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AI-Powered Brain Implants, Music Generation, and China's Next Move in AI

Plus an AI music generator for creating beats

“Over the course of the next 10 years, I hope through new chips, new interconnects, new systems, new operating systems, new distributed computing algorithms and new AI algorithms and working with developers coming up with new models, I believe we're going to accelerate AI by another million times.” -Jensen Huang, CEO of NVIDIA

In today’s email:

  • AI-Powered Brain Implant Smashes Speed Record for Turning Thoughts Into Text

  • Google might bring AI text-to-image generator to Android

  • The State of China’s AI Adoption

  • Best AI Tool of the month

  • Calling all Engineers

The AI-powered brain implant smashes speed record for turning thoughts into text

A team of researchers at Stanford University have made significant progress in the development of brain implants for speech reproduction.

How it works: The implants use tiny electrode arrays inserted into the brain to measure neural activity, with the goal of transforming thoughts into text or sound.

They are essential for people who have lost their ability to speak due to paralysis, disease, or injury.

The problem: current implants are incredibly slow and top out at producing about 10-12 words per minute, making everyday conversations frustrating.

The team's study, published on the preprint server bioRxiv, helped a 67-year-old woman restore her ability to communicate using the brain implant at a record-breaking speed.

The woman, known pseudonymously as "T12" in the study, gradually lost her speech due to Lou Gehrig's disease.

After the implant, T12's neural attempts at speech were decoded as text on a screen and spoken aloud through a computer at a volume of 62 words per minute, over three times the speed of previous records.

The new study, part of the BrainGate2 Neural Interface System trial, took a new approach to the implant by placing four electrode microarrays into the outer layer of T12's brain. Two were inserted into areas that control movements around the mouth's surrounding facial muscles, and the other two tapped straight into the brain's "language center," known as Broca's area.

T12 trained the algorithm on her particular neural activity underlying her speech patterns by speaking between nearly 500 sentences.

Though the system had a high error rate of nearly 25%, this proof-of-concept bridges a previous speed barrier with significant improvement.

With more Recurrent Neural Network training, this could rapidly advance the industry of brain-computer interface.

Speaking of mind-reading: What’s Neuralink up to?

A hidden line of code shows Google might put text-to-image AI on all Android devices

The latest beta version of Gboard, version, contains lines of code that mentions an "Imagen Keyboard," according to a recent APK teardown conducted by 9to5Google.

This discovery has sparked speculation about the possible integration of Imagen technology into Gboard, which could provide 3.3 billion Android users with the text-to-image platform.

Imagen, developed by Google, is a text-to-image generator that’s been under development for several years. According to Google, more people preferred Imagen's results to DALL-E's.

While Gboard already offers image creation tools such as stickers, emojis, and GIFs, Imagen's advanced technology could allow users to create custom images based on their requests.

If this update is true, Google would essentially be airdropping the ability to create and share custom AI images to over 3 billion Android users overnight.

A snapshot of China and AI

China has now banned US-based AI programs like ChatGPT.

Although OpenAI does not operate in China, ChatGPT quickly became one of the most popular online applications through the use of VPNs. Just weeks after ChatGPT was made public, the search term had higher interest in China than anywhere else in the world.

Since the CCP has no way to monitor or manipulate ChatGPT, it led the government to ban all VPN services on WeChat, the most widely used communications app in China.

The government also issued a front-page op-ed on the dangers of investing in foreign AI, where it is pretty clear the CCP is targeting ChatGPT specifically.

China has several pilot ChatGPT-like projects in the works, and its market intelligence firm International Data Corporation projects its AI investment to exceed $26 billion by 2026, which would be the second most by any country.

China is betting big on AI, with almost a dozen ChatGPT-like projects in the works by companies like Alibaba and Baidu.

Baidu (China’s Google) is planning to launch its own AI-powered language tool "Ernie Bot" to deploy across all of its services in March and is already lining up partnerships with everything from media companies to kung fu's Shaolin Temple.

The Chinese government, for now, wants to keep all use of artificial intelligence “in-house.”

For more on China’s approach to AI, the book Ai Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order is worth a read. Author Kai-Fu Lee leads Sinovation Venture’s Artificial Intelligence Institute and is a good follow on Twitter.

AI Tool of the Week

Creating AI-generated beats with Lemonaid:

This AI-powered music tool (built by musicians) uses AI to generate custom MIDI tracks in any key, tempo, or mood you choose.

Why we loved this: Lemonaid has the most user-friendly interface of any music tool in recent memory. Each time you hit the "generate" button, Lemonaid AI will create a new unique track (over 50 million unique MIDI progressions) based on the parameters you select.

It eliminates writer’s block (for music, that is): Once Lemonaid generates a track, you can modify it just like any other MIDI file, or instantly regenerate a fresh one.

It didn’t scrape the “Billboard Top 40”: Lemonaid was trained ethically on datasets that they own and through partnerships with fellow producers, ensuring that their technology was created in the "right way."

Though this is a paid tool, it’s incredibly satisfying to use if you’re a hobbyist, AI enthusiast, or pro musician.

Are you a Full Stack / Machine Learning Engineer looking for a once in a lifetime opportunity in AI?

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