Research carried out by CB Insights earlier this year revealed that 34 AI startups emerged in the first quarter of 2017 thanks to Google. That’s more than double the number the company acquired in the same period last year. It even has a venture fund in place specifically for AI that’s really run by engineers rather than investors that’s dishing out investments up to $10 million.
The alphabet is Google’s parent company and over the past five years, it has acquired 11 AI startups, which is more than any other public company. Next on the list is Apple with seven, followed by Facebook and Intel who each have five. Twitter is also in the game, but at a slightly slower speed, with four startups under its belt in the same period.
The startup’s Google’s acquired over the past three years include Kaggle (a predictive analytics platform), api.ai (a natural language processing platform for bots), and Moodstock (a visual search technology). Facebook has also picked up some winners, but not so varied as Google’s. Two of the company’s most recent purchases were Zurich Eye and Masquerade Technologies. Both are augmented reality (AR) type startups whose main aim is to assist smartphone cameras in areas such as superimposing images or recognizing where objects are.
There’s big money involved in AI and in 2014, $400 million was paid by Google to acquire DeepMind Technologies. The company responsible for building an AI that managed to beat the world champion in a game of Go. Both Google and Facebook have been employing AI experts by the bucket load and at the time of writing this article, between them they had over 300 artificial intelligence job listings.
Most media companies operating in the US will be using some of AI by now, including Salesforce, Keywee, and Boomtrain to help with things like customer relationship management, programmatic advertising, and audience targeting. The Los Angeles Times even introduced an AI called the Quake Bot that alerts people to the fact that an earthquake has been detected within the greater Los Angeles area.
And this is just the beginning according to Tod Loofbourrow, a former AI instructor at Harvard and CEO of ViralGains. He also believes that greatest impact AI will have on the media will be the way in which it allows third parties to learn potential customer’s preferences
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