Each big step of progress in computing from mainframe to personal computer to internet to smartphone has opened opportunities for more people to invent on the digital frontier.
But there is growing concern that trend is being reversed at techs new leading edge, artificial intelligence.
Computer scientists say AI research is becoming increasingly expensive, requiring complex calculations done by giant data centers, leaving fewer people with easy access to the computing firepower necessary to develop the technology behind futuristic products like self-driving cars or digital assistants that can see, talk and reason.
The danger, they say, is that pioneering artificial intelligence research will be a field of haves and have-nots. And the haves will be mainly a few big tech companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, which each spend billions a year building out their data centers.
In the have-not camp, they warn, will be university labs, which have traditionally been a wellspring of innovations that eventually power new products and services.
The huge computing resources these companies have pose a threat the universities cannot compete, said Craig Knoblock, executive director of the Information Sciences Institute, a research lab at the University of Southern California.
The research scientists warnings come amid rising concern about the power of the big tech companies. Most of the focus has been on the current generation of technology: search, online advertising, social media and e-commerce. But the scientists are worried about a barrier to exploring the technological future when that requires staggering amounts of computing.
The modern data centers of the big tech companies are sprawling and secretive. The buildings are the size of football fields, or larger, housing rack upon rack with hundreds of thousands of computers. The doors are bulletproof. The walls are fireproof. Outsiders are rarely allowed in.
These are the engine rooms of cloud computing. They help deliver a cornucopia of entertainment and information to smartphones and laptops, and they enable millions of developers to write cloud-based software applications.
But artificial intelligence researchers, outside the big tech companies, see a worrying trend in their field. A recent report from the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence observed that the volume of calculations needed to be a leader in AI tasks like language understanding, game playing and common-sense reasoning has soared an estimated 300,000 times in the past six years.
All that computing fuel is needed to turbocharge so-called deep-learning software models, whose performance improves with more calculations and more data. Deep learning has been the primary driver of AI breakthroughs in recent years.
When its successful, there is a huge benefit, said Oren Etzioni, chief executive of the Allen Institute, founded in 2014 by Paul Allen, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft. But the cost of doing research is getting exponentially higher. As a society and an economy, we suffer if there are only a handful of places where you can be on the cutting edge.
The evolution of one artificial intelligence lab, OpenAI, shows the changing economics, as well as the promise of deep-learning AI technology.
Founded in 2015, with backing from Elon Musk, OpenAI began as a nonprofit research lab. Its ambition was to develop technology at the frontier of artificial intelligence and share the benefits with the wider world. It was a vision that suggested the computing tradition of an inspired programmer, working alone on a laptop, coming up with a big idea.
This spring, OpenAI used its technology to defeat the world champion team of human players at a complex video game called Dota 2. Its software learned the game by constant trial and error over months, the equivalent of more than 45,000 years of game play.
The OpenAI scientists have realized they are engaged in an endeavor more like particle physics or weather simulation, fields demanding huge computing resources. Winning at Dota 2, for example, required spending millions of dollars renting access to tens of thousands of computer chips inside the cloud computing data centers run by companies like Google and Microsoft.
This year, OpenAI morphed into a for-profit company to attract financing and, in July, announced that Microsoft was making a $1 billion investment. Most of the money, OpenAI said, would be spent on the computing power it needed to pursue its goals, which still include widely sharing the benefits of AI after paying off investors.
As part of OpenAIs agreement with Microsoft, the software giant will eventually become the labs sole source of computing.
If you dont have enough compute, you cant make a breakthrough, said Ilya Sutskever, chief scientist of OpenAI.
Academics are also raising concerns about the power consumed by advanced AI software. Training a large, deep-learning model can generate the same carbon footprint as the lifetime of five American cars, including gas, three computer scientists at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, estimated in a recent research paper. (The big tech companies say they buy as much renewable energy as they can, reducing the environmental impact of their data centers.)
Etzioni and his co-authors at the Allen Institute say that perhaps both concerns about power use and the cost of computing could be at least partially addressed by changing how success in AI technology is measured.
The fields single-minded focus on accuracy, they say, skews research along too narrow a path.
Efficiency should also be considered. They suggest that researchers report the computational price tag for achieving a result in a project as well.
Since their Green AI paper was published in July, their message has resonated with many in the research community.
Henry Kautz, a professor of computer science at the University of Rochester, noted that accuracy is really only one dimension we care about in theory and in practice. Others, he said, include how much energy is used, how much data is required and how much skilled human effort is needed for AI technology to work.
A more multidimensional view, Kautz added, could help level the playing field between academic researchers and computer scientists at the big tech companies, if research projects relied less on raw computing firepower.
Big tech companies are pursuing greater efficiency in their data centers and their artificial intelligence software, which they say will make computing power more available to outside developers and academics.
John Platt, a distinguished scientist in Googles artificial intelligence division, points to its recent development of deep-learning models, EfficientNets, which are much smaller and faster than conventional ones. That democratizes use, he said. We want these models to be trainable and accessible by as many people as possible.
