We are heading in the direction of an era of an AI-powered society. In fact, according to Andrew Ng, a leading AI researcher explained in an interview with the MIT Technology Review, “AI is the new electricity.” As bold of a statement that is, it does hold some truth to it. Many of the leading tech companies and P2P marketplaces that anticipated the invasion of artificial intelligence and even began experimenting with ML-field features have already left their competitors behind. While AI was previously met with much skepticism, the attitude towards it has seen a dramatic change in the last couple of years.
However, developing expertise in the subject of artificial intelligence remains a huge challenge as there are not many experts in the sector. This has led to a real fight for this rare talent. Here are some ways that companies are looking to build their expertise in AI.
In order to build a machine learning platform, you would either need to get acclimated with these technologies or find someone who is. So, in the beginning, most companies will look to recruit anyone with a “brain” for artificial intelligence. These talents range from AI researchers, university professors, and even the smartest university students who are found at various academic conferences and IT meetups. Now, because the talent is so rare in this sphere, many students at these AI-specialized facilities don’t even have the chance to graduate before they end up taking the lead at companies like Facebook and Google.
Acquisition of Startups
In the event that a company has no real chance of hiring a specialist, their next step would be to acquire different startups along with their employees which brings them their intellectual property. For example, in 2012, Airbnb acquired Crashpadder and then appointed the former company’s CTO as its new Product Lead to develop Aerosolve which is Airbnb’s ML system. They later acquired Trooly which is an AI technology company that conducts user background checks. We see similar examples of these acquisitions as a common practice for the major market players like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Baidu as they look to enhance their businesses using the help of AI solutions previously created elsewhere.
While it can be very simple to acquire startups with AI experts already within the company, there is also nothing stopping companies from cultivating their own AI infrastructure and breeding their own experts. A great example of this is again Airbnb. Their founders were strong believers in data power and thus created the Data University which was meant to motivate employees to learn more about machine learning and how they can implement it in their own projects. Another example of businesses creating an AI-powered society is Uber’s Michelangelo which is an internal ML-as-a-service platform allowing for the democratization of machine learning. This is very important because the company invests a lot in AI and ML, so every employee should be able to the use the power of a common ML system.