- This AI sounds a lot like Elon Musk…
- Generative AI takes on the music industry
- Ready to travel supersonic?…
When will it ever end?
I recall back in November having a small sense of optimism when the U.S. Senate voted 62 – 36 to end the COVID-19 pandemic emergency declaration in a rare and welcome bipartisan vote. That should have been enough. Constituents’ voices had been heard, and they were reflected in the strong majority vote.
And it was completely ignored.
About three weeks ago, on January 11, the Biden administration extended the emergency declaration (powers) yet again until April. This time, it was a new variant – the “highly infectious” Omicron XBB.1.5 that was going to do us in. Blatantly absent was any mention of the actual risk – or lack thereof – of XBB.1.5.
We’ve been promised not one, not two, but now three Armageddon-like winters of death, none of which have transpired. It’s not because we got lucky, and it’s not because of the COVID-19 “vaccines.” As we’ve well learned, the “vaccines” do not stop infection, they do not stop replication of the virus, and they most certainly do not stop transmission of the virus to others.
What happened was the science.
There were several early scientific studies back in 2020 that determined the infection fatality rate of COVID-19 was roughly on par with the seasonal influenza. Many scientists at the time – those that were brave and courageous – recommended rational pandemic policies. They suggested to protect those that were old and/or vulnerable, keep schools open, and stated that masking was not only ineffective, but also damaging to both physical and mental health.
We of course know what happened. Yet those original studies on infection fatality rate (IFR) have since been proven to be highly accurate. The latest numbers are:
0 – 17 yrs old: 0.005%
0 – 64 yrs old: 0.029%
0 – 19 yrs old: 0.0003%
0 – 59 yrs old: 0.026%
The influenza numbers are directly from the CDC, and the COVID-19 IFR data is from research published out of Stanford University on January 1 this year. In summary, the IFR for COVID for anyone under 60 years of age is less than that of the influenza.
Which is why I was so shocked when I woke up this morning to find out that the Biden administration has extended the COVID public health emergency and associated emergency powers yet another time until May 11.
Will it ever end?
Given the facts… Given the scientific research… Given what we now know to be true… the state of emergency should be ended immediately, as should any and all mandates related to these “vaccines” (experimental drugs) and their associated booster shots (also experimental drugs), which do not in any way provide sterilizing immunity against the virus.
So what’s the real reason for this ridiculous extension?
There’s the obvious one, which is that it enables more spending. More money can be thrown around to special interests. But I believe that there is an even bigger reason.
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has issued emergency use authorizations (EUA) for hundreds of COVID-19 tests and several COVVID-19 treatments including antiviral agents and monoclonal antibodies. It has also done the same for three COVID-19 vaccines, only two of which have been granted full FDA approval (Pfizer & Moderna).
The issue is that Pfizer only has full approval for its “vaccine” for ages 12 and above. And Moderna has full approval for ages 18 and above. All other approvals for younger age groups are still under emergency use only.
If the Biden administration cancels the public health emergency, those drugs can no longer be given under an EUA. And that’s game over for the pharmaceutical companies. The FDA needs to figure out what to do about all these outstanding EUAs and whether or not to let them expire or give full approvals.
But that’s not what the government and the pharmaceutical companies should be worried about right now. Just focusing on the money is too shortsighted. They’re about to get hit with a tsunami of class action lawsuits unlike anything they’ve ever seen before.
The Wave of Investment in Generative AI has just begun…
Have we ever wanted to chat with a president or prime minister?
Maybe speak with Elon Musk? Or our favorite fictional character?
Well, a startup called Character.ai is looking to make that happen.
Character.ai was founded by a pair of former Google executives. They are putting a unique twist on generative AI.
Character.ai is training its AI to impersonate both people and fictitious characters. It does this by feeding the AI all available transcripts and writing from the particular person’s point of view or character.
The idea is that users can use Chartacter.AI to have real conversations with their favorite people and characters. And it will “feel” like they are truly speaking to whoever the AI is representing.
For instance, here’s a conversation with Socrates, the ancient Greek philosopher:
And here’s a conversation with an AI trained on Elon Musk’s public comments.
We can imagine the applications. This could be a powerful tool for researchers and those curious enough to get an insight into how a historical figure saw the world. Or, this artificial intelligence could be trained on psychoanalysis and act as an online therapist.
And think about this – Character.ai is only in beta testing right now. It’s not generating meaningful revenue from its platform.
Yet, the VCs are still investing heavily into it. It’s looking to raise $250 million right now. And the company expects this raise to happen at a $1 billion-plus valuation.
And this isn’t the only generative AI company raising funding right now…
An AI company called Adept is also seeking to tap the VC markets at a $1 billion plus valuation. Again, that’s a lofty valuation for such an early-stage startup. Especially in this volatile economic climate.