The big tech companies have given universities many millions over the years in grants and donations, but some computer scientists say they should do more to close the gap between the AI research haves and have-nots. Today, they say, the relationship that tech giants have to universities is largely as a buyer, hiring away professors, graduate students and even undergraduates.
The companies would be wise to also provide substantial support for academic research including much greater access to their wealth of computing so the competition for ideas and breakthroughs extends beyond corporate walls, said Ed Lazowska, a professor at the University of Washington.
A more supportive relationship, Lazowska argues, would be in their corporate self-interest. Otherwise, he said, Well see a significant dilution of the ability of the academic community to produce the next generation of computer scientists who will power these companies.
At the Allen Institute in Seattle, Etzioni said, the team will pursue techniques to improve the efficiency of artificial intelligence technology. This is a big push for us, he said.
But Etzioni emphasized that what he was calling green AI should be seen as an opportunity for additional ingenuity, not a restraint or a replacement for deep learning, which relies on vast computing power, and which he calls red AI.
Indeed, the Allen Institute has just reached an AI milestone by correctly answering more than 90% of the questions on a standard eighth-grade science test. That feat was achieved with the red AI tools of deep learning.
Read the original:
- Why Neuro-Symbolic Artificial Intelligence Is The AI Of The Future - Digital Trends - January 5th, 2020
- Welcome to the roaring 2020s, the artificial intelligence decade - GreenBiz - January 5th, 2020
- Top five projections in Artificial Intelligence for 2020 - Economic Times - January 5th, 2020
- A reality check on artificial intelligence: Can it match the hype? - PhillyVoice.com - January 5th, 2020
- Can medical artificial intelligence live up to the hype? - Los Angeles Times - January 5th, 2020
- Illinois regulates artificial intelligence like HireVues used to analyze online job Interviews - Vox.com - January 5th, 2020
- How This Cofounder Created An Artificial Intelligence Styling Company To Help Consumers Shop - Forbes - January 5th, 2020
- The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Takes on Artificial Intelligence - JD Supra - January 5th, 2020
- Baidu looks to work with Indian institutions on AI - BusinessLine - January 5th, 2020
- Top Movies Of 2019 That Depicted Artificial Intelligence (AI) - Analytics India Magazine - January 5th, 2020
- Shocking ways AI technology will revolutionise every day industries in YOUR lifetime - Express.co.uk - January 5th, 2020
- Artificial intelligence takes scam to a whole new level - The Jackson Sun - January 5th, 2020
- Global Industrial Artificial Intelligence Market 2019 Research by Business Analysis, Growth Strategy and Industry Development to 2024 - Food &... - January 5th, 2020
- IIT Hyderabad to collaborate with Telangana government on artificial intelligence - India Today - January 5th, 2020
- THE AI IN TRANSPORTATION REPORT: How automakers can use artificial intelligence to cut costs, open new revenue - Business Insider India - January 5th, 2020
- Revisiting the rise of A.I.: How far has artificial intelligence come since 2010? - Digital Trends - December 30th, 2019
- Artificial intelligence is helping us talk to animals (yes, really) - Wired.co.uk - December 30th, 2019
- Artificial Intelligence Identifies Previously Unknown Features Associated with Cancer Recurrence - Imaging Technology News - December 30th, 2019
- AI IN BANKING: Artificial intelligence could be a near $450 billion opportunity for banks - here are the strat - Business Insider India - December 30th, 2019
- Artificial Intelligence Is Rushing Into Patient Care - And Could Raise Risks - Scientific American - December 30th, 2019
- Quantum leap: Why we first need to focus on the ethical challenges of artificial intelligence - Economic Times - December 30th, 2019
- In 2020, lets stop AI ethics-washing and actually do something - MIT Technology Review - December 30th, 2019
- The Power Of Purpose: How We Counter Hate Used Artificial Intelligence To Battle Hate Speech Online - Forbes - December 30th, 2019
- The skills needed to land the hottest tech job of 2020 - Business Insider Nordic - December 30th, 2019
- In the 2020s, human-level A.I. will arrive, and finally ace the Turing test - Inverse - December 30th, 2019
- Samsung to announce its Neon artificial intelligence project at CES 2020 - Firstpost - December 30th, 2019
- How Artificial Intelligence Is Totally Changing Everything - HowStuffWorks - December 26th, 2019
- Artificial intelligence jobs on the rise, along with everything else AI - ZDNet - December 26th, 2019
- Why Cognitive Technology May Be A Better Term Than Artificial Intelligence - Forbes - December 26th, 2019
- What Is The Artificial Intelligence Of Things? When AI Meets IoT - Forbes - December 26th, 2019
- One key to artificial intelligence on the battlefield: trust - C4ISRNet - December 26th, 2019
- How is Artificial Intelligence (AI) Changing the Future of Architecture? - AiThority - December 26th, 2019
- Who will really dominate artificial intelligence capabilities in the future? - Tech Wire Asia - December 26th, 2019
- For Telangana, 2020 will be year of artificial intelligence - BusinessLine - December 26th, 2019
