I’ve been reading a bit around AI lately. It started with this piece in the New York Times which focusses initiallyÂ on Google (in particular Google Translate) and then the extraordinary speed with which they’ve reorganised the entire company around AI. And then the ‘arms race’ to AI control in the industry:
Googleâ€™s decision to reorganize itself around A.I. was the first major manifestation of what has become an industrywide machine-learning delirium. Over the past four years, six companies in particular â€” Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and the Chinese firm Baidu â€” have touched off an arms race for A.I. talent, particularly within universities. Corporate promises of resources and freedom have thinned out top academic departments. It has become widely known in Silicon Valley that Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, personally oversees, with phone calls and video-chat blandishments, his companyâ€™s overtures to the most desirable graduate students. Starting salaries of seven figures are not unheard-of. Attendance at the fieldâ€™s most important academic conference has nearly quadrupled. What is at stake is not just one more piecemeal innovation but control over what very well could represent an entirely new computational platform: pervasive, ambient artificial intelligence.
It’s interesting reading, especially to see how the stories and timeframes are positioned:
- 9 months: what can AI do now (think better bots and Google Translate)
- 5 years: what it might do in the near future (think Google Brain)
- 70 years: history and how it will work globally (think Deep Learning)
As the NYT article notes:
The most important thing happening in Silicon Valley right now is not disruption. Rather, itâ€™s institution-building â€” and the consolidation of power â€” on a scale and at a pace that are both probably unprecedented in human history.
Once you’ve read the NYT article, take a read through these two posts from WaitButWhy almost two years ago – they seem as prescient and fresh now as they would have been then:
BTW Ian and I chat about Artificial Intelligence as it relates to marketing in episode 64 of HubShots.