Who knows what GamePlanner is doing, but Airbnb just bought the company

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One of the most interesting stories on the site this week – for me personally as a hardware and AI nerd and according to our “how many people read this story” tools – was Brian’s meeting on the Humane AI pin . The product is a matchbook-sized marvel full of technology, including 32GB of storage, a multifunctional 12-megapixel camera. Its pièce de résistance, however, is a laser projection system capable of displaying information on any surface, even your palm. The device is a voice-first device, offering a seamless AI-driven experience with proprietary and OpenAI integrations, including GPT-4. It’s not just a gadget; it’s a glimpse into a future where AI is as wearable as a pin and as personal to your daily routine.

The other part of AI that I think about is why we are collectively happy to let AI do some jobs but bristle at others. A lot of this appeared to me when I thought about the assumptions that are basic to human nature: Making art, worrying about things we shouldn’t worry about, and other activities. What does it mean to be human, anyway?

Finally, Airbnb acquired the AI ​​startup GamePlanner.AI, founded by Adam Cheyer and Siamak Hodjat, in a secret deal rumored to be around $200 million. The co-founders are responsible for Samsung’s Siri and Bixby assistants. GamePlanner is shrouded in mystery, but its acquisition suggests Airbnb may be working on a travel concierge service. GamePlanner is Airbnb’s first acquisition since 2019 and it’s first as a public company.

Let’s see what else is on the site this week. . .

Beep boop, I’m a robot

Image Credits: Civitai

We are getting closer and closer to getting AI-powered robots that can learn to interact with the physical world, improving repetitive tasks in different sectors. The challenge in robotics is to create high-quality datasets for physical interaction, which requires a fleet of robots for diverse data collection. Deep reinforcement learning is critical for success, argues Peter Chen, co-founder of Covariant. He claims that enabling robots to adapt and refine their strategies lays the groundwork for this change, predicting a surge in available robotic applications by 2024.

Meanwhile, in France, Romain observed that several startup ecosystems – including French AI startups such as Abog, Finegrain, Gladia, Mistral AI, and Scenario – indicate that France is becoming a major AI hub. He says this is due to a strong talent pool – and, of course, prominent venture capital activity, with companies such as Index Ventures actively investing in AI startups.

More AI nuggets:

Startup shrugs: Atlas, a 3D generative AI platform, has launched with $6 million in seed funding after two years of development in stealth mode. Its purpose is to make world design easier for games development.

Like Flickr, but for Gen AI: Civitai, a generative AI content marketplace, provides a platform for users to share and discover AI-generated image models based on Stable Diffusion. The startup experienced significant growth, leading to a $5.1 million round of funding from a16z, at a $20 million valuation.

ChatGPT, remove the weel: Ghost Autonomy, a company that develops autonomous driving software, has partnered with OpenAI and landed a $5 million investment to explore the use of multimodal large language models (LLMs) in self-driving cars. Talk about making hallucinations high stakes, y’all.

The robot can see you now: Forward Health launches CarePod, a self-contained and stand-alone medical station powered by AI, designed to perform clinical tasks found in primary care offices, such as tests of blood and blood pressure readings, without requiring a doctor or nurse to. – site.

Helloooo, land to begin with

Rendering BuildCasa - House house

Image Credits: BuildCasa

In the context of a funding winter where investment activity is at a three-year low, founders, especially those approaching Series A funding, are facing challenging times. I really enjoyed the guest article by Katie Konyn and Daniela Restrepo on TC+, discussing how to use LinkedIn to raise funds. They recommend growing a network, interacting with investors without pitching immediately, maintaining visibility through regular updates and achievements, and building reciprocal relationships. It’s a long game, they concluded.

Inversion Art aims to be a Y Combinator for artists, I wrote on TC+ this week. The company offers an accelerator program to help artists find success. Co-founders Joey Flores and Jonathan Neil support artists through five-year purchase, sales, and practical service commitments. This approach includes a biannual, three-month program in Los Angeles for selected artists, culminating in an exhibition. Their model combines direct financial investment with comprehensive back-office management services, targeting promising artists and potentially extending to other creative professionals. It’s a cool idea – god knows if it will prove to be venture-scale, but I like the approach of empowering artists to discover and achieve success on their own terms.

More startup stories:

That’s one way to make a market: Samara, a company spun off from Airbnb, recently raised new funding, positioning itself as a potential solution to the US housing crisis. I have mixed feelings about this, especially when Airbnb itself bears responsibility for causing the housing crisis in the first place.

Revolving doors: Zeus Living, a proptech startup reportedly backed by Airbnb, has shut down its operations. Founded in 2015, the company initially focused on renovating landlords’ homes and renting them to displaced workers for long-term stays, later expanding to provide more flexible living options in a wider audience. That doesn’t work out as planned.

Here’s a browser for you, my AI friend: When OpenAI connects ChatGPT to the internet, it supercharges the AI ​​chatbot’s capabilities. Now search engine You.com wants to do the same for every major language model out there.

Let’s go on an adventure!

Image Credits: Amazon

It’s rocky waters for GM at the moment, as the mothership tightens its grip on Cruise, its self-driving car subsidiary, following incidents that led to the suspension of Cruise’s commercial operating permits in California. GM executive Craig Glidden, who is also a Cruise board member, has been appointed as chief administrative officer to lead the company’s legal, policy, communications, and finance teams. Cruise has halted all supervised and manual autonomous vehicle operations in the US, affecting about 70 vehicles. A survey found that half of Cruise employees surveyed had low confidence in the company’s safety culture.

Best known for pulling fossil fuels out of the ground, Exxon plans to tap the vast lithium reserves in the US to power electric vehicles. The US holds large quantities of recoverable lithium, critical for EV batteries. The scale is quite strong: The amount of lithium the company wants to drill will supply more than a million cars per year.

More transportation news:

Okay, well, you can drive: Uber has implemented new measures to address the issue of unfair driver deactivation, a key concern for ride-hail and delivery drivers. The measures include better inspections, recording features, and voluntary drug testing.

Is it a bird? plane?: Joby Aviation and Volocopter conducted short demonstration flights of their electric aircraft in New York City, showing a glimpse of the future of aviation.

Let’s look at other people: Rivian’s electric vans are no longer exclusive to Amazon, as the automaker has announced that it will sell commercial electric vans to other companies. This decision ends the exclusive deal that Amazon made in 2019.

Who needs music?: A recent software update intended to fix bugs and improve proximity locking in Rivian’s vehicles accidentally broke some of their infotainment systems. It’s not clear if an OTA update will fix this. Luckily, Rivian says only about 3% of vehicles are affected – but they still need to be serviced by a technician. Well.

Top TechCrunch reads this week

Alpha and Omegle: Omegle, a popular online chat service known for connecting strangers for conversations, has been shut down after more than 14 years due to growing misuse of the platform, which includes the involvement of “no horrendous crimes” – including an alleged 600,000 cases of child abuse.

Ahh, finally some peace and Dimmu Borgir: The Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones provide exceptional comfort, sound quality, and top-notch noise cancellation, Brian reviews. The headphones justify their $429 price tag as one of the best noise canceling Bluetooth headphones available.

We have a trust issue: Epic and Google are battling it out in court, with one trial targeting Google’s alleged anticompetitive practices in its Play Store. The core challenge is Google’s commission on in-app purchases and special deals with developers. Here are 5 things we learned this week

Dawn price lists: Lyft’s aggressive pricing strategy to compete with Uber has led to slower growth for the company, although competition in the ride-hail market remains fierce.

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