Mistral AI, a French artificial intelligence (AI) startup, has recently made waves in the tech world by raising €385 million ($414 million), positioning it as a leading force in the European Union’s (EU’s) AI industry.
Known for creating AI models that are easy to use and improve, Mistral AI stands out for its focus on open-source AI. Its recent partnership with Google Cloud marks a major step in enhancing its AI capabilities. At the same time, Mistral AI is adapting to the new EU AI Act, which sets important rules for AI to ensure safety and innovation.
This article explores Mistral AI’s progress, its range of services, and how it’s adjusting to new industry regulations.
Mistral AI’s Rapid Growth and Fundraising Success
Since its inception in May, Mistral AI quickly raised €105 million ($113 million) by June. In the EU’s AI market, Mistral AI’s fundraising achievements are paralleled only by Germany’s Aleph Alpha, which raised close to €500 million ($538 million) earlier in November.
The latest investment round, led by Andreessen Horowitz from California, valued Mistral AI at €2 billion. This means Mistral AI is now considered a tech unicorn in France, a term for companies worth over one billion euros.
What Does Mistral AI Do?
Mistral AI is known for creating advanced AI models that everyone can use and improve on. By December 11, 2023, it had already started letting people use its inaugural platform services. Distinctively, Mistral AI champions the cause of open-source AI.
Mistral AI’s suite of AI services is diverse and tailored to meet various needs:
- Mistral-tiny: Great for English text, affordable and accurate.
- Mistral-small: Works in many languages, is good for coding, and has a few advanced features.
- Mistral-medium: The best service for handling different languages and coding tasks, known for excellent performance.
Designed with user-friendliness and efficiency in mind, Mistral AI’s tools aim to democratize AI technology, making it more accessible to a broader audience.
Mistral AI’s Collaboration with Google Cloud
Recently, Mistral AI also began working with Google Cloud. This partnership is important because it allows Mistral AI to use Google Cloud’s powerful technology, including special tools called TPU Accelerators.
By working with Google Cloud, Mistral AI gains access to high-level security and privacy, which is crucial for creating safe and user-friendly AI services. This partnership combines Mistral AI’s innovative ideas with Google Cloud’s technical strength, leading to potentially more advanced and efficient AI solutions.
Mistral AI’s decision to collaborate with Google Cloud follows its recent financial success and recognition as a leading tech company. This move strengthens Mistral AI’s technology and cements its position as a major player in the global AI field.
The EU AI Act and Its Impact on Mistral AI
The EU Council and Parliament have provisionally agreed on the EU AI Act. This act aims to ensure that AI systems in the EU are safe, respect people’s rights, and align with EU values. It is designed to promote investment and innovation in AI within the EU.
The primary goal of the EU AI Act is to regulate AI based on the risk it poses to society. The more potential harm an AI could cause, the stricter the regulations. This new approach is pioneering and may set a precedent for global AI regulation.
Changes in the New Agreement
The new agreement changes some things from the original proposal:
- It sets rules for powerful AI models that might cause significant risks in the future, as well as for AI systems that are already considered high-risk.
- There’s a new system in place to manage these rules, with some power to enforce them at the EU level.
- The list of things AI can’t do is longer, but police can still use AI to identify people from a distance in public places, as long as there are strict rules to protect people.
- There’s a stronger focus on protecting people’s rights. Before using high-risk AI systems, there’s a requirement to check how they might affect people’s fundamental rights.
Regulation of AI Systems
Under the EU AI Act, AI systems are categorized based on risk. Mistral AI, known for its open, generative AI models, will need to align its services with these classifications. AI that could be risky needs extra checks for safety and to respect people’s rights.
Mistral AI’s approach to open-source AI aligns well with the Act’s emphasis on transparency and data protection. The company will need to review its services to ensure they meet these new standards, especially the more advanced ones.
The Act establishes a new AI Office within the Commission to oversee advanced AI models, like those developed by Mistral AI. An AI Board, comprising representatives from EU countries, will also be formed to guide the implementation of these regulations. Mistral AI will need to work closely with these groups to stay compliant.
The Future of AI in the EU: Mistral AI’s Role
The EU AI Act presents both a challenge and an opportunity for Mistral AI. As the company adapts to the new regulations, it could set an example of balancing innovation with compliance. The Act’s encouragement of AI testing in real situations fits well with Mistral AI’s goal to make AI more available to everyone.
With the EU AI Act’s stringent regulations, Mistral AI might need to adjust its business strategies, especially when developing and deploying high-risk AI systems. This means following the new guidelines closely and maybe even changing some of their AI services to ensure they fully follow the regulations.
In summary, Mistral AI is in a significant position in the EU AI sector, especially after its recent financial achievements and recognition as a major tech player. The EU AI Act introduces strict rules for AI, focusing on safety and ethical standards. This presents a unique situation for Mistral AI, which now has to adjust its products, especially those considered high-risk, to comply with these new regulations.
Its commitment to open-source AI aligns well with the Act’s emphasis on transparency and user protection. Mistral AI’s response to these regulatory changes is important, as it could set a standard for AI development, not only in the EU but worldwide. The company’s ability to innovate while adhering to ethical guidelines will be key in shaping its future and influencing the broader AI industry.