like Tesla and SpaceX, critics argue that his transformation of Twitter is a "big mistake." Harvard leadership expert, Bill George, suggested that Musk should let Twitter's new CEO, Linda Yaccarino, take charge.

Similarly, management professor William Klepper from Columbia Business School also critiqued Musk's leadership approach, stating that he should not be the CEO of his own company. Instead, Klepper believes Musk should appoint competent managers within each functional element of the organization.

The opinions of these experts serve as a cautionary tale, highlighting the importance of recognizing one's expertise and allowing capable leaders to steer the ship. For creatives and entrepreneurs, this is a reminder that successful leadership requires acknowledging limitations and empowering skilled individuals to drive progress.

SO META

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, is on a winning streak as its shares surged over 8% in early trading after posting impressive second-quarter results. The earnings per share came in at $2.98, beating analysts' expectations of $2.91. Moreover, the revenue jumped 11% year over year, reaching $32 billion, surpassing the $31.12 billion analyst estimate.

The company's guidance for the current quarter is also optimistic, with Meta forecasting revenue between $32 billion to $34.5 billion, exceeding analysts' expectations of $31.3 billion. The success is attributed to a rebound in online advertising and the positive impacts of CEO Mark Zuckerberg's "year of efficiency" strategy, which focuses on cost-cutting and improving profitability.

Analysts are upbeat about Meta's performance, with Goldman Sachs' Eric Sheridan emphasizing the company's sustained shift towards efficiency while continuing to invest in key objectives like infrastructure and talent for long-term growth and increased returns.

Notable highlights from the report include strong engagement, increasing monetization of its TikTok competitor, Reels, and returns on investments in artificial intelligence.

However, some analysts expressed concerns about Meta's investments in the metaverse, particularly regarding the growing losses in the Reality Labs unit. During the second quarter, the division reported an operating loss of $3.7 billion. Meta warns that operating losses in Reality Labs are expected to continue this year and might "increase meaningfully" in 2024.

Despite these uncertainties, Meta remains a strong contender in the industry, gaining market share with its renovated tech stack and Reels strategy.

This news brings valuable insights for creatives, showcasing how a company's focus on efficiency and innovation can yield impressive results and drive growth. Stay tuned for further developments as Meta continues to navigate the evolving landscape of the digital world.

REVIVAL

On July 27, 2023, a groundbreaking revival of Scott Joplin's opera "Treemonisha" is captivating audiences around the world. This creative reimagining comes at a time when opera houses seek to diversify their repertoire, making it a perfect fit for the current cultural landscape.

Originally composed in 1911, "Treemonisha" faced numerous setbacks and remained largely unknown until the ragtime revival in the mid-20th century. Now, three distinct versions of the opera have recently emerged in the United States, Canada, and France, attracting attention from creative enthusiasts and opera aficionados alike.

Set in post-Civil War America, the opera follows the story of Treemonisha, an educated young woman striving to lead her community towards enlightenment, breaking away from superstitions and embracing a brighter future. While the piece boasts moments of brilliance, some aspects appear dated and in need of a fresh approach. These reimaginings have allowed creative artists to experiment boldly with Joplin's music, bringing new life to the opera.

Composers like Jessie Montgomery and Jannina Norpoth have collaborated to present an exciting version in Toronto, skillfully blending the original rhythms and melodies with a revised plot that explores deeper themes of division and unity among the characters. Meanwhile, the Isango Ensemble from Cape Town has delivered a mesmerizing contemporary-dress spectacle in France, fusing traditional South African musical styles with Joplin's work, providing a relevant lens through which to examine societal issues.

These versions are shining examples of how art from the past can be revitalized and made relevant in our modern world. As creators and audiences alike seek innovative approaches to classic works, "Treemonisha" serves as an inspiring example of creativity and innovation in the opera world. Whether you're an opera enthusiast, a creative mind, or simply looking for new avenues of inspiration, these reimagined versions of "Treemonisha" offer a refreshing takeaway—proving that with creativity and ingenuity, timeless works can be rediscovered and cherished anew.

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NEW DINOSAUR ALERT

A new species of dinosaur, called Minimocursor phunoiensis, has been identified by scientists in northeastern Thailand. This remarkable finding sheds light on the early evolution of ornithischian dinosaurs and offers a glimpse into the past, around 150 million years ago.

The discovery is considered one of the best-preserved dinosaurs ever found in Southeast Asia, providing researchers with valuable insights. Clint Boyd, a paleontologist managing the paleontology program of the North Dakota Geological Survey, emphasized that the skeleton's completeness, including a well-preserved hand, is a rarity among such findings.

Most ornithischian dinosaurs, like the Minimocursor phunoiensis, were herbivores and likely lived in herds. These creatures played a crucial role as precursors to more familiar dinosaurs like Triceratops. Their unique hip and pelvis structure earned them the name "ornithischian," referring to their resemblance to birds.

The analysis of the skeleton revealed that the Minimocursor phunoiensis was probably a fast runner, but not particularly large, comparable to a small deer-sized animal of today. While not flashy or heavily armored, it was likely a common presence in its environment and occupied a lower position in the food chain.

The exciting aspect of this discovery is the rarity of fossil records from this time period, especially in Southeast Asia. This finding helps fill a significant gap in our understanding of prehistoric life.

The dinosaur was found in the Phu Noi area of the Phy Kradung formation, known for its abundant specimens. Researchers from the Palaeontological Research and Education Centre of Mahasarakham University and the Sirindhorn Museum have been working in the region for the past ten years.

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