AI investments soared in 2021, however large issues stay

Commentary: For all the cash and expertise being thrown at AI, we nonetheless haven’t solved a few of its most simple shortcomings.

Picture: iStock/Jolygon

The unreal intelligence wealthy positively acquired richer in 2021, in response to the 2022 Stanford AI Index report. Personal enterprise funding in AI exploded to $93.5 billion in 2021, greater than doubling the 2020 tally. At the same time as funding ranges have ballooned, the variety of corporations getting that cash has gone down. In 2019, enterprise capitalists funded 1,051 AI corporations. In 2020, that quantity dropped to 762, then plunged once more to 746 in 2021, at the same time as the dimensions of funding rounds skyrocketed for the fortunate few: In 2020 there have been simply 4 funding rounds that exceeded $500 million, however in 2021, that quantity climbed to fifteen.

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All of which can point out that the stakes for AI hold growing. If solely lets say the identical for the outcomes.

The AI gold rush

By various measures, curiosity in AI is off the charts. Take analysis and growth, for instance. In line with the report, the variety of AI patents filed in 2021 was 30X greater than in 2015, representing a 76.9% compound annual progress price. These patents, in flip, are serving to to gas a frenzy in enterprise funding of startups, as talked about above. Whereas such funding is widespread, the very best focus of funding is within the U.S. At $52.9 billion in 2021 funding, the US funds AI at greater than thrice the speed of the subsequent nation (China, $17.2 billion) and over 10 instances third place (United Kingdom, $4.6 billion).

Image: Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI) AI Index.
Picture: Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Synthetic Intelligence (HAI) AI Index.

Given how a lot cash is pouring into AI, it’s not shocking that corporations are feverishly in search of AI expertise. In line with the report, the share of job postings that point out a necessity for AI expertise was up throughout the globe, with essentially the most demand for machine studying expertise (0.6% of all job postings), adopted by synthetic intelligence (0.33%), neural networks (0.16%) and pure language processing (0.13%). What are the most popular sectors for AI? Within the U.S., the primary business for AI jobs is Data. Final place? Waste administration.

Picture: Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Synthetic Intelligence (HAI) AI Index.

On the identical time, extra individuals than ever earlier than are getting levels in associated fields to organize themselves for these jobs:

Picture: Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Synthetic Intelligence (HAI) AI Index.

In sum, there’s extra expertise chasing extra jobs in corporations getting extra money. But AI actuality can’t fairly sustain.

For instance, within the space of deep studying, AI professional Gary Marcus instructed that DL is “at its finest when all we want are rough-ready outcomes, the place stakes are low and excellent outcomes optionally available.” That’s helpful, but it surely’s not robots reasoning with normal intelligence like we generally think about AI needs to be delivering by now.

Ask the IEEE technical crowd, and so they surprise if AI is “reaching its limits.” Then there’s the heightened concern that for all its promise, we nonetheless haven’t tackled essentially the most primary questions on AI and built-in bias.

Small surprise, then, that on Gartner’s 2021 Hype Cycle for AI, most AI-related disciples are barreling up the Peak of Inflated Expectations, getting ready themselves for a droop into the Trough of Disillusionment. Only a small handful of issues—like Autonomous Automobiles—are readying to depart the Trough and, within the case of autonomous autos, it’s unclear that so-called self-driving vehicles are anyplace close to true self-driving. (As analyst Benedict Evans has written, “[V]ersion nine of ‘Full Self-Driving’ is shipping soon (in beta) and but is not going to in actual fact be full self-driving, or something near it.”

No, this doesn’t imply there’s no substance underlying the AI euphoria. Buyers are betting large on tomorrow’s potential, not at present’s actuality. That’s nice. However let’s not get forward of ourselves. As David Meyers has mentioned, “Too many companies now are pitching AI virtually as if it’s batteries included [which may] probably result in over-investment in issues that over-promise. Then after they under-deliver, it has a deflationary impact on individuals’s attitudes towards the house.” We shouldn’t dim our hopes in AI, however ought to mood near-term expectations.

Disclosure: I work for MongoDB, however the views expressed herein are mine alone.

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