And Anthropic, the creator of the AI Claude, which we recently explored in The Bleeding Edge, is known to be raising $300 million at a $5 billion valuation.
These three companies are raising tremendous amounts of capital at incredible valuations all in the span of a few weeks. There’s no shortage of capital available to them. And… it’s only January!
The genie is out of the bottle.
The world has gotten its first taste of generative AI… and the applications are immense. These AIs will drive productivity in ways we can only imagine right now. And adoption is exploding…
We already saw how OpenAI’s ChatGPT gained one million users in just five days after it was released. That got the VCs’ attention.
Given the rapid adoption curve, the VCs know that these generative AIs will quickly scale to millions… tens of millions… maybe even a billion users. And at that point there will be all kinds of monetization avenues available to them.
That’s why we’re seeing so much capital pour into this space so early and so quickly. These startups aren’t making much money right now… but they’ll make a killing in time.
And naturally this investment is only going to drive the advancement and adoption of generative AI even faster. The easy availability of such large amounts of capital accelerates product development which speeds time to market for consumers.
We’re at the very beginning of a massive trend. And it’s absolutely going to reshape our world in ways we can’t yet envision.
Google’s latest generative AI is a first…
Google just released yet another generative AI. This one is called MusicLM. And as the name implies, it creates music.
Google trained MusicLM on more than 280,000 hours of music. The dataset is not publicly available. But we can be sure it consists of music across every genre… every instrument… and likely every major artist as well.
The end result is that MusicLM can now create any kind of music on demand. For example, here’s a clip it created. This music was created from a simple text prompt: “the main soundtrack of an arcade game”.
I played this clip for my team. They said it sounds just like a 1990’s video game.
And to think, the entire track was created by an AI. And all it took was a seven-word text prompt. Remarkable.
The implications here are massive.
With generative AI like this, suddenly people with no formal training could create their own full-length songs, albums, and soundtracks. And they could do so in seconds. At very low costs.
Of course, this raises some serious copyright infringement issues.
If MusicLM was trained on copyrighted music, does that mean anything it produces is a derivative of copyrighted material? A good lawyer could easily make that argument.
I’m sure that’s why Google did not release MusicLM’s training dataset and for similar reasons has not yet made MusicLM public. The copyright issues here are going to be very hard to figure out… Especially when we don’t know what these AIs are trained on.
Legal issues aside, the generative AI trend is moving at an exceptional pace. We are going to see generative AI’s pop up for anything and everything imaginable. As long as there is a large dataset available for training, these language models can be trained on anything.
A new factory for supersonic aircraft…
Let’s conclude with some news around the future of commercial air travel.
Regular readers may remember private aerospace company Boom Supersonic. We’ve featured it a few times in these pages.
Boom is developing a modern supersonic jet called the Overture. And the company just hit a major milestone.
Boom announced it has started construction on a factory just outside of Greensboro, NC. It’s adjacent to the Piedmont Triad International Airport.
That’s where Boom’s supersonic jets will be made. They plan to start production on the first jet before 2024 is out.
What’s more, Boom just inked a deal with a company called Florida Turbine Technologies to build its jet engines. This was the final piece of the puzzle.
Initially, Boom’s design called for three engines – one under each wing and one in the tail. But the team shifted to a four-engine design. It consists of two engines under each wing. Here’s a good visual:
Source: Boom Supersonic
Pretty awesome to look at. Here we can see two long, skinny engines underneath each wing of the Overture. They will allow the jet to hit speeds of Mach 1.7. That’s nearly twice the speed of sound.
At that speed, a flight from New York to London would take just over three hours. We can compare that to the nearly eight hours it takes with today’s commercial aircraft.
With its factory under construction and an engine manufacturer in place, Boom Supersonic is well on its way to making supersonic travel a reality once again.
And I should point out that Boom has already secured orders for 130 jets from some major airliners. These include American Airlines, United Airlines, and even Japan Airlines. They are each lining up to secure their own supersonic jets.
If we think about it – it’s been two decades since the first commercial supersonic jet, the Concorde, was retired. It’s amazing to consider how much our technology has advanced since then… yet we haven’t had supersonic air travel available to us.
Well, that’s all about to change.
So it’s not an exaggeration to say that this represents the first major improvement in commercial air travel in twenty years. I can’t wait.
We’ll continue to track Boom Supersonic’s progress very closely in these pages. It’s still too early right now… but there will be some great investment opportunities to come with this trend. And I’d be very surprised if Boom isn’t acquired by one of the major publicly traded players as they get closer to commercial flights.
Editor, The Bleeding Edge