AI News, BOOK REVIEW: How Fast Is AI Progressing? Stanford’s New Report Card for Artificial Intelligence

How Fast Is AI Progressing? Stanford’s New Report Card for Artificial Intelligence

The scientists at the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence in 1956 thought that perhaps two months would be enough to make “significant advances” in a whole range of complex problems, including computers that can understand language, improve themselves, and even understand abstract concepts.

The results are what you might expect: tenfold increases in academic activity since 1996, an explosive growth in startups focused around AI, and corresponding venture capital investment.

The index also keeps track of the sentiment of news articles that mention AI: surprisingly, given concerns about the apocalypse and an employment crisis, those considered “positive” outweigh the “negative” by three to one.

No one would dispute the fact that we’re in an age of considerable AI hype, but the progress of AI is littered by booms and busts in hype, growth spurts that alternate with AI winters.

We can note the specialized performance of algorithms on tasks previously reserved for humans—for example, the index cites a Nature paper that shows AI can now predict skin cancer with more accuracy than dermatologists.

Progress in AI over the next few years is far more likely to resemble a gradual rising tide—as more and more tasks can be turned into algorithms and accomplished by software—rather than the tsunami of a sudden intelligence explosion or general intelligence breakthrough.

Michael Woodridge, head of Computer Science at the University of Oxford, notes, “The main reason general AI is not captured in the report is that neither I nor anyone else would know how to measure progress.” He is concerned about another AI winter, and overhyped “charlatans and snake-oil salesmen” exaggerating the progress that has been made.

Barbra Grosz of Harvard champions this view, saying, “It is important to take on the challenge of identifying success measures for AI systems by their impact on people’s lives.” For those concerned about the AI employment apocalypse, tracking the use of AI in the fields considered most vulnerable (say, self-driving cars replacing taxi drivers) would be a good idea.

Progress in AI isn’t as Impressive as You Might Think

With so much excitement about progress in artificial intelligence, you may wonder why intelligent machines aren’t already running our lives.

“But it’s also clear we are a long way from artificial general intelligence.” Brynjolfsson points to remarkable advances in image classification and voice recognition.

The report uses several metrics to measure the current AI boom, including growth in job postings related to AI, the rise of AI-focused startups, and the number of contributors to major open-source AI projects.

If machines aren’t nearly as intelligent as we’d often like to believe, it’s natural to wonder what that might mean for the tech industry that’s betting so heavily on AI today.

“The question that this report raises for me is whether this bubble will burst, [like] the dot-com boom of 1996-2001, or gently deflate, and when this happens, what will be left behind?” Regardless of when artificial general intelligence might or might not arrive, that seems like a good question to ask.

AI Weekly: Inaugural AI Index report tracks industry progress and shortcomings

One of my favorite sayings in the startup world is “Innovation happens at the edges.” In AI, on one end of the spectrum, billions in investments and acquisitions are pouring in from giants like Nvidia, Google, and Microsoft.

Outlook, Excel, and Word will all benefit, with new features rolling out to a limited set of users in the coming months and then expanding […] Read the full story Google Brain cofounder Andrew Ng unveils to bring intelligence to manufacturing AI technology has the potential to transform all manner of industries around the globe, and one of the field’s luminaries today unveiled a new startup he’s working on to bring intelligence to manufacturing.

Google slashes prices for its machine learning service as AWS steps up competition Google has massively cut prices for its managed cloud machine learning service just two weeks after AWS released a competing offering at its re:Invent user conference.

For example, customers using basic-tier compute for training a machine learning system will pay […] Read the full story Microsoft commits $50 million more to its AI for Earth program Microsoft has announced an expansion to its AI for Earth program, committing an additional $50 million to organizations that are working to solve the climate change crisis.

At the time, Microsoft said it was putting $2 million into the program, in addition to […] Read the full story Amazon’s limited Echo expansion hints at Alexa localization plans Amazon dropped something of a curveball on Friday when it announced that its voice-enabled Amazon Echo smart speakers are now officially available to purchase in more than 80 new markets around the world.

However, there was a major caveat […] Read the full story Affectiva CEO: AI needs emotional intelligence to facilitate human-robot interaction Affectiva, one in a series of companies to come out of MIT’s Media Lab whose work revolves around affective computing, used to be best known for sensing emotion in videos.

In addition to Affectiva, Media Lab nurtured Koko, a bot that detects words […] Read the full story AI is now so complex its creators can’t trust why it makes decisions Artificial intelligence is seeping into every nook and cranny of modern life.

On Monday, Google released a tool called DeepVariant that uses deep learning—the machine learning technique that now dominates AI—to identify all the mutations that an individual inherits from their parents. (via Wired) Read the full story Meet your new boss: An algorithm Uber Technologies Inc.

Companies say the new tools make them more efficient and give employees more opportunities to do new kinds of work. (via Wall Street Journal) Read the full story Microsoft has set up an internal AI University to try and get around the skills shortage Microsoft has set up an internal “AI University”

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