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It may sound like an ambitious statement, to say the least. Still, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, seems to be serious: its impact on our development as a species will be even more significant than fire, electricity, and the internet.
He believes that artificial intelligence, AI, will fundamentally change how we live our lives by transforming healthcare, education, and manufacturing. The potential is there. Already, AI is used to manage climate change, develop treatments for cancer and explore space.
In 2021, we have seen how AI has matured and become increasingly important for breakthroughs in everything from discovering new drugs to critical infrastructure such as power grids.
State of AI Report 2021
Since 2018, Nathan Beniach and Ian Hogarth, both investors in AI, have published the State of AI Report. In last year's report, their predictions were 68 percent accurate, so there is good reason to take their prophecies seriously.
This year's report looks in particular at the emergence of so-called transformer technology. It is a technology that focuses machine learning algorithms on important relationships between data points. This, in turn, leads to the algorithm extracting meaning in a more comprehensive way, which provides better predictions. In the end, this has helped unlock many of the critical breakthroughs highlighted in the report.
The report also highlights breakthroughs in biology where AI continues to show its potential to completely change health care and discover new drugs.
This is how AI develops in 2022
The authors of the report highlight five points that will mainly affect AI development in 2022.
More comprehensive and concrete AI
AI is moving at an ever-increasing pace from talk to walk. AI is increasingly being applied to critical infrastructures such as national electricity networks and automated supermarket warehousing calculations during pandemics.
"AI-first" takes biology by storm
AI has enabled faster simulations of human cellular machines, such as proteins and RNA. This has the potential to change health care and the discovery of new drugs.
"Transformers" – general architecture for machine learning
This model of machine learning has emerged as a general purpose architecture for machine learning. Even today, you use it when you interact with your virtual assistants, such as Siri or Alexa. Then it's a question of NLP or Natural Language Processing. But the technology is also used in computer vision and even in predictions of protein structures.
Investors are there
In 2021, we have seen record investments in AI startups and two IPOs, which are the first of their kind in the discovery of new drugs. We have also seen IPOs for AI companies in data infrastructure and cyber security – both received enormous attention.
China's increased research in AI
Chinese universities have dramatically increased their publication of AI research. In 1980, nothing was published, and today they account for the largest volume of quality research in AI.
Read the full State of AI Report.