This week in AI #8 : Power Struggle
1- The enemy of my enemy is my friend
The AI world is moving fast, very fast. There is a raging battle over which development framework will become the reference: TensorFlow, Caffe2, Torch, Keras, the forces behind them are doing their best to get a foothold in the community. Lately, Google has taken the lead and doesn’t want to relinquish it. What would you do if you saw your competitor getting further and further ahead of you? Unite, of course! Well, you’re not the only ones. In an attempt to get back in the race, Facebook and Microsoft just announced a new open-source format to share model across different frameworks; Cognitive Toolkit, Caffe2, and PyTorch, no more spending hours to get them to speak, simply use ONNX, short for Open Neural Network Exchange! You can read more directly from Microsoft’s or Facebook’s press release.
2- World War 3?
The 4 most powerful American technology companies are not the only one fighting over AI. The US, China, and Russia are also engaged in an arms race. As Vladimir Putin said it live to 16,000 Russian schools: “Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia but for all humankind, whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.” Which got Elon Musk a bit concerned, which pushed him to give us yet another warning. According to Musk, we should first worry about AI being used in weapons before it causing mass unemployment; but just in case total annihilation doesn’t happen, we might want to prepare for what’s coming next.
3- Living up to the hype
That’s what Watson is struggling with. After it beat the then-world-champions of Jeopardy, IBM went all in with the marketing campaign, claiming Watson would solve any problem it was faced with, especially cancer. Turns out, the dust has settled and reality looks rather bleak for IBM. Watson didn’t get the adoption rate they anticipated and, what’s worse, more and more people in the AI world are seeing it as the player that always under-deliver. Fortunately, this isn’t true of everybody and some great breakthroughs are being made in medicine!
4- Mark the date !
Have you ever wanted to know what it’s like behind the curtain in the research team of one of the biggest tech companies? How do research scientists work with engineers? Who does what? How do they decide what to work on? What’s their biggest challenge? Wonder no more! On September 13, next Wednesday, the Google Brain team will do an AMA on Reddit; the ideal time to ask all the questions you’ve never dared to!
5- Bad PR…
NIPS 2017, one of the two leading conferences in the whole AI community is taking place in Long Beach, California in December. If you have an interest in AI, that’s the conference you don’t want to miss. This year, however, due to the recent Visa travel bans in the US, some of those who wish to attend may not be able to. Even authors of papers that will be presented might be barred from entering the country — by the way, the accepted papers should be listed today -. Historically NIPS has always been organized in-between Canada, the US, and Spain; with the US out of the picture, maybe it’s time to find a new location. Thailand anyone?!