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A year ago, the phrase “generative AI” had barely pierced the jargon of my inbox.
In July 2022, I had received a few missives from Meta about a multimodal “generative AI” prototype called “Make-A-Scene,” and a handful of emails that harked to “generative AI” text-to-image models like DALL-E and Imagen. But I’m pretty sure the term “generative AI” was not uttered from the stage at last July’s VentureBeat Transform — our annual flagship event focused on applied AI for enterprise business and technology decision makers.
What a difference a year makes. By the time OpenAI’s ChatGPT was released on November 30, generative AI had barely started to trend in Google search. But throughout the winter and spring of 2023, it began to explode — and has climbed the charts ever since. There was the conga line of generative AI productivity apps. Google and Microsoft’s competing announcements around Bard and Bing. An open source AI coming-out celebration. Massive funding rounds for companies developing the LLMs that build generative AI apps. And, of course, Nvidia’s massive success providing GPU compute to power the whole generative AI party.
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And in many cases, generative AI tools have improved. Look at text-to-image generator Midjourney’s output in July 2022 compared to July 2023:
These days, generative AI is part of the current cultural zeitgeist and a pivotal part of any discussion about AI and ML, whether it is about investment, applications, infrastructure, security, open source, regulation or ethics. Other than Apple, which studiously stayed away from the term, “generative AI” was mentioned dozens of times in every Big Tech earnings report this quarter. VC firms have unceremoniously thrown “metaverse,” “blockchain” and “Web3” to the curb, greedily gobbling up “generative AI” as their latest investment craze.
Even skeptics believe that generative AI is more than the latest season of hype. For example, a recent Domino Data Lab survey of data science leaders found that 90% believe that the hype surrounding generative AI is justified, while more than half believe it will have a significant impact on their business within the next one to two years.
And now, a hot generative AI summer is here. Get ready to sweat, because the technology shows no signs of slowing down through the dog days of July and August. Silicon Valley isn’t going on vacation anytime soon — not when the future of AI success is at stake. And for enterprise companies, the journey to harness generative AI is just beginning. As noted by our CEO and editor-in-chief Matt Marshall last week, “they face daunting challenges in transforming their processes, systems and cultures to embrace this new paradigm. And they need to act fast to develop an ‘operating system’ for generative AI, before their competitors gain an edge.”
That’s where this year’s VentureBeat Transform, “Get Ahead of the Generative AI Revolution” comes in. I’m heading to San Francisco to get ready for the event on July 11-12, which will be the first significant independent event for enterprise leaders who want to learn how to leverage generative AI and data technology to transform their businesses — and how to manage its risks and challenges
That’s right: This year’s Transform will be all about generative AI — how could it not be? From our Women in AI breakfast that kicks off the conference to the panels, fireside chats, roundtables and AI Innovation Awards that follow, we’ll be gathering in person to tackle the generative AI topics everyone is talking about.
When I think back to last summer, it’s almost like we were on the cusp of a heat wave. The signs were there, in the text-to-image generative AI tools like DALL-E 2 that were showing flashes of what was to come. But it wasn’t until ChatGPT burst on the scene that the world got a sense of how generative AI applications could potentially impact so many aspects of our lives — from the workplace and education to politics and entertainment.
This summer, the heat is on — and everyone, it seems, has a fever for whatever is coming in generative AI. At VentureBeat’s Transform, we’re here for it all. Join me (and colleagues including CEO and editor-in-chief Matt Marshall, editorial director Michael Nunez, GamesBeat editor Dean Takahashi and news editor Carl Franzen) in San Francisco next week and get fired up.
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