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This Week in AI: Transforming Accounting, Governance, Energy Efficiency and Tech Investments

Artificial Intelligence, AI

The artificial intelligence (AI) revolution drives transformative changes across various sectors, from accounting and regulatory frameworks to energy efficiency and tech infrastructure.

Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz reports AI’s potential to streamline accounting, while Google’s support for AI regulation highlights Big Tech’s call for responsible governance. Meanwhile, UC Santa Cruz researchers have found a way to reduce AI energy costs, and companies like Micron Technology, Alibaba.com and Perplexity AI see substantial gains and investments driven by AI advancements.

AI Transforms Accounting: Andreessen Horowitz Report

AI may transform the accounting industry, according to venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. As large language models improve, accounting firms are eager to leverage AI for enhanced efficiency and to manage increasing workloads.

With 75% of CPAs expected to retire in the next decade amid a decline in new accounting graduates, the profession faces a workforce crisis. Generative AI (GenAI) offers a potential solution by automating repetitive tasks like bookkeeping and tax preparation, freeing up accountants for more valuable activities.

As finance functions nationwide struggle with staff shortages, AI is a pivotal tool to ensure efficiency and accuracy, addressing the critical need for more hands on deck in the accounting world.

Google Exec Supports AI Regulation: A Call for Smart Governance

Kent Walker, Google’s president of global affairs, has endorsed several AI regulatory bills and proposed principles for responsible AI governance. As U.S. legislators grapple with AI regulation, Walker’s support highlights the tech industry’s acknowledgment that effective AI oversight is both inevitable and necessary.

“We’ve long said AI is too important not to regulate, and too important not to regulate well,” Walker said. He backed five key bills in the Senate’s AI Policy Roadmap to advance AI standards and promote U.S. leadership in the field.

As AI continues integrating into various sectors, from healthcare to finance, Google’s stance is poised to influence nationwide legislative and corporate discussions.

UC Santa Cruz Innovates to Slash AI Energy Costs

Researchers at UC Santa Cruz have developed a method to significantly reduce the energy costs of running large language models. This innovation could revolutionize AI use in eCommerce by making advanced capabilities more accessible and affordable for businesses of all sizes.

“We got the same performance at way less cost — all we had to do was fundamentally change how neural networks work,” said Jason Eshraghian, lead author and assistant professor at UC Santa Cruz.

Currently, running advanced AI models like ChatGPT can cost up to $700,000 per day in energy alone, posing a significant barrier for smaller businesses.

AI Boom Drives Tech Investments

Memory chip maker Micron Technology announced robust quarterly results driven by AI demand, with revenue hitting $6.81 billion. It highlighted strong performance in high-margin products like High-Bandwidth Memory (HBM).

Meanwhile, eCommerce giant Alibaba.com, which works with small businesses globally to offer AI tools, reported a 37% increase in product exposure among small- to medium-sized businesses using these technologies.

Additionally, AI-powered search startup Perplexity caught the eye of SoftBank’s Vision Fund, potentially securing a multi-million-dollar investment at a $3 billion valuation.