Image by Ben Miller; Wikpedia
Trend One: The investment and acquisition binge in AI continues. Intel has invested heavily in Nervana, which has been “working to bring machine learning all the way into the silicon, rather than simply making software that can run on top of anyone’s cluster of graphics chips,” reports Recode. Meanwhile, Apple has purchased Turi Inc., which offers a software platform that allows other companies to create machine-learning applications. The Wall Street Journal reports, “Factoring in smaller acquirers, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP counts 29 related acquisitions so far this year, suggesting the total deal count for 2016 will top the 37 deals announced last year.”
Trend Two: The investment binge includes serious venture capital. Amid uncertainties in the VC world, one area stands out as drawing greater amounts of funding since the fourth quarter of last year: AI. The organizations drawing the top deals in this area are Cylance, Anki and MOOGsoft. According to CB Insights, as of June 15 of this year, over 200 AI venture financing deals have been completed, totaling $1.5B in dollar volume.
Trend Three: Investments and research are paying off, as we get better at making computers that mimic the fundamental ways our brains work. In 2010, the collaborative Human Brain Project was launched with the goal of gaining a deeper understanding of the human brain. One method of achieving that is to build a brain simulation with computers. Recently, IBM had a breakthrough in this area, reportedly imitating large collections of neurons for the first time. “The breakthrough marks a significant step forward in the development of energy-efficient, ultra-dense integrated neuromorphic technologies for applications in cognitive computing,” the scientists stated.
Trend Four: Another area of AI progress is in information security. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, sponsored a contest to see how well AI can locate the security and design flaws that black-hat hackers use to access computer networks and steal data. The competition was won by “Mayhem,” built by a Carnegie Mellon University. How does Mayhem work? By prioritizing paths of attack. “For example, we have found that if a programmer makes a mistake—not necessarily exploitable—along a path, then it makes sense to prioritize further exploration of the path since it is more likely to eventually lead to an exploitable condition,” wrote the authors of a paper that lays out the basics of their approach.
Trend Five: AI is also beginning to transform the fintech industry. It’s being used for a variety of purposes, such as tracking account activity, improving investment strategies, and providing customer service.
Trend Six: As progress is made, some experts are seeking to mitigate the risks of AI. As more dollars are being pumped into AI, both by the private and public sectors, some experts are focusing on the possibility of “rogue” AIs. OpenAI is a non-profit AI research company that is “looking at actively tracking negative developments in AI, or AI falling into the wrong hands,” according to Futurism. Meanwhile, Google has been developing a technology designed to interrupt reinforcement learning of AI agents.
BY MARK VICKERS
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