November 8, 2017
Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, who invest millions in attracting and retaining scarce talent, are looking for automated ways to deal with a shortage of AI experts. In that search, they are developing intelligent machines that can replicate themselves to perform tasks of varying complexity. This out-of-the-box approach to the shortage of talent is a positive step for millions of businesses around the world that will benefit from the democratization of advanced technologies.
About 10,000 people across the world have the education, experience, and talent needed to build complex, mathematical algorithms that are key to building AI-based technology. No more than a few thousand companies have the right talent for building AI, but many more have the necessary data.
The shortage of talents is leading to concerns about the ability of smaller incumbents to make any headway into the monopoly created by big firms.
Companies are investing heavily in AI technology research & development that can circumvent the difficulty of building AI products that are meant to do smaller tasks (image/speech recognition tools, online chatbots).
Alongside the offerings from bigger firms, boutique firms offer customizable versions of these technologies that allow small enterprises to adopt AI-powered tools.
Researchers at these firms are also working on AI systems that reduce dependence on human labor. Google’s AutoML is targeted at producing computer algorithms that are programmed to run certain tasks based on data analyses that don’t require human intervention. Google’s AutoML will put this complex technology into the hands of businesses without extensive expertise in AI. This project by Google will help companies build systems with AI even if they don’t have extensive expertise.
Driverless AI really is able to create and train good ML models without requiring ML expertise from users.
Not only do tech corporations fund their own initiatives but they also partner with other tech companies to democratize AI/ML. While the monopoly theme will inevitably come up at some point in the future, at the moment, those initiatives define the future of business efficiency and innovation adoption opportunities across industries and businesses of a great variety of sizes.
Microsoft and AWS have collaborated to democratize deep learning and AI. Gluon is a joint effort between Microsoft Research and Amazon AI and is intended to make developing solutions using ML easier and quicker.
Gluon is an open-source deep learning and neural network solution that is exposed through a Python-based API. It comes with prebuilt neural network components that can be created on the fly and used to train algorithms making it easier to define, debug, iterate and reuse components.
Gluon improves computational efficiency by providing a mechanism to schedule and automatically distribute models across multiple GPUs. The specifications for Gluon have been published to allow developers and organizations using other deep learning frameworks to take advantage of it.
Google is not currently part of the group supporting Gluon, so there is no timeframe for support of TensorFlow, the AI framework that Google open-sourced in 2015.
This is the second time that Amazon and Microsoft have announced a collaboration on AI. In August, they spoke on the support being built into their own digital assistants to be able to work with each other. With this collaboration, Microsoft’s Cortana can leverage the retail knowledge of Amazon’s Alexa, whilst Alexa is able to leverage the productivity features of Cortana.