8
$\begingroup$

At Google I/O the Google Duplex just came out and now releasing new public self-driving car, Waymo. I can't think of any Tech Giants that can actually compete with Google AI other than Amazon. I'm thinking other companies will team up such as Nvidia, Intel, AMD, and etc. Apple seems to be lacking.

$\endgroup$
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ Remember when people said similar things about Nokia in the cell phone market? Or Microsoft? Or Kodak? Google is going well and has a seeming head start but AI still is in its infancy. There are plenty of people out there working on disruptive technology. $\endgroup$ – solarflare May 10 '18 at 4:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @solarflare ,The Op shouldn't forget that DARPA is the mother(military sector) $\endgroup$ – quintumnia May 11 '18 at 6:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ People overestimate Google just like they overestimated many other organizations. The Society of Alchemists. Genghis Khan's empire. The British Navy. Tulip trading. Netscape. AOL. The idea that the U.S. can maintain web dominance over China. $\endgroup$ – FelicityC Oct 26 '18 at 16:51
  • $\begingroup$ On further consideration, I suspect IBM may be able to come up with something interesting in regard to AGI. They invest a lot in basic research, and are very focused on quantum computing. $\endgroup$ – DukeZhou Aug 22 at 18:18

11 Answers 11

13
$\begingroup$

Pretty much any "kid in a garage" so to speak. Nobody knows how to build AI yet and a major breakthrough could come from anywhere. That could knock Google off their perch easily enough.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Wonderful point. Thanks for mentioning it! Google started out as two very brilliant people with an idea. $\endgroup$ – DukeZhou May 13 '18 at 20:27
  • $\begingroup$ Google has a habit of buying those start ups if they can. $\endgroup$ – Lio Elbammalf Aug 22 at 7:59
7
$\begingroup$

Don't forget the many Chinese companies heavily investing in AI.
Not only the biggest 3 (Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu) but many others (JD.com, Sina, ...) and also startups (SenseTime, iCarbonX) are very active, in all AI sectors.

They have a couple of advantages for the future:

  • a huge and growing domestic market
  • availability of large amounts of data coupled with more relaxed data privacy regulations
  • strong support from the government (in the form of the 2030 AI Strategic plan); how many countries can even plan for something longer than 5 years?
$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to AI! Great point re: sample sizes and government support. $\endgroup$ – DukeZhou May 11 '18 at 13:16
4
$\begingroup$

This is pure speculation on my part, but I also think Amazon only, because Bezos is an engineer/founder, cares about marketshare and utility over profits, almost certainly understands the implications of recent validations of strong-narrow AI, and will invest sufficiently to give Google a run for their money.

(This partly has to do with how successful Bezos has been as an entrepreneur, which is partly a factor of his flexibility.)

I just don't see it happening elsewhere, sans this type of leadership and control. Google, by contrast, is and always has been an "algorithm company" first and foremost, so they are in the lead almost by default.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Master,the OP has failed to figure it out,that DARPA is the mother,in this rant race.And remember military sector is doing it big than what civilians might think!!!....Hope you copy this out. $\endgroup$ – quintumnia May 11 '18 at 6:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @quintumnia Going by the old joke that "military intelligence is an oxymoron", and based on the revenues of companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook compared to the budgets of agencies such as the NSA, and the more restrictive environment of governmental bureaucracy, with full awareness that the government doesn't always reveal the true degree of technical progress to maintain strategic advantage, my bets are still entirely on the corporations. $\endgroup$ – DukeZhou May 11 '18 at 13:21
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Hahaha....,I knew you would conclude that way,however,The future of AI is unwritten. The field of AI is simply too nascent for anyone to predict what’ll happen next. At the same time, however, there’s more than half-a-century of work in the field indicating that AI is the future of all technology. $\endgroup$ – quintumnia May 12 '18 at 20:22
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @quintumnia To support your rebuttal anecdotally, it is my experience that many of "gods of programming" are fairly anarchic/libertarian, and might not be inclined to "serve the machine" in regard to corporations. But I caution that that economic drivers are inescapable, and Robert Mercer is another one I'd keep and eye on. $\endgroup$ – DukeZhou May 12 '18 at 23:23
  • $\begingroup$ @DukeZhou-Corporations are in it for the money. In that regard they take lots of shortcuts and create substandard products in the effort to save money. They rely on the ignorance of the typical consumer. The military expects their contractors to provide products that work and the military has the knowledge to "know" if the products work. Thus, betting against those who know how to do things "right" is probably a losing proposition. Keep in mind that many university professors specialize in cutting-edge research funded by the military. So the military certainly has the brain trust available. $\endgroup$ – Dunk Jun 18 '18 at 22:47
3
$\begingroup$

I will assume that you mean the Strong AI or AGI race? Interesting question, given Google's investment in the technology it seems hard to imagine them giving up the throne at this point.

