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The State Of AI And Its Impact On The Startup Ecosystem A powerful push in innovation is creating excitement among venture capitalists

By Prabhjeet Bhatla

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The word artificial intelligence (AI) was coined in a proposal for a workshop called 2 months, 10-man study for AI on 31 August 1955.

Coursera co-founder and computer science professor at Stanford University, Dr. Andrew Ng finds the COVID-19 fallout is producing a wobbly seismic shift in how the world trades, and he believes much of it will be everlasting.

Market watchers like to follow trends because they are often a good indicator of what will happen next. The near future usually does look like the recent past, but not always. Sometimes we hit an inflection point and things veer sharply from the trend and that changes things in a way that can be truly transformational.

For example, for the first two decades of the 20th century, electricity and the internal combustion engine had limited impact, but around 1920 they became transformative and drove a 50-year productivity boom unlike anything the world had ever seen. Something similar happened with digital technology around 1995.

Today, everyone is experiencing the apex of three major inflection points in energy, synthetic biology and computation that will have that kind of transformative authority. The impact of any one of these is hard to foresee, but when all three combined together and seen as a whole in the stride it hoists the prospect that we may very well be inflowing in a new era. The future may be unlike anything that has ever seen before.

Impact of AI predicted to be greater than the internet

PwC's Annual Global CEO Survey revealed that the consensus amongst chief executive officers (CEOs) is that the impact of AI will be bigger than the internet revolution.

Technology is altering society and reality. Digitization is challenging the way one lives. These adjustments generate conveniences and ways of problem-solving that were never possible before.

We already live in a world where non-human systems can do things that previously only humans could do. In some cases, these non-human systems can do tasks even better than one can. AI can now mimic human speech, translate languages, diagnose cancers, draft legal documents, and play games and even beat its human counterpart. In today's social systems can accomplish tasks we did not consider would be probable in our time. The capabilities of non-human systems will continue to expand.

According to EY CEO Survey, 82 per cent of CEOs believe their businesses with being disrupted by AI. Apart from that, 85 per cent of the US CEOs and business leaders are AI optimists and 87 per cent of respondents are investing in AI initiatives this year.

Fundamental drivers of AI technology

Ng discussed the fundamental drivers of AI and their impact on how we live and work with TiE Silicon Valley board member R. Paul Singh during the TiE Global Summit. Network and storage computing with digitization and new algorithm are the drivers who are at the heart of AI. Trends show that computing has been seen doubling every three months.

"I am excited about generative pre-trained transformer 3 (GPT-3) not because of GPT-3, but because of where we might get to with GPT-7, BERT-5 or NewAlgo-2," Ng shares.

Emerging opportunities in AI

The Indian AI market is valued at $6.4 billion till July – August 2020. Moreover, domestic firms and AI startups are now growing with the implementation of new tech solutions. Hence, industries all over are witnessing an accelerated adoption of AI-led technologies to ensure business continuity.

Ng further maintains that verticalized AI platforms and MLOps that address AI's customization problem, education and human capital, personal productivity/transformation, net gen enterprises of tech-enabled backoffice, HR and sales, and 1000s of plain supervised learning applications are the new emerging opportunities in AI.

AI business momentum: COVID-19 impact

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the world, the full impact to global economies and business is becoming apparent as firms continue to shut their doors and buying organizations focus on keeping essential processes running. Ng forecasts weak global GDP growth in Q1 and only expects this to worsen.

Stanford University professor further says that today's AI startups will be tomorrow's FAANG.

Prabhjeet Bhatla

Former Staff

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