A surprising number of firms are jumping on the artificial-intelligence bandwagon—without actually investing in any AI.
What? Yes, I’m afraid so. MMC Ventures, an investment firm in London, looked at 2,830 European companies that claim to make use of AI. It found that a whopping 40% of them are not using any machine learning, a field of AI that has taken off in recent years both academically and commercially.
Numbers game: One company singled out in an article in the FT ($) said it was gathering “data and knowledge to enable the implementation of AI.” That’s pretty embarrassing, but also hardly surprising. The report claims that “AI-focused” startups receive 15% more funding on average, so it’s going to be pretty tempting to stretch the definition a little.
AI or not AI? Another problem, of course, is that “artificial intelligence” refers to a huge field of academic research. So it can be used to refer to the most basic forms of software automation or the kind of advanced machine learning seen in AlphaGo. This makes it a lot easier for companies to convince investors—and perhaps themselves—that they are involved in AI.
To get the real lowdown on AI, you should sign up for our AI newsletter The Algorithm. To have it directly delivered to your inbox, sign up here for free.
Why Meta’s latest large language model survived only three days online
Galactica was supposed to help scientists. Instead, it mindlessly spat out biased and incorrect nonsense.
DeepMind’s game-playing AI has beaten a 50-year-old record in computer science
The new version of AlphaZero discovered a faster way to do matrix multiplication, a core problem in computing that affects thousands of everyday computer tasks.
A bot that watched 70,000 hours of Minecraft could unlock AI’s next big thing
Online videos are a vast and untapped source of training data—and OpenAI says it has a new way to use it.
The White House just unveiled a new AI Bill of Rights
It's the first big step to hold AI to account.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.