The AI beat goes on…with a farewell | The AI Beat

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Last weekend I flew to San Francisco, preparing for several days of immersion into all things Nvidia and AI. I needed to muster all of my energy for the company’s annual GTC conference, but I didn’t sleep in. I shrugged off my jet lag and headed down to Monterey for two days to commune with sea lions and otters — call it a Red Bull-style shot of actual nature and wildlife before joining the world of artificial intelligence and GPUs and PFLOPS.

Nvidia’s GTC conference, not surprisingly, was an absolute whirlwind. There was CEO Jensen Huang’s two-hour long keynote address at the packed SAP Center in San Jose, where he was clad in a black leather jacket that I wrote seemed “just a bit more rock and roll” than the plain versions he has sported over the past few years — in keeping with Nvidia’s soaring stock performance that seemed to give everyone reason to party. There was the gathering of the authors of ‘Attention is All You Need,’ the paper introducing Transformers which jump-started the generative AI boom. There were also hundreds of other sessions, panels, fireside chats, dinners and happy hours at Nvidia GTC — not to mention a stream of news coming out of Nvidia, capped by the announcement of its latest next-generation AI chip and platform, Blackwell.

The unceasing pace of AI industry news

But naturally, the AI beat went on as usual beyond the conference, with the typical unceasing pace of AI industry news: Microsoft dropped the mic by hiring Inflection AI CEO and co-founder Mustafa Suleyman, who was formerly cofounder of DeepMind, to run its consumer AI business. Apple and Google are reportedly discussing a deal to bring Google AI to iPhones. The first ‘fairly trained‘ AI model hit the headlines. This morning, the UN adopted the first global AI resolution.

That’s the thing about the AI beat. The beat never stops. And that leads me to my own personal news: I’m leaving VentureBeat to pursue a new professional opportunity. The good news is that I will still be covering AI — a beat that I have come to deeply enjoy and respect over the past two years. But it is bittersweet: Not only will I miss my small but mighty team at VentureBeat, but the publication gave me a tremendous opportunity to take on the AI beat six months before OpenAI launched ChatGPT and generative AI exploded into the public’s consciousness. I’m proud to say that I fully took advantage of it — I’ve now written hundreds of articles that helped tell the story of the people and companies behind generative AI’s emergence, evolution, opportunities and struggles.

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A fond farewell

I had covered AI before joining VentureBeat, but it was at the highest of levels, the broadest of broad strokes — how companies were using traditional AI for predictive analytics or pattern recognition under the hood for narrow business use cases.

When I arrived at VentureBeat, I immediately realized that the AI beat had turned into a wild ride. As I wrote in one of my first AI Beat columns in December 2022: “It was my first week at VentureBeat, in mid-April. OpenAI had just released the new iteration of its text-to-image generator, DALL-E 2; our lead AI writer, Kyle Wiggers, had moved to TechCrunch before I could pick his brain; and I was panicking.”

But I was a good listener and eager to learn. And listen and learn I did, from fellow journalists and industry analysts, startup CEOs and Big Tech execs, consultants and engineers, researchers and policy leaders, lawyers and professors. I continue to lean on the experts in industry and academia to guide my work, as I strive to provide what I hope is balanced and nuanced reporting around an increasingly hyped-up and confusing AI landscape.

I know that my VentureBeat colleagues — Carl Franzen, Michael Nuñez and Shubham Sharma — will keep working to do the same in their own AI-focused coverage. I wish them continued success on what I think is the best beat in tech!

Thanks for reading,

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