Posted In:

GPT-3, Machine Learning

GPT-3 & Friends


Jul 25, 2020


Posted In:

GPT-3, Machine Learning


Jul 25, 2020



Imagine a technology that could automatically generate code for you, come up with your viral tweets, and perhaps write this newsletter... well it’s here.

Machine learning got a massive upgrade this week - the awaited launch of GPT-3 (or Generative Pre-training Transformer 3rd generation). GPT-3, not to be confused with C-3PO of Star Wars fame, is a sophisticated language model that can take inputs like “create a webpage” or “list the Fortune 100 companies in a table” and the result is simply a webpage or a perfectly populated excel table. The artificial intelligence model can perform these tasks with high precision since it effectively ingests all of the text available on the Internet.

Under the hood, it uses language models that statistically predict what the next set of words in a sentence should be, based on the first set of words given. The new model has ingested half a trillion words and is set on 175 billion parameters, the latter of which allows the model to contextually identify if a piece of text is non-fiction or fantasy, health or sports, a pitcher or an outfielder. The latest model has 10x more parameters than its predecessors (and friends) like GPT-2, set on 1.5 billion parameters, or Turing NLG, 17 billion, or BERT, a measly 340 million.

When adequately primed by a human, it can write creative fiction, generate functioning code, compose proprietary music, and much more. In terms of its implications for the financial world, the technology can be used for sentiment analysis, transaction data collection and visualization (it may plot pretty charts!), mundane contract write-ups and analysis, financial advice generation, and crypto quant strategies.

Although we are a while from artificial intelligence technologies taking over our newsletter - we know for certain that GPT-3 and friends will be giving us a hand sooner than later (well, maybe not BERT)...

Portfolio News

Podcast conversation: The future of DeFi with MakerDAO and Lucas Vogelsang, CEO of Centrifuge - Lucas Vogelsang, CEO of Portfolio Company, Centrifuge, joins the Fintech Blueprint podcast to help define the defining characteristics of DeFi, and talks about the convergence of DeFi and traditional financial assets and rails. Read more

Investors say these 38 fintech companies are the next generation of breakout B2B stars - Congratulations to portfolio company Ocrolus, which was featured in Business Insider's list of breakout B2B stars. While responses were wide-ranging, a central theme was automation, with a focus on fintech startups that help businesses streamline processes like data management and payments. Read more

GPT-3 & Friends

OpenAI’s massive GPT-3 model is impressive, but size isn’t everything - At 175b parameters it’s the largest of its kind. And with a memory size exceeding 350GB, it’s one of the priciest, costing an estimated $12m to train. Fortunately for competitors, experts believe that while GPT-3 and similarly large systems are impressive with respect to their performance, they don’t move the ball forward on the research side of the equation. Rather, they’re prestige projects that simply demonstrate the scalability of existing techniques. Read more

Why everyone is talking about the A.I. text generator released by an Elon Musk-backed lab - Social media is awash with people talking about a new piece of software called GPT-3, which is a language-generation tool capable of producing human-like text on demand. The software learned how to produce text by analyzing vast quantities on the internet and observing which letters and words tend to follow one another. Read more

Did a person write this headline, or a machine? GPT-3 went viral among entrepreneurs and investors, who excitedly took to Twitter to share and discuss results from prodding GPT-3 to generate memes, poems, tweets, and guitar tabs. Read more

Industry News

Fintech acquisitions show sector strength despite Covid-19 - While the crisis may be causing a down round in terms of new funding in the space, it doesn’t seem to be slowing down mergers and acquisitions. The epidemic may not even register as a blip to future analysts of fintech M&A. Read more

US regulator aims to cut the red tape with payments charters - Brian Brooks, the erstwhile chief legal officer at Coinbase is now the acting head of the US’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which regulates the country’s banks at federal level. Extending the OCC’s reach to fintech regulation has been high on his agenda. He intends to unveil a national payments charter as soon as the autumn. Read more

A financial whodunnit with momentous investment implications for the young and old - The FT explores the fascinating recent paper “The Murder-Suicide of the Rentier” which tries to untangle why risk-free interest rates have collapsed during the past couple of decades, and finds an answer with important implications for investors both young and old. Read more

Goldman says pandemic is giving a boost to digital banking - GS suggests that more than a quarter of customers don’t plan to return to branch offices even after it is safe to do so. Read more

New York bolsters fintech leadership role amid pandemic - The state’s Department of Financial Services is working on three fintech and virtual currency initiatives designed to promote collaborative efforts by regulators and financial technology firms. Read more

Fintech Powerhouse Nubank Buys U.S. Software Firm Cognitect - Nubank bought Durham, North Carolina-based Cognitect commenting that “At our current scale, there’s so much at stake that we thought we needed a different level of access to one of our most important technology partners.” Read more

Retailer Unicomer launches fintech credit, QR payments play - Unicomer Group is rolling out a fintech service, offering QR payments and point of sale credits, and aims to scale it across more than 20 Latin American markets. Read more

Ribbit Capital plans $600m SPAC to target fintech businesses - The plans are coming together as a host of other venture capital firms consider forming SPACs or pushing their start-ups into deals with the shell companies, which have historically suffered from a lack of transparency and associations with short-term investors, such as hedge funds. Read more

Affirm partners with Shopify to exclusively power Shop Pay Installments in the U.S. - At checkout, approved Shop Pay customers will be able to split their total purchase amount into four equal, bi-weekly, interest-free payments. True to Affirm’s long-standing commitment to never charge late or hidden fees, customers will not be charged any additional fees. Read more

Big banks look to the cloud to accelerate digital shift - After years of foot-dragging, many big banks have finally started to outsource their storage of data and high-intensity computing power demand. This week, AWS struck a big new deal with HSBC while Google announced partnerships with Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank. Read more

Ant Group plans dual IPOs in Shanghai, Hong Kong, bypassing New York - Ant is aiming for a market valuation exceeding $200b and hoping to list later this year. Read more

Ethereum starts its DeFi moon shot - The current DeFi movement is just the beginning of this wave of killer financial apps. As Ethereum powers this ecosystem it will appreciate dramatically as users scramble for the Ethereum “‘gas” to play at the table. Read more

Stripe partners with Notarize to keep notaries working from home - Online notary platform Notarize integrates with Stripe Connect to give notaries tools to service some of the largest lenders, title companies, and financial institutions. Read more

YES Bank deploys AI robot to interact with customers on WhatsApp - India's YES bank offers over 60 financial products through the messaging app using a chatbot interface. The bot uses Microsoft's natural language processing engine Luis to make banking simple. Read more

Select Financings

Angle Health - San Francisco based health insurance carrier raised $4m in Seed funding led by Blumberg Capital to advance its tech platform. Read more

Branch - Columbus, Ohio based home and auto insurance startup raised $24m in Series A funding led by Greycroft and HSCM Bermuda. Read more

Hippo - Palo Alto based home insurance startup raised $150m in Series E funding at a $1.5 billion valuation led by Dragoneer and Ribbit Capital. Read more

Meemo - San Francisco based social finance app raised $10m in Seed funding led by Saama Capital, Greycroft, Monashees and Sierra Ventures. Read more

Plum - London and Athens based consumer savings app raised $10m in Series B funding led by Japan’s Global Brain and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Read more

Revolut - London based digital banking company raised an additional $80m to extend its Series D to $580m led by TCV. Read more

Scalable Capital - Munich based retail investment platform raised €50m in Series D funding from BlackRock, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures and Tengelmann Ventures. Read more

Selina Finance - London based alternative lender which provides credit to business borrowers raised £12m in Series A funding led by GFC and Picus Capital. Read more


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