A letter from our CEO

byon May 10, 2023

After the end of WWII and the invention of the atomic bomb during the Manhattan Project, J. Robert Oppenheimer gave an important speech reflecting on the technology he had just built, and in particular, the quantum and irrevocable impact it had on the nature of war:

“It is clear to me that wars have changed.

It is clear to me that if these first bombs—the bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki—that if these can destroy ten square miles, then that is really quite something.

It is clear to me that they are going to be very cheap if anyone wants to make them.

It is clear to me that this is a situation where a quantitative change, and a change in which the advantage of aggression compared to defense—of attack compared to defense—is shifted, where this quantitative change has all the character of a change in quality, of a change in the nature of the world.

These words have great relevance today with AI. We are in the midst of the next great sea change in the nature of war, and thus, the nature of the world.

We live in uncertain times. Geopolitical risk is at a 20-year high since the Ukraine war. The United States is facing near-peer competitors in China and Russia for the first time since the end of the Soviet Union. There is a global battle for ideologies between Western democracy and authoritarian regimes.

All at once, the advent of AI has upended the world. It’s a paradigm shift that has granted new superpowers and anything seems possible—with potentially greater implications on the future of our world than even the internet.

As someone who has been building in the AI ecosystem for more than seven years now, it’s exciting to see this technology finally reach its watershed moment. But at the same time, this technology will exacerbate the uncertainty of our times. AI has the potential to unseat incumbents, catapult new leaders, or solidify existing moats. Navigating this new landscape is an existential matter—for many organizations, for our nation, and for democracy.

The United States, and the democratic world broadly, is confronted with two very real challenges.

First, as I’ve discussed previously, I believe the next era of war and deterrence will be defined by AI. We must ensure the strength of democracy in our AI war against authoritarianism by building the most effective military implementations of AI.

Second, a show of force is necessary, but not sufficient. At the end of the day, the strength of democracy has, and always will, stem from a stronger and faster-growing economy. That’s why it is critical that we also bolster our global industries and enterprises with best-in-class capabilities.

The new Scale Donovan and Scale EGP platforms are our answer to these critical challenges—to empower the U.S. government and enterprises, respectively.

Donovan — Ammunition in the AI War

AI will define the next era of war and deterrence, just as the atomic bomb did for the last era. The only solution to the AI War is to accelerate our own military implementations and rapidly integrate AI into warfighting. That's why we've funded our own R&D to build Donovan—and achieve AI overmatch.

Scale Donovan is an AI-powered decision-making platform to help operators understand, plan, and act in minutes instead of weeks. Donovan ingests and understands vast amounts of structured and unstructured data to enable operators and analysts to make sense of any aspect of the real world in minutes using simple natural language. Donovan combines these insights with Scale’s proprietary and state-of-the-art models to generate summary reports, COAs, and more to force-multiply staff bandwidth and achieve mission success.

As a longtime leader in AI, I am proud to be delivering this world-changing capability to the United States government with Donovan - the first LLM deployed on a classified network for the XVIII Airborne Corps - ingesting over 100,000 pages of live data to enable actionable insights across the battlefield. The sheer volume of inputs from various formats is a key challenge facing analysts and operators across the federal space. We cannot let the proliferation of information and manual processing be our Achilles heel.

EGP — Unlocking Generative AI for Enterprises

Scale Enterprise Generative AI Platform (EGP) is a full-stack solution for any company looking to deploy Generative AI applications in production. We are helping our customers - like Koch Enterprises - move rapidly from just experimenting with this technology to actually capturing business value from it, through a secure, enterprise-grade platform that is model-agnostic and powered by the industry's leading data engine

While Generative AI has captured the imagination of consumers, there are substantial safety, security, and performance challenges when it comes to business use cases. EGP allows customers to develop and deploy Generative AI applications within Scale’s infrastructure or in their own virtual private cloud (VPC), so proprietary data never has to leave customers’ environments. Scale is the only provider delivering Generative AI applications in their own environment, coupled with industry-leading capabilities like Reinforcement Learning with Human Feedback (RLHF) and red-teaming to ensure that model outputs are aligned with customers’ policies and brand.

Further, EGP powers AI applications across industries. Think copilots for financial advisors to draw upon a much broader range of information when they are educating their clients, or tools for creatives to generate infinitely customizable images and copy, or a chat advisor to guide customers seeking information about retail products. These applications are only the tip of the iceberg - with EGP, companies are empowered to build and develop their own highly specific use cases. By bringing together Generative AI models with their own proprietary data, businesses can unlock new channels for growth and provide instant insights for better, faster decision-making. 

Looking Ahead

Right now, we’re seeing a lot of AI tourists pretending to be AI natives, taking companies for a ride while they’re at their most vulnerable. They’re not selling solutions, they’re selling vaporware. Everywhere you look, you’ll see non-AI companies rebranding and selling technology that they only began to study yesterday. They barely have the knowledge internally to build the products they’re selling, and they sure as hell don’t have the expertise required to help customers build and implement a long-term, defensible AI strategy.

It’s a problem that I care deeply about because the last thing the AI industry needs is more hype. And companies that are claiming AI expertise who haven’t spent years in the trenches have the potential to do more harm than good. 

The reality is that it takes a lot of hard work to go from experiment to enterprise. Foundation models aren’t like a typical consumer software product that works out-of-the-box. From explainability and auditability to PII and proprietary data, there are several critical challenges businesses must address to make AI a reality. There is no established roadmap to follow, which is why only 21% of enterprises actually have AI models in production. In the federal government, only 14% of executives believe they are “very” ready for AI. 

It's clear that governments and businesses need a partner that provides battle-tested tools and expertise to harness Generative AI in a way that’s trusted, secure and moves at the speed of the world around us today. Our new Scale EGP and Scale Donovan platforms were built to solve this problem.

The future of our world hangs in the balance of the current moment. AI has the potential to strengthen global democracies and democratic economies—or be the decisive implement that enables authoritarianism to take over.

We choose to take action—in light of all that is at stake—and build.


The future of your industry starts here.