Welcome to the AI Index Report, featuring practitioner analyst and entrepreneur Toni Witt. This series is intended to deliver the timely intelligence about artificial intelligence (AI) you need to get up to speed for an upcoming client engagement or board meeting.
This episode is sponsored by the AI Summit Preconference at Community Summit, taking place October 16th in Charlotte, NC. The full-day preconference is dedicated to providing an understanding of where, why, and how AI should be applied to drive business results.
There’s a huge business behind sustainability: carbon credits. Many analysts agree that the total market size of carbon credits is in the hundreds of billions of dollars. There are mega-corporations that claim they are sustainable, but they are purchasing these credits from agencies, claiming they have a positive impact on the environment. But how are these credits actually certified? How are these agencies tracking the health of environments?
Treefera built an AI platform for forest analytics, helping expedite the process of measuring, reporting, and verifying the process of carbon credits. The company uses deep learning on a combination of data streams that come from forests. It uses this to make estimates on the health of forests and quantify the progress of reforestation efforts.
There are currently almost 200 registered forest projects on the platform. Treefera raised $2.2 million. Corporations that purchase these credits know that they have a direct correlation to carbon being removed or a tree being planted. It helps the pricing in this market. It provides visibility between all parties involved: the corporations and the rural farmers and landowners.
Ernst and Young (EY) announced a $1.44 billion investment into building its own AI platform and large language model (LLM): EY.AI. According to a Wall Street Journal report, this model is trained on public data. EY is also focused on enterprise-grade security and privacy. The company’s overall $1.4 billion investment is being used for building generative AI capabilities into its existing product line.
EY is also rolling out a new learning program around AI for its employees. There have already been over 100,000 credentials issued in that field.
The company has a range of partnerships to bring as offerings to its customers, including partnerships with OpenAI, Microsoft, and Dell. This is a strategic move, as they lie at the intersection of business and technology.
There are three pieces to the EY.AI platform that EY is putting into place to ensure customers are using the technology safely and effectively:
- The EY.AI Confidence Index leverages industry-leading practices for risk governance and data management so AI systems are actually being evaluated and monitored properly.
- The Maturity Model reviews where an enterprise stands compared to market and industry peers.
- The Value Accelerator helps prioritize initiatives for the greatest strategic impact and growth.
Product of the Week (09:03)
Baidu became the first Chinese company to publicly release its own LLM and chatbot: Ernie Bot. The company reached a million users in the first 19 hours following the announcement.
The Ernie Bot large language model is designed like a bot that serves as an artificial friend or virtual assistant. It provides suggestions and prompts when asked and also has a discovery page and gamification features. The bot can be accessed via a mobile app.
Baidu developed the bot to not just be a tool for business but as an emotional support agent. There are some presets for characters for Ernie that influence how it responds to questions. An MIT Review article notes that Ernie Bot’s most-used character was that of an elderly caring sister who gives emotional responses and tries to bond with the user.
There are some positive use cases that can come out of this. Telehealth and virtual therapy are a couple of examples of this. However, using bots to replace real relationships might not be the healthiest use case and could contribute to the loneliness epidemic.
In March, when Baidu announced Ernie Bot, it also mentioned the Enterprise Edition. In the first two hours following the press conference, more than 30,000 enterprise users applied for access to the API of Ernie Bot’s Enterprise Edition.