However, there definitely are some competitors. Some that come to mind are Amazon, OpenAI, Baidu. These companies all have significant resources and have teams dedicated to solving the Strong AI problem.

A DarkDarkhorse in the race would be a team like OpenCog/SingularityNet. They are trying to build strong AI powered by the blockchain(Ben Goertzel). With enough computation and ingenuity though, an individual or small team could do it themselves.

$\endgroup$
3
$\begingroup$

In my own opinion the biggest threats would be Nvidia because of their tight grip on the GPU market; it will be relatively easier for them to catch up with innovative ideas.

Baidu is on the horizon though their research at this point seems to be domain specific, NLP to be precise.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ In my experience, hardware companies aren't great at software (with Apple as the exception, for their perennially superior OS, but they too lag behind in the strength of their personal assistant, indicating they haven't quite "gotten it" yet re: it's all about the algorithms".) IBM may be another exception, but, if they'd really "gotten it", Microsoft wouldn't have been able "to topple" them and become ascendant during the Gates years. $\endgroup$ – DukeZhou May 10 '18 at 20:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Baidu, however, I can believe. Welcome to AI, and thanks for posting! $\endgroup$ – DukeZhou May 10 '18 at 20:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thank you for welcoming me, NVIDIA has been making breakthroughs in AI though they haven't been getting the spotlight as Google products, my assumption would be because of their CUDA programming language. You can see their self driving car $\endgroup$ – Simbarashe Timothy Motsi May 11 '18 at 9:52
  • $\begingroup$ @DukeZhou we should start to give answers here with facts,if this is a research based site! Or the should be closed to avoid opinions here...rules are rules. $\endgroup$ – quintumnia May 13 '18 at 2:15
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @quintumnia please adjust your code to reduce pedantry. This is a fun, opinion based question, where objectivity is not possible. [File under: social aspect of AI or some such.] :) $\endgroup$ – DukeZhou May 13 '18 at 20:24
3
$\begingroup$

If we talk about Narrow AI, big companies have an evident advantage, as you say. Moreover, because they have the capability of buy small challenging companies.

If we talk about General AI, the chances are equal, the muse will appear when they want to the person they want.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

I'm surprised no one has mentioned IBM. They first build DeepBlue and beat the highest ranked chess grandmaster. Then they crushed the Jeopardy champs. Now they are merchandising the variants of Watson.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ AlphaGo Zero tops it. $\endgroup$ – Slightly Higher Average User May 12 '18 at 19:09
  • $\begingroup$ "Tops it"? Can you expand on that? I understand that Go was considered harder than chess as a board game, but I think the JeopardyChallenge would be considered more "general". And do remember that DeepBlue's win against Kasparov was twenty years ago. How many doublings in "computer power" are separating that event from the AlphaGo success? $\endgroup$ – 42- May 12 '18 at 19:50
  • $\begingroup$ Watson is IBM's best AI that I know of. AlphaGo Zero was the 2nd best Game AI, Elon Musk's being the first. $\endgroup$ – Slightly Higher Average User May 12 '18 at 20:12
  • $\begingroup$ @mindcrime: Thanks. Can't quite believe I got Edison's assistant's name wrong. My excuse: Age. $\endgroup$ – 42- May 12 '18 at 22:14
1
$\begingroup$

Google may appear to have a strong advantage over its competition in Narrow AI due to its acquisition of other AI companies such as Boston dynamics. Google also has extremely large data sets that may be analysed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behaviour and interactions which is useful as training data when creating AGI. However, achieving the goal of an AGI is far more complex in terms of the amount of research that needs to be done, regardless of how much data you have.

In my opinion, a dedicated research company such as openAI, which works non-for profit, can certainly influence AGI in a positive way and be a very strong contender to Google.

On the other hand, China is pouring billions and billions of dollars into AI at the moment as China is well behind the rest of the world in the AI race. They are however, now employing thousands upon thousands of the greatest, most innovative minds around the world and footing the bill with the aim to gain more momentum in this field, keep up to pace with the rest of the world.

