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Google’s Astra is the first “AI-for-everything” agent

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$32 Billion AI Bill - A bipartisan coalition of senators proposed massive U.S. annual emergency spending on AI to continue outcompeting China.

Major Tariff Hikes - The U.S. announced tariffs on ~$18B worth of Chinese imports, including EVs, semiconductors, batteries, and solar cells.

$10B of AI Compute - Elon Musk's xAI startup is negotiating a $10B multi-year deal to rent cloud server capacity from Oracle.

Build 2024 - Microsoft’s dev conference next week in Seattle could bring new Surface hardware with on-device AI/ML and Copilot AI updates.

Market Highs? - The Nasdaq, Dow, and S&P indexes all hit new records on growing expectations of easing inflation and rate cuts.


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Google’s Astra is the first “AI-for-everything” agent

At I/O 2024 this week Google announced “Project Astra”multimodal AI assistant, as it pushes to be a universal assistant integrated into every aspect of our work and home lives. Astra is a prototype AI agent and the bleeding edge of Google’s efforts to infuse autonomous reasoning and action capacity across Search, Gemini Live, and their entire ecosystem. The array of AI features announced was overwhelming, and the boundaries between them are pretty blurred, but Astra showed it is a serious contender in the accelerating digital assistant battle with OpenAI’s GPT-4o.

The main features of the Astra and Gemini Live reveal:

  • Can see, hear, and take actions on your behalf

  • Can use your phone's camera and audio to analyze environments 

  • Near real-time conversational AI through video and audio

  • Capable of advanced reasoning and recall

  • ‘AI teammates’ are agents that can answer questions on emails, meetings, and other data within Workspace.

  • May also power a future pair of AR glasses as teased (Samsung?)

  • Google Lens visual search tool will enable video footage.

  • Astra public access is expected through the Gemini app late 2024

Google’s new Trillium chips are also coming to make it easier for clients to run AI applications based on this tech. The sixth-gen TPU will boast 4.7x better performance than the 5th and is customized to power LLMs. Google is second only to NVIDIA in the AI data center market, but it’s yet to be seen if this upgrade can help close the gap on the latter’s ~80% share.

To enhance Search, Google also rolled out "AI Overviews" to all U.S. Search users, its largest overhaul in years. The feature uses Gemini AI to summarize answers to complex questions at the top of search results. It also unveiled a conversational search chatbot and ‘multi-step reasoning’ to speed up results. Will it be enough to see off challengers like Perplexity?

Get our Deep Dive on Perplexity AI and how AI Search is adding value to Enterprises, Professionals, and Investors » Get Premium Deep Dives

“Imagine agents that can see and hear what we do, better understand the context we’re in, and respond quickly, making the pace and quality of interaction feel much more natural.”

— Demis Hassabis, CEO of Google Deepmind

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Apple - Built-in eye tracking for hand-free navigation of iPhones and iPads.

Anthropic - Claude AI assistant launched in Europe in multi-language.

ElevenLabs - Its first consumer app is the Reader: AI Audio audio reader.

Hume AI - ”Chatter“ interactive voice AI podcast offers daily news updates.


Intel - Aurora Supercomputer claims the fastest AI System in the world.

Google - Opens API access to smart home platform w/ 600M+ devices.

NVIDIA - 9 new Grace Hopper-powered 200 exaflop AI supercomputers.

MIT - “SuperLimbsExoskeleton supports astronauts in low gravity.

Closed Deals:

Immunology Therapeutics - Penn. Biotech startup Uniquity Bio emerged from stealth with $300M from Blackstone Life Sciences to treat immunology & inflammation indications.

RestaurantTech Unicorn - Irvine restaurant management tech startup Restaurant365 raised $175M at a $1B+ pmv led by ICONIQ Growth.


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