Happy Sunday and welcome to InsideAI! I'm Rob May, a Partner at PJC, investing in AI and Robotics. I also run the "Investing in AI" podcast, which you should check out if you want to learn more about how AI can change business fundamentals. Before we get into this week's commentary, let's look at the most popular stories from our daily newsletter.
DeepMind, Alphabet's AI subsidiary, will release the most accurate and complete database of the 3D structures of nearly every protein in the human body, which could supercharge drug discovery, new medicines, and more. The AlphaFold Protein Structure Database, developed using DeepMind’s AlphaFold 2 AI system, can improve our understanding of how proteins function. Last year, DeepMind said it developed the “AlphaFold" AI software, which can predict what structure proteins will "fold" into in only days. How proteins fold dictates nearly every biochemical reaction in the body, and knowing their shape helps researchers determine what they do and how effective certain drugs could be, for example. Deepmind's AIphafold was trained on ~170,000 proteins and their structures. It scored, on average, 92.4 out of 100 for predicting protein structure.
Sam Altman's AI firm, OpenAI, has disbanded its AI robotics team to pursue other areas where data is more readily available. The company is shifting more toward AI services with “obvious and immediate business applications,” it said. During an episode of the Weights & Biases podcast, OpenAI co-founder Wojciech Zaremba confirmed that the robots team was dissolved due to a lack of training data.
Chatbot startup Woebot raised $90M to help it build out its AI technology, digital therapeutics, and workforce. The San Francisco-based company developed an AI relational agent for those seeking mental health help. Woebot, founded by University College Dublin graduate Alison Darcy in 2017, also has operations in Dublin. Its digital therapist relies on conversational AI software and natural language processing to discuss issues and form therapeutic bonds with users over time.