The economy is down, but AI is hot. Where do we go from here?

The economy is down, but AI is hot. Where do we go from here?

The economy is down, but AI is hot. Where do we go from here?

This is a far cry from the reputation of the field in the 1990s, when Wooldridge was completing his doctorate. AI was always seen as a bizarre, fringe pursuit; the wider tech sector viewed it the same way established medicine viewed homeopathy, he says.

The current boom in AI research has been fueled by neural networks, which had a big breakthrough in the 1980s and work by simulating the patterns of the human brain. At the time, the technology hit a wall because the computers at the time were not powerful enough to run the software. Today we have a lot of data and extremely powerful computers, which makes the technique viable.

New breakthroughs, such as the ChatGPT chatbot and the Stable Diffusion text-to-image model, seem to arrive every few months. Technologies like ChatGPT aren’t fully explored yet, and industry and academia are still working on how they can be useful, Stone says.

Instead of a full-fledged AI winter, we will likely see a drop in funding for longer-term AI research and more pressure to make money using technology, says Wooldridge. Researchers in corporate labs will be under pressure to show that their research can be incorporated into products and thus make money, he adds.

It’s already the case. In light of the success of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google has declared a “code red” threat situation for its core product, search, and is looking to aggressively revamp search with its own AI search.

Stone sees parallels with what happened at Bell Labs. If industry-dominating Big Tech AI labs shift away from longer-term, in-depth research and focus too much on shorter-term product development, exasperated AI researchers could leave for academia. , and those big labs could lose their grip on innovation, he says.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. There are a lot of smart people looking for jobs right now. Venture capitalists are looking for new startups to invest in as crypto plummets, and generative AI has shown how technology can be turned into products.

This moment offers the AI ​​sector a unique opportunity to play with the potential of new technologies. For all the gloom surrounding the layoffs, it’s an exciting prospect.


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