Like a lot of people, I am working to become more fluent with AI this year. This has included working to self-host LLMs, reading the odd research paper, and trying to keep up with the news to ensure that I am up to date on the state of the art.

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It’s not been nearly enough given the sheer pace at which AI models, and the tools and services that they underpin, are developing. But we must do what we can. So, when Quora announced this morning that it had raised $75 million at a $500 million valuation to support its AI-related work, I was intrigued.

Quora has been around for an age, and I use it occasionally when hunting for a specific, niche bit of information. It turns out, however, that I am quite far behind on what the company has been building lately.

So, what is Quora today? The company’s question-and-answer product still exists and includes a consumer subscription offering. And then there’s Poe, which Quora launched back in early 2023. At the time, TechCrunch reported that the service was going to sit apart from the rest of Quora:

The company explained it decided to launch Poe as a standalone product that’s independent of Quora itself because of how quickly AI developments and changes are now taking place. However, there will be some connections between the Q&A site and Poe. If and when Poe’s content meets a high enough quality standard, it will be distributed on Quora’s site itself, where it has the ability to reach Quora’s 400 million monthly visitors.

Later in 2023, Quora made it possible for users to create their own chatbots using Poe and make money from them. Poe has a paid tier, which costs $20 per month, with discounts for subscribers that pre-pay for a year’s service. If a user’s chatbot helps drive a conversion, they get a cut of the resulting revenue. The rules behind the payouts seem fair enough.

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