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What's brewing in AI #31

The top 100 Gen AI apps

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a16z’s top 100 Gen AI apps, Cognition launches Devin – an autonomous AI software engineer, and more AI news this week you don't want to miss.

Creator of whatplugin.ai & the What's Brewing in AI newsletter
Mar 19, 2024

Welcome to the 221 new subscribers who joined last week. I’m thrilled that you’re here to learn with me.

What’s brewing in AI #31

  • Cognition launches Devin (an autonomous AI software engineer), Apple is getting serious about AI, and xAI open-sources Grok
  • a16z’s new list of top 100 Gen AI consumer apps
  • GPTs: Handpicked arrivals from the GPT store and the latest from the whatplugin blog
  • The other AI news this week you don’t want to miss

Dario’s Picks

I. Devin - the first AI software engineer

Cognition AI launched Devin, a new tool that can code better than any other chatbot so far, referring to it as “the world’s first fully autonomous AI software engineer”. It can plan and execute complicated engineering tasks.

On SWE-bench, a benchmark for language models to solve Github issues, Devin outperforms all of the biggest LLMs with good margin.

If you’re curious how it works, I recommend checking out some of Cognition’s demo videos of Devin in action:

Devin is currently in early access only, you can apply for access here.

Why it matters: Do I think Devin is going to replace software engineers? No. But I’d say it’s probably going to change software engineering; ChatGPT has already made most developers far more efficient, and tools like Devin stand to increase productivity further.

It’s not going to be able to produce production-grade for most businesses just yet, although it might at some point. However, it could likely already automate a lot of the simpler and often tedious work assigned to junior developers.

I think Cognition’s own co-founder put it well:

“With Devin, engineers can focus on more interesting problems and engineering teams can strive for more ambitious goals.”

Scott Wu, Co-Founder, Cognition AI

II. Apple releases LLM and talks licensing with Google and OpenAI

A lot of AI stuff happening with Apple this week.

  • Apple just released their own family of LLMs called MM1 (up to 30b parameters) that can handle both images and text. It’s competitive with Google Gemini 1.0 and can apparently reason across multiple images at once, which is pretty cool.
  • It seems like Apple is also hedging their bets, as they are in talks with Google to let Gemini power new AI features for iPhone. Apparently, they recently also held discussions with OpenAI on a deal.
  • Apple also acquired Darwin AI, a startup specialising in making models smaller and faster.

Why it matters: It’s hard to say exactly what Apple is cooking up with all these advancements, but Tim Cook did tease a huge AI announcement earlier this year. Is Siri in for some major AI upgrades soon?  I think so! Then again, that’s just a guess – so I’ll keep you posted.

III. xAI open-sources Grok

Elon Musk, having recently sued OpenAI over claims that they are too closed, recently said he would open-source xAI’s model, Grok-1.

Well, Elon kept his word and has now released the weights and architecture of the Grok-1 model the Apache 2.0 license (meaning it’s free for commercial use). It’s a 314 billion parameter model trained from scratch by xAI and not fine-tuned to any particular task. The license does not give access to X for real-time data.

In terms of performance Grok-1 lags behind the biggest open-source models, like Mistral and Falcon, but the size of the model means it can improve a lot with continued training.

Why it matters: Developers can now use Grok-1 for free in their own projects – it doesn’t come with training code but still, it has less usage restrictions than most other open models. Perplexity has already said they will fine-tune it for conversations and make it available on their Pro plan.

In Focus

The top 100 Gen AI consumer apps

a16z released another of their brilliant analyses, this time their semi-annual top 100 Gen AI consumer apps.

Key takeaways from the report:

  • ChatGPT, Gemini, Character.ai and Quillbot remain in the top 5 (ranked by monthly web visits), compared to Sept 2023
  • However, over 40% of the top 50 Gen AI companies are new to the list
  • ChatGPT gets 2 billion visits per month, roughly 5x to that of the second contender, Gemini (previously Bard)
  • The highest ranked newcomers include Liner (an AI research copilot), Claude (Anthropic’s chatbot), as well as 3 uncensored AI companion apps: Janitor AI, Spicychat and CrushOn.
  • Music emerges as new category with Suno (generate songs from text) entering the list
  • Productivity tools has been broken out as a separate category. These are generally tools specialised to very specific tasks: Liner, Eightify, Phind, MaxAI, Blackbox AI, Otter.ai, and ChatPDF. Most of these are also available as Chrome extensions.
  • AI companions are growing fast, and have the highest amount of engagement per user. Case in point, the average Character.ai user spends 2 hours (!) on the site/app daily.


Top new arrivals in the GPT store

Highly rated, new GPTs featured in OpenAI’s official GPT store (from the last week)

  1. Gauntlet: Movies   Featured
  2. Personal Color Analysis   Featured
  3. Text to Video  Rank 8 in   Writing

Fresh off the whatplugin blog

I’m collaborating with writers to create easy tutorials and reviews of GPTs to achieve different tasks. Here’s what we have this week:

We’re still working on improving the content and format of these articles. Any specific topic you’d like to see covered? Leave your feedback in the poll at the end of this email.

Featured GPTs (sponsored)

Text To Speech OpenAPI


Converts text to speech, max 4096 chars, 6 voices

❞ Far out! A simple and fast GPT that does what it says, and does it well. You give it a piece of text and it gives you six voices to choose from; you select a voice and it quickly generates a lifelike voiceover from your text.

Want your GPT (honestly) reviewed here? Submit it to whatplugin and get featured in the newsletter.


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