Deep learning. Machine learning. Artificial intelligence. The buzzwords are swirling, along with promises of an intelligent, automated—and sometimes scary—future. But where exactly are we with AI today?
Last month’s Battery Ventures AI Summit tackled this meaty topic. In a day of fascinating keynotes, insightful panels, and illuminating demos, a world-class gathering of AI experts and practitioners assembled to unpack the rise and promise of artificial intelligence.
Tech Giants on the Future of AI: Deepak Agarwal, Vice President of AI, LinkedIn; Debu Chatterjee, Senior Director, Predictive Intelligence, ServiceNow; Jeff Herbst, Vice President, Business Development, NVIDIA; Pilar Manchon, Director of Cognitive Interfaces, AWS AI; Rajen Sheth, Senior Director of Product Management, Google Cloud Artificial Intelligence; Moderated by: Tim Campos, former CIO, Facebook
Throughout all the talks and panels, one key theme emerged: Artificial intelligence has very, very real implications across specific business verticals. As AI reaches new levels of sophistication, we are witnessing a shift from simple textual analysis and email parsing to more advanced applications, including voice and image/video analytics. From the ability of brick-and-mortar stores to analyze consumer sentiment, to healthcare companies accurately predicting flu outbreaks, there are profound examples of companies already exploring ways for AI to unlock billions of dollars in value.
Startups are also flourishing in the AI space, particularly those that are cloud-based, such as Databricks* and Machinify*. These companies reduce the friction by which larger companies can leverage AI expertise. Several panelists highlighted the extreme talent shortage in the sector, noting that hiring PhDs in statistics at seven-figure salaries is not sustainable. As startups rooted in machine learning technologies gain prominence, AI for the enterprise will continue to be democratized.
AI startups share commercialization best practices
Large companies such as Google, LinkedIn, and Microsoft see the AI writing on the wall. These blue-chip companies are actively beefing up their product portfolios to take advantage of the hidden trends and patterns that live within their datasets. The ability to bring life and new insights to previously ignored or overlooked data sources is the marquee promise of machine learning and artificial intelligence for these companies and others. In this brave new world, the 21st century scramble for data just may represent a new business gold rush.
Watch the opening keynote by Marwan Fawaz, CEO of Nest
Watch the closing keynote by Joseph Sirosh, Corporate VP of Microsoft