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Social Playground

As the SEC battles Coinbase, Hollywood goes on strike against AI.

3 min read
Social Playground
kids working on laptops on a playground
Before Growth is a weekly column about startups and their builders prior to product–market fit.

SEC v. Coinbase

Starting off this week with a fascinating development in the SEC vs. Coinbase case. Thursday’s pre–motion conference transcript reveals the judge leaning towards Coinbase’s perspective. She contends that if SEC approved Coinbase’s S1, that essentially implied a green light for their business model. It’s an intriguing case to watch, more so when viewed alongside FTC’s failed effort to halt Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition. Clearly, the SEC believes that the era of regulatory sandboxes for the tech sector has come to an end but this raises questions about the feasibility of the aggressive measures undertaken by both agencies in the judicial arena.

Can ChatGPT help you write? Sometimes.

Moving on to research: ChatGPT is reported to accelerate task completion,like drafting press releases or reports, by 40% and to improve the quality of the output by 18%. In my personal experience, this checks out but the results are less stellar for creative writing—likely to slow you down by 18% and drop quality by 40% or more. But for mundane tasks? ChatGPT is a game changer.

Stable Diffusion XL

Stable Diffusion XL is now available for free on Playground AI.

I took it for a spin and was impressed with the image quality—as you can see above, a noticeable upgrade from previous models.

Hollywood on strike

Historically, the Hollywood actors’ union has declared a strike. This is a milestone event, as it’s the first instance in over six decades that both actors and writers have joined forces to strike. The studio’s A.I. proposition entailed using a background actor’s likeness indefinitely, in any form, for a single day’s pay, without any further compensation or consent—arguably, an unfair deal.

The strike draws attention to the dual paths generative AI is currently treading. While LLMs appear more practical, with businesses incorporating them into their apps, it’s worth considering the realism of expecting an algorithm like ChatGPT to write a script instead of a human. On the other hand, while image–based networks seem to have limited business applications, the prospect of the first 100% AI–generated celebrities emerging online isn’t too far–fetched.

Bubble? Again?

This week, CEO Dave Rogenmoser announced on LinkedIn that Jasper AI, a company selling software that harnesses OpenAI’s GPT for text creation and editing in businesses, has made significant staff reductions. Similarly, last month, Mutiny, another AI–driven company that offers software to enhance and personalize website text, laid off about 30% of its workforce. Generative AI startups were supposed to be immune to the ongoing tech recession, but perhaps nobody’s safe.

Twitter, Threads, Bluesky

Social media is once again becoming a hot topic. Twitter has launched a creator ads revenue sharing program, leading to mixed reactions from the usual suspects. Twitter’s strategy to draw in creators is sensible given that Elon Musk revealed Twitter’s negative cash flow due to a 50% dip in ad revenue. Theoretically, luring creators could attract advertisers, but trust issues remain Twitter’s major stumbling block. Who knows if the program will still be around in six months, apart from Elon himself, on the day he makes the decision to discontinue it?

Meanwhile, Meta’s Threads reported 70 billion impressions, 450 million posts and 4.5 billion likes, but the daily active users and user–engagement time have dropped significantly soon after launch. As an EU resident where Threads is inaccessible, I’m open to its success because of my reservations about Twitter’s recent decisions. However, unlike some, I remain skeptical about Meta’s clone—something just doesn’t sit right. It leveraged Instagram’s social graph to sidestep the cold start problem, but it’s hard to imagine Instagram’s visually–oriented influencers becoming skilled conversationalists any time soon, especially when the platform might limit controversial content’s visibility. What’s the allure of reading extensive text if it’s not even provocative?

And while this drama unfolds, Bluesky is grappling with moderation issues. In my view, they’re behind.

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Kamil Nicieja

I guess you can call me an optimist. I build products for fun—I’m a startup founder, author, and software engineer who’s worked with tech companies around the world.

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