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This Week in AI: Standard Setting, Voice Interfaces and the Law

Why Companies Must Take AI Implications Seriously

This year was generative artificial intelligence’s big coming-out party.

And this week served as a highlight reel.

PYMNTS has covered how the novel technology has reshaped entrenched workflows across areas including fraud and conversational commerce by removing manual interventions and streamlining processes. AI’s progress across other sectors is showing no signs of slowing down.

Generative AI’s progress from a technical and capability standpoint is only accelerating. Some industry participants believe that foundational models may outperform the average human in just a few years.

“We always overestimate the first three years of a technology, and severely underestimate the 10-year time horizon,” Bushel CEO Jake Joraanstad told PYMNTS in an interview posted Friday (Dec. 22) for the “AI Effect” series.

Joraanstad was talking about the role AI is expected to play in streamlining agriculture and enhancing farming operations — particularly when applied in concert or combined with other technologies already in use in the agricultural sector. However, his words hold true for the innovation more broadly.

From regulatory standards to the bullish AI funding market to enterprise applications and more, these are the key stories around AI this week that PYMNTS has been tracking — and that you need to know about.

AI Gives Boost to Businesses

This week saw a wave of new product rollouts marrying AI with the legal profession.

Legal services platform Rocket Lawyer introduced an AI-powered customer tool Thursday (Dec. 21) that combines generative AI with professional human expertise to give customers a simple and fast way to confidently complete their legal documents and other filings.

The launch came the same day as news that British law firm Allen & Overy debuted its own AI-powered contract negotiation tool in collaboration with Microsoft and buzzy legal AI startup Harvey.

As PYMNTS wrote last month, the quickening adoption of generative AI in the legal profession will mean re-examining several roles and skills in this sector.

On the other side of the legal spectrum, a group of 11 nonfiction authors, including Pulitzer Prize winners Taylor Branch, Stacy Schiff and Kai Bird, joined a lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft Wednesday (Dec. 20), accusing the two tech firms of misusing the authors’ books to train OpenAI’s popular chatbot, ChatGPT, and other AI software.

Across the pond, the U.K. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a scientist cannot patent inventions created by an AI, a “landmark” decision in the United Kingdom.

PYMNTS looked at the complexities and big questions surrounding the issue of copyrighting AI-created materials in October in a conversation with Ryan Abbott, professor of law and health sciences at the University of Surrey.

Underscoring the fact that few standards, laws or regulations exist within the AI ecosystem, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology took a first step toward establishing standards around AI’s safe deployment Tuesday (Dec. 19), including measures around testing and safeguarding even the newest systems.

Still, PYMNTS Intelligence found that business leaders are increasingly embracing AI despite employee concerns.

Demystifying AI’s Capabilities Crucial to Capturing Its Efficiencies

Big Tech is planning to both build and control superhuman AI, following the news that OpenAI laid out Monday (Dec. 18) a new Preparedness Strategy framework, which claims a scientific approach to measuring catastrophic risk in its most advanced frontier AI systems.

When end users understand that AI is a real-time probability machine drawing from a massive context of dataset parameters, the “black box” of uncontrollable AI is demystified and the technology can be better put to use.

As for how and where the technology can be applied?

Voice AI is as good a place as any to start — and AI’s innovations are reshaping the conversational ecosystem.

Mapping/navigation company TomTom announced Tuesday that it developed an AI-powered, in-car conversational assistant in collaboration with Microsoft.

Beyond cars, this year has also seen voice AI become the main user interface of the world’s first purpose-built AI device, added into ordering systems at quick-service and fast-casual restaurants, and continually honed by tech giants like Google, Meta, OpenAI and Anthropic.

White Castle Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations Jamie Richardson, told PYMNTS in an interview posted Monday that he anticipates a surge in voice automation in restaurants in the year ahead, especially at the drive-thru.

Elsewhere, travel website Expedia aims to use AI to change the way people plan their trips and vacations, while Goldman Lampe Private Bank is integrating advanced AI systems into its internet banking platform that are designed to detect and prevent fraudulent activities in real time, ensuring a secure banking environment for all users.

But AI for finance isn’t without its hiccups. A Tuesday report found AI models are just 79% accurate when analyzing Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings. One of the major issues identified by the researchers was the AI models’ tendency to refuse to answer questions or provide incorrect information that is not present in the SEC filings.

This Week’s Marketplace Movers and Shakers

As 2024 approaches, a few major marketplace moves were announced this week.

IBM announced Monday that it will pay $2 billion to buy Software AG’s enterprise technology platforms StreamSets and webMethods to help drive innovation while preparing businesses for AI, no matter where applications or data reside.

On the fundraising front, Turkey’s Revo Capital plans to raise $100 million for local AI-powered startups, while AI-driven automation company GreyOrange raised $135 million in a Series D funding round to support further adoption of its fulfillment orchestration platform in warehouses, distribution centers and retail stores. Buzzy (and already well-funded) startup Anthropic is in talks to raise $750 million with the help of Menlo Ventures.

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