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Many aspects of artificial intelligence – the technique of training a machine to learn in a way which resembles a human being – may not be entirely new, but with the increasing availability of relatively cheap and flexible computing power, the technology is becoming far more accessible. A number of tech companies and vendors are now offering APIs and frameworks that allow businesses to create their own intelligence services.
Ocado is using a combination of Google’s open source TensorFlow machine learning tools and cloud APIs to support internal AI projects. One such initiative focuses on automating management of the deluge of customer service-related emails the company receives.
Ocado is also building a computer vision system in an effort to replace bar code scanning in its warehouses. The machine learning project is still in development but Daniel Nelson, head of data at Ocado’s technology division, told Computerworld UK that they hope the technology will help both within its warehouse and delivery processes. Ocado is also using Google’s open sourced TensorFlow deep-learning library for everything from routing algorithms for its robots to move around warehouses, to improving its existing features like demand forecasting, which is currently based on decade-old linear regression models, and predictively suggesting items to add to your basket depending on past shopping habits.
Every few months it seems another study warns that a big slice of the workforce is about to lose their jobs because of artificial intelligence. Four years ago, an Oxford University study predicted 47% of jobs could be automated by 2033. Even the near-term outlook has been quite negative: A 2016 report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said 9% of jobs in the 21 countries that make up its membership could be automated. And in January 2017, McKinsey’s research arm estimated AI-driven job losses at 5%. My own firm released a survey recently of 835 large companies (with an average revenue of $20 billion) that predict a net job loss of between 4% and 7% in key business functions by the year 2020 due to AI.
We know that artificial intelligence will soon reshape our world. But which companies will lead the way? To help answer that question, research firm CB Insights recently selected the “AI 100,” a list of the 100 most promising artificial intelligence startups globally. The private companies were chosen (from a pool of over 1,650 candidates) by CB Insights’ Mosaic algorithm, based on factors like financing history, investor quality, business category, and momentum
A confluence of developments is driving this new wave of AI development. Computer power is growing, algorithms and AI models are becoming more sophisticated, and, perhaps most important of all, the world is generating once-unimaginable volumes of the fuel that powers AI—data. Billions of gigabytes every day, collected by networked devices ranging from web browsers to turbine sensors.
The entrepreneurial activity unleashed by these developments drew three times as much investment in 2016—between $26 billion and $39 billion—as it did three years earlier. Most of the investment in AI consists of internal R&D spending by large, cash-rich digital-native companies like Amazon, Baidu, and Google.
For developing a photographic memory
For embedding Watson where it’s needed most
For accelerating mobile search with artificial intelligence
For giving digital services the power of human speech
- ZEBRA MEDICAL VISION
For using deep learning to predict and prevent disease
For making masterpieces out of snapshots
- IRIS AI
For speeding up scientific research by surfacing relevant data
For serving up a universe of relevant pins to each and every user
For helping startups make their mark without any legal confusion
- DESCARTES LABS
For preventing food shortages by predicting crop yields