The State of Artificial Intelligence

Andrew Ng, one of the most prominent Data Scientists in the world who has previously led teams at Google Brain and Baidu, is a Co-Founder of Coursera recently gave a talk at EmTech. As the TMS Lead in Singapore I wanted to distill his words of wisdom on aspects that I have noted are very important in my years working in the Artificial Intelligence space.

Internet vs. Artificial Intelligence Era

The first is how being a company that does artificial intelligence well is completely different from a company that does technology well, which is completely different from a company that makes goods and services well. DHL and FedEx are centuries old logistics companies that have successfully made the jump into the internet age. Conversely, Eastman Kodak and Polaroid were camera companies that could not successfully make the jump into the digital age. The next twenty years will show which companies will make the jump from successfully from digital to AI.

I can’t stress the point of Strategic Data Acquisition enough. Strategic Data Acquisition. I’ll write it again. Strategic Data Acquisition. Almost any reputable Data Science Team can get their hands on some great computing power via Nvidia, AWS, GCP or Azure. Papers are widely published on various approaches to develop the deepest and widest neural network, but the one thing that these AI companies have done to build a moat around themselves is capturing their users data.

Supervised Learning, Unsupervised Learning and Beyond!

The next point that struck a chord with me was the increasing level of sophistication in AI approaches while I’ll outline below.

Below is an image that outlines, in more detail the Representational, Evaluation, and Optimizational levels of the Five Tribes of ML as described by Pedro Domingos.

Building an AI Centre of Excellence

Last, but not least is Andrew’s point from 26:16 onwards in his video where his advice to organisations making the jump into the AI Era is to develop a core competency center in AI and matrix these people and their skills out to other areas, business units, product managers and engineering teams. It is, however, of utmost importance to make sure that the AI experts are allowed to maintain their core team and the culture that comes with this to make them want to stay with the firm.

For more information, you can watch the full video here: EmTech Andrew Ng – Dec 2017

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