ai-one and the Machine Intelligence Landscape

In the sensationally titled Forbes post, Tech 2015: Deep Learning And Machine Intelligence Will Eat The World, author Anthony Wing Kosner surveys the impact of deep learning technology in 2015. This is nothing new for those in the field of AI. His post reflects the recent increase in coverage artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and companies are getting in business and mainstream media. As a core technology vendor in AI for over ten years, it’s a welcome change in perspective and attitude.

We are pleased to see ai-one correctly positioned as a core technology vendor in the Machine Intelligence Landscape chart featured in the article. The chart, created by Shivon Zilis, investor at BloombergBETA, is well done and should be incorporated into the research of anyone seriously tracking this space.

Especially significant is Zilis’ focus on “companies that will change the world of work” since these are companies applying AI technologies to innovation and productivity challenges across the public and private sectors. The resulting solutions will provide real value through the combination of domain expertise (experts and data) and innovative application development.

This investment thesis is supported by the work of Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee in their book “The Second Machine Age”, a thorough discussion of value creation (and disruption) by the forces of innovation that is digital, exponential and combinatorial. The impact of these technologies will change the economics of every industry over years if not decades to come. Progress and returns will be uneven in their impact on industry, regional and demographic sectors. While deep learning is early in Gartner’s Hype Cycle, it is clear that the market value of machine learning companies and data science talent are climbing fast.

This need for data scientists is growing but the business impact of AI may be limited in the near future by the lack of traditional developers who can apply them. Jeff Hawkins of Numenta has spoken out on this issue and we agree. It is a fundamentally different way to create an application for “ordinary humans” and until the “killer app” Hawkin’s speaks about is created, it will be hard to attract enough developers to invest time learning new AI tools. As the chart shows, there are many technologies competing for their time. Developers can’t build applications with buzzwords and one size fits all APIs or collections of open source algorithms. Technology vendors have a lot of work to do in this respect.

Returning to Kosner’s post, what exactly is deep learning and how is it different from machine learning/artificial intelligence? According to Wikipedia,

Deep learning is a class of machine learning training algorithms that use many layers of nonlinear processing units for feature extraction and transformation. The algorithms may be supervised or unsupervised and applications include pattern recognition and statistical classification.

  • are based on the (unsupervised) learning of multiple levels of features or representations of the data. Higher level features are derived from lower level features to form a hierarchical representation.
  • are part of the broader machine learning field of learning representations of data.
  • learn multiple levels of representations that correspond to different levels of abstraction; the levels form a hierarchy of concepts.
  • form a new field with the goal of moving toward artificial intelligence. The different levels of representation help make sense of data such as images, sounds and texts.

These definitions have in common (1) multiple layers of nonlinear processing units and (2) the supervised or unsupervised learning of feature representations in each layer, with the layers forming a hierarchy from low-level to high-level features.

While in the 4th bullet this is termed a new field moving toward artificial intelligence, it is generally considered to be part of the larger field of AI already. Deep learning and machine intelligence is not the same as human intelligence. Artificial intelligence in this definition above and in the popular press usually refers to Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). AGI and the next evolution, Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI) are the forms of AI that Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk are worried about.

This is powerful stuff no question, but as an investor, user or application developer in 2015 look for the right combination of technology, data, domain expertise, and application talent applied to a compelling (valuable) problem in order to create a disruptive innovation (value). This is where the money is over the new five years and this is our focus at ai-one.


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