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ElevenLabs Fundraises $80 Million for Projects Including AI Voice Cloning



ElevenLabs Fundraises $80 Million for Projects Including AI Voice Cloning

The business revealed its $80 million Series B financing on Monday, January 22. It stated that the money would be utilized, among other things, to launch new products and enhance security protocols in order to “ensure responsible and ethical development of AI technology.”

ElevenLabs stated in its release that it had achieved “unicorn” status—a phrase for a privately held firm valued at more than $1 billion—but it did not provide a precise figure. The CEO of the company, Mati Staniszewski, confirmed the precise amount to Bloomberg News: $1.1 billion.

Along with the investment announcement, ElevenLabs disclosed the debut of a number of new products, such as a voice library marketplace where users may profit from artificial intelligence (AI) renditions of their own voices and a new dubbing studio that allows users to dub entire movies.

“Users can create their professional AI voice replica, verify it, and share it via Voice Library,” the company’s announcement said. “When others use these verified voices, the original creators receive compensation. Users always retain control over their voice’s availability and compensation terms.”

Over the past year, there has been a surge in funding for businesses that mimic human speech using artificial intelligence (AI), but there has also been an increase in worries that the technology might be misused.

She continued, “Fraudsters are using AI to not just launch attacks, but to get really excellent at it.

In response to these concerns, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced the Voice Cloning Challenge last year and invited suggestions on how to stop this technology from being abused.

Samuel Levine, the director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, stated at the time, “We want to address harms before they hit the marketplace and enforce the law when they do.”

According to the release, advances in text-to-speech AI have led to developments in voice cloning technology.

The FTC points out that although voice cloning has promise uses, such as helping those who are voiceless, it can also be abused. Scammers could, for instance, use voice cloning to pose as friends, family, or company officials, deceiving unwary customers and causing them financial harm.

ElevenLabs stated on Monday that it was focusing on developing detection tools to ensure that content generated by artificial intelligence could be easily identified, as part of its commitment to the “safe and responsible development of AI.”

Launched in 2023, the startup’s AI Speech Classifier can determine whether an audio sample contains content produced by ElevenLabs. This year, the company wants to improve the tool so that it covers additional speech AI models.


Biden, Kishida Secure Support from Amazon and Nvidia for $50 Million Joint AI Research Program



As the two countries seek to enhance cooperation around the rapidly advancing technology, President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida have enlisted Inc. and Nvidia Corp. to fund a new joint artificial intelligence research program.

A senior US official briefed reporters prior to Wednesday’s official visit at the White House, stating that the $50 million project will be a collaborative effort between Tsukuba University outside of Tokyo and the University of Washington in Seattle. A separate collaborative AI research program between Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and Tokyo’s Keio University is also being planned by the two nations.

The push for greater research into artificial intelligence comes as the Biden administration is weighing a series of new regulations designed to minimize the risks of AI technology, which has developed as a key focus for tech companies. The White House announced late last month that federal agencies have until the end of the year to determine how they will assess, test, and monitor the impact of government use of AI technology.

In addition to the university-led projects, Microsoft Corp. announced on Tuesday that it would invest $2.9 billion to expand its cloud computing and artificial intelligence infrastructure in Japan. Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft, met with Kishida on Tuesday. The company released a statement announcing its intention to establish a new AI and robotics lab in Japan.

Kishida, the second-largest economy in Asia, urged American business executives to invest more in Japan’s developing technologies on Tuesday.

“Your investments will enable Japan’s economic growth — which will also be capital for more investments from Japan to the US,” Kishida said at a roundtable with business leaders in Washington.

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OnePlus and OPPO Collaborate with Google to Introduce Gemini Models for Enhanced Smartphone AI



As anticipated, original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, are heavily integrating AI into their products. Google is working with OnePlus, OPPO, and other companies to integrate Gemini models into their smartphones. They intend to introduce the Gemini models on smartphones later this year, becoming the first OEMs to do so. Gemini models will go on sale later in 2024, as announced at the Google Cloud Next 24 event. Gemini models are designed to provide users with an enhanced artificial intelligence (AI) experience on their gadgets.

Customers in China can now create AI content on-the-go with devices like the OnePlus 12 and OPPO Find X7 thanks to OnePlus and OPPO’s Generative AI models.

The AI Eraser tool was recently made available to all OnePlus customers worldwide. This AI-powered tool lets users remove unwanted objects from their photos. For OnePlus and OPPO, AI Eraser is only the beginning.

In the future, the businesses hope to add more AI-powered features like creating original social media content and summarizing news stories and audio.

AndesGPT LLM from OnePlus and OPPO powers AI Eraser. Even though the Samsung Galaxy S24 and Google Pixel 8 series already have this feature, it is still encouraging to see OnePlus and OPPO taking the initiative to include AI capabilities in their products.

OnePlus and OPPO devices will be able to provide customers with a more comprehensive and sophisticated AI experience with the release of the Gemini models. It is important to remember that OnePlus and OPPO already power the Trinity Engine, which makes using phones incredibly smooth, and use AI and computational mathematics to enhance mobile photography.

By 2024, more original equipment manufacturers should have AI capabilities on their products. This is probably going to help Google because OEMs will use Gemini as the foundation upon which to build their features.

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Meta Explores AI-Enabled Search Bar on Instagram



In an attempt to expand the user base for its generative AI-powered products, Meta is moving forward. The business is experimenting with inserting Meta AI into the Instagram search bar for both chat with AI and content discovery, in addition to testing the chatbot Meta AI with users in nations like India on WhatsApp.

When you type a query into the search bar, Meta AI initiates a direct message (DM) exchange in which you can ask questions or respond to pre-programmed prompts. Aravind Srinivas, CEO of Perplexity AI, pointed out that the prompt screen’s design is similar to the startup’s search screen.

Plus, it might make it easier for you to find fresh Instagram content. As demonstrated in a user-posted video on Threads, you can search for Reels related to a particular topic by tapping on a prompt such as “Beautiful Maui sunset Reels.”

Additionally, TechCrunch spoke with a few users who had the ability to instruct Meta AI to look for recommendations for Reels.

By using generative AI to surface new content from networks like Instagram, Meta hopes to go beyond text generation.

With TechCrunch, Meta verified the results of its Instagram AI experiment. But the company didn’t say whether or not it uses generative AI technology for search.

A Meta representative told TechCrunch, “We’re testing a range of our generative AI-powered experiences publicly in a limited capacity. They are under development in varying phases.”

There are a ton of posts available discussing Instagram search quality. It is therefore not surprising that Meta would want to enhance search through the use of generative AI.

Furthermore, Instagram should be easier to find than TikTok, according to Meta. In order to display results from Reddit and TikTok, Google unveiled a new perspectives feature last year. Instagram is developing a feature called “Visibility off Instagram” that could allow posts to appear in search engine results, according to reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi, who made this discovery earlier this week on X.

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