China essentially have a very good chance of winning the AI race just due to the sheer amount of money in grants it is handing out to researchers and startup AI companies.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Who stands a chance against Google in the AI race?

The Google TPU is a GPU sized chip developed for deep learning, it is a matrix processor specialized for neural network work loads.

"The latest-generation Cloud TPU v3 Pods (more than 1,000 individual TPU chips) are liquid-cooled for maximum performance, and each one delivers more than 100 petaFLOPs of computing power. In terms of raw mathematical operations per second, a Cloud TPU v3 Pod is comparable with a top 5 supercomputer worldwide (though it operates at lower numerical precision).".

Google TPUs mounted on a re

The Cerebras 16nm TSMC wafer sized chip is a whopping 46,225mm² die that consumes 15kW and packs 400,000 cores, it's said to deliver the performance of a farm of a thousand Nvidia GPUs that can take months to assemble while requiring just 2-3% of its space and power.

"The Cerebras device packs 84 tiles in a 7x12 array. Each includes about 4,800 cores geared for AI’s sparse linear algebra with 48 KBytes SRAM each (a total of 18 GB), their sole memory source.

  • 9 Petabytes/s memory bandwidth
  • 100 Petabits/s fabric bandwidth
  • Native optimization for sparsity (to avoid multiplying by zero)
  • Software compatibility with the standard AI Frameworks such as TensorFlow and PyTorch
  • Cerebras says it is currently working with major customers to evaluate early silicon, and that it hopes to ship production servers using its WSE by mid-2020".

For comparison the Nvidia Tesla V100 is 815mm² with 21.1 billion transistors, while Cerabras chip is 46,225mm² with 1.2 trillion transistors, that's 50x bigger.

Chip size Comparison

Yes, it's one chip; they don't slice the wafer.

$\endgroup$
-1
$\begingroup$

There are many AI 'races' and these will be won by different actors.

What is a winner? 51% of the market? 1st to get a full license in California?

For (level 5?) autonomous cars there may a different 'winner' in China, Russia, Europe, and the US.

$\endgroup$
-2
$\begingroup$

The same was said about IBM Research, AT&T's Bell Labs, and MIT's AI Lab. Some of the hundred or so who had been poised to market AI have been beaten. Others have been drawn into military contracts that classify as secret what could have been consumer or business products.

Beyond this, it may be helpful for people that study AI, have it as part of their career path, or have it as a hobby to reject the idea that the development of human mental features in computers is a race. Those who fall into the sink hole that it is might benefit by perusing the history of advanced research and technical product development. Here are just a few of thousands of technology examples where those that won the race to be first to market were not able to maintain their lead position.

  • Kenjiro Takayanagi's first TV with a picture tube, 1926
  • Control Data Corporation's mail sorter line, 1965
  • Magnavox Odyssey game computer, 1972
  • NCSA Mosaic browser, 1993
  • Apple Computer's Siri, 2010

Except for Siri, few millennials would know by the company and product brand what the product or service was, but they were all poised to be or actually became first to market. It is difficult to find a first to market product or service that retained dominance over decades. Part of what tempts those to believe that AI would be an exception have fallen pray to the fable that there is such a thing as general intelligence. Refutations of this abstract target are much stronger than any argument that it exists beyond an idealism.

It is also important to understand what happened to Standard Oil, AT&T, and Microsoft. Corporations that operate within a federal jurisdiction are subject to scrutiny and regulation. Rupert Murdoch's Australian media company lodged a complaint that Google behaves monopolistically and should be broken up. Elizabeth Warren, a U.S. presidential candidate for 2020, is calling for a breakup of Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook. Two seconds ago, a Google search returned search results for "Google breakup" in 0.47 seconds, estimating 57,400,000 matching documents.

From an effective and unbiased research culture point of view, it is important not to deify any particular tech company, research facility, media figure, or writer. It dulls the inventive spirit and dissuades garage-based development labs. That some percentage of those who read what I write, even my popular work, find it irrelevant, absurd, or despicable is something I understand to be absolutely healthy and essential. If a researcher or writer isn't hated by someone, they can't be very innovative or original.

And the symmetric opposite holds true too. One way for a corporation or person to end their effectiveness is to track their work closely what the public finds popular. In research, it is often most effective to travel down paths about which the public is entirely ignorant and the media is entirely silent.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.