- Chanukah and the Battle of Artificial Intelligence - The Ultimate Victory of the Human Being - Chabad.org - December 26th, 2019
- AI-based health app: Putting patients first - ETHealthworld.com - December 26th, 2019
- Fels backs calls to use artificial intelligence as wage-theft detector - The Age - December 26th, 2019
- China should step up regulation of artificial intelligence in finance, think tank says - Reuters - December 26th, 2019
- Law must be adapted for the Fourth Industrial Revolution | TheHill - The Hill - December 26th, 2019
- What is Artificial Intelligence? How Does AI Work? | Built In - December 21st, 2019
- Artificial Intelligence, Foresight, and the Offense-Defense Balance - War on the Rocks - December 21st, 2019
- Finland offers crash course in artificial intelligence to EU - The Associated Press - December 21st, 2019
- 7 tips to get your resume past the robots reading it - CNBC - December 21st, 2019
- The Machines Are Learning, and So Are the Students - The New York Times - December 21st, 2019
- How Artificial Intelligence Is Humanizing the Healthcare Industry - HealthITAnalytics.com - December 21st, 2019
- Zebra Medical Vision Announces Agreement With DePuy Synthes to Deploy Cloud Based Artificial Intelligence Orthopaedic Surgical Planning Tools -... - December 21st, 2019
- Top Artificial Intelligence Books Released In 2019 That You Must Read - Analytics India Magazine - December 21st, 2019
- Why video games and board games arent a good measure of AI intelligence - The Verge - December 21st, 2019
- New Findings Show Artificial Intelligence Software Improves Breast Cancer Detection and Physician Accuracy - P&T Community - December 21st, 2019
- Tommie Experts: Ethically Educating on Artificial Intelligence at St. Thomas - University of St. Thomas Newsroom - December 21st, 2019
- Artificial intelligence predictions for 2020: 16 experts have their say - Verdict - December 21st, 2019
- Beethovens unfinished tenth symphony to be completed by artificial intelligence - Classic FM - December 21st, 2019
- Innovations in Artificial Intelligence, Cloud, Blockchain, and Analytics, 2019: Advances in AI, Blockchain, and Business Intelligence -... - December 19th, 2019
- Innovations in Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing, IoT, and Analytics, 2019 Study - ResearchAndMarkets.com - Business Wire - December 19th, 2019
- Military Applications of Artificial Intelligence - Ethics Project Now Funded - Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) - December 19th, 2019
- Artificial Intelligence might be a factor behind the Climate Change - Digital Information World - December 19th, 2019
- Tech experts agree its time to regulate artificial intelligence if only it were that simple - GeekWire - December 19th, 2019
- Latest Innovations in Wound Care, Ophthalmic Devices, and Artificial Intelligence-enabled Diagnostics, 2019 Research Report - ResearchAndMarkets.com -... - December 19th, 2019
- Innovations in Radar-on-Chip, Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging Systems, Artificial Intelligence, and In-vehicle Sensing Solutions, 2019 Study -... - December 19th, 2019
- Ume University: Master all areas of Artificial Intelligence - Study International News - December 19th, 2019
- Artificial intelligence must be used with care - The Australian Financial Review - December 19th, 2019
- Accountability is the key to ethical artificial intelligence, experts say - ComputerWeekly.com - December 19th, 2019
- The impact of artificial intelligence in the banking sector & how AI is being used in 2020 - Business Insider India - December 19th, 2019
- 8 Tools: How To Think About Artificial Intelligence In The Music Industry - hypebot.com - December 19th, 2019
- How Artificial Intelligence Is Reshaping the Future of Stock Picking - InsideHook - December 18th, 2019
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) Solutions and Market Opportunities to 2024: A Comprehensive 10-Report Research Bundle - Yahoo Finance - December 18th, 2019
- It's artificial intelligence to the rescue (and response and recovery) - GreenBiz - December 18th, 2019
- Schlumberger inks deal to expand artificial intelligence in the oil field - Chron - December 18th, 2019
- Boschs A.I.-powered tech could prevent accidents by staring at you - Digital Trends - December 18th, 2019
- New Solar Estimator Shows How AI Will Transform the Home Improvement - AiThority - December 18th, 2019
- 8 Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Cloud Predictions To Watch in 2020 - Irish Tech News - December 18th, 2019
- Joint Artificial Intelligence Center Director tells Naval War College audience to 'Dive In' on AI - What'sUpNewp - December 18th, 2019
- Artificial intelligence: The rising star of education - Daily Sabah - December 3rd, 2019
- Asia-Pacific Digital Transformation Markets 2019-2024: Focus on 5G, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, and Smart Cities -... - December 3rd, 2019
- Opinion | The artificial intelligence frontier of economic theory - Livemint - December 3rd, 2019
- Seminar - Artificial Intelligence and its Impact on Young People - Council of Europe - December 3rd, 2019
- Triple your CX impact with artificial intelligence and these five tactics - CXNetwork - December 3rd, 2019
- BioSig Technologies Announces New Collaboration on Development of Artificial Intelligence Solutions in Healthcare - GlobeNewswire - December 3rd, 2019
- Amazon makes three major AI announcements during re:Invent 2019 - AI News - December 3rd, 2019
- The impact of artificial intelligence on humans - Bangkok Post - December 3rd, 2019