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We’re all startups again

Remember when "startup" meant a few folks in a garage, fueled by dreams, coffee, and ramen?

Before we dive into this week’s newsletter, we need to address the recent acts of terror in Israel, which have deeply affected our community. In response, we’re organizing aid donations to provide broader support for Israel. Please let us know if you’re looking to participate in any way.

Our partners over at Insight are also matching up to $1 million in donations to organizations committed to immediate and effective relief efforts. We encourage those who can to donate here. In these challenging times, community is everything. We remain hopeful and committed to standing together through adversity.

***

Remember when "startup" meant a few folks in a garage, fueled by dreams, coffee, and ramen?

Well, times have changed. Today, companies are navigating a perfect storm of market volatility, the changing nature of work, and the disruptive force of Generative AI. The old talent playbook—AKA hiring rosters of full-time employees? That's yesterday's news.

Of all these questions, the biggest remains: Will AI be a platform shift? If history is any guide—from PCs to the internet, mobile to cloud, bread to sliced bread—platform shifts upend the status quo, altering distribution, business models, and technological possibilities. AI might be the next one—or it could be caught in a hype cycle that cools off after a while and leaves us with a nice tool for writing personalized birthday songs.

The takeaway? Companies, regardless of size, need to channel their inner startup. If Google’s search dominance can be disrupted, no software can be confident about their moat. We’re all startups again.

Our prediction? The teams of tomorrow won't just be different; they'll be smaller—but their impact will be bigger than we've ever seen.

Speaking of shifting social dynamics, a recent study delves into the social psychology of LLMs, creating computer "societies" to see how LLMs talk to each other. The result? They act more like us than you'd think, following majority rules and even engaging in debates. But while LLMs might manifest human-like social behaviors, they won't be replacing your dev team anytime soon.

Case in point: A group of engineers tried to resurrect Flappy Bird using ChatGPT, exploring if non-coders could craft a game using only natural language prompts. The outcome? ChatGPT serves as a creative co-pilot, offering inspiration and a promising starting point, but it falls short of turning a simple prompt into a fully playable game.

CHART OF THE WEEK

Can LLMs Provide Useful Feedback in Scientific Research?

Can LLMs Provide Useful Feedback in Scientific Research?

Peer review is the bedrock of scientific progress, but it's also a bottleneck.

With the number of submissions to conferences like ICLR skyrocketing—from 960 in 2018 to nearly 5,000 in 2023—the system is strained.

The total cost of the peer review system? An estimated $2.5B and 100 million researcher hours annually. And let's not forget, the scarcity of quality feedback hits marginalized researchers the hardest, perpetuating a cycle of scientific inequality.

Enter Large Language Models. A recent study tested LLMs on 4,800 research papers and found their reviews overlap with human ones as much as humans do with each other. Plus, 57% of authors found the AI feedback helpful.

The main difference? LLMs and humans have different focal points. LLMs are seven times more likely to comment on research implications but almost eleven times less likely to touch on novelty.

So, can LLMs be the peer reviewers of the future? Maybe. They won't replace human insight, but they could be a valuable co-pilot in the peer review cockpit, especially when human resources are stretched thin.

DEEP DIVE

What the Science of Creativity Tells Us About Writing with Generative AI

What the Science of Creativity Tells Us About Writing with Generative AI

In 2014, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh set out to understand creativity by studying engineers developing innovative new products. They found that creativity doesn’t move in big leaps but in small steps.

“Idea A spurs a new but closely related thought, which prompts another incremental step, and the chain of little mental advances sometimes eventually ends with an innovative idea in a group setting,” they wrote.

This summer, two British researchers ran an experiment comparing writers who worked alone to write a short story to writers who used AI to help generate story ideas. The writers who used AI as a creative springboard wrote much higher quality and more novel stories than those who did not.

Tools like ChatGPT allow us to have brainstorming sessions on-demand. It’s like having a thousand co-workers trapped inside your computer, eagerly waiting to yell ideas at you—except their ideas will probably be better.

Read the Full Story

UPCOMING EVENTS

Unlock the Future of Consumer AI at NY Tech Week

In NYC for Tech Week? Join us for an exclusive event to talk about all things Consumer AI.

On October 18, we’re joining Maven Ventures and a16z to host NYC Tech Week’s Consumer x AI Founder Pitch Fest: an evening of lightning pitches from founders building on the forefront of AI.

Why Attend?

  • Hear 10 lightning pitches from founders at the cutting edge of Consumer AI.
  • Network with VCs, startup founders, and AI builders.
  • Gain insights from VC panelists like Robert Ravanshenas of Maven Ventures and Zach Cohen of a16z.

Pitches kick off at 5:00 pm sharp—snacks and wine are on us!

Reserve Your Spot

MISSION MUST-READS

AI DISCOVERY ZONE

Krea.ai turns your brand’s logo into amazing visual designs with a single prompt. We tried it, and it really works!

*Tip: Use a black-on-white logo for the best results.

Missed last week’s issue of MISSION? Read it here.

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