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Friday, September 13, 2019

Finances of AI Research: DeepMind

Are such losses in leading edge tech signficant, or to be expected?

DeepMind's Losses and the Future of Artificial Intelligence by Gary Marcus in Wired

Alphabet’s DeepMind unit, conqueror of Go and other games, is losing lots of money. Continued deficits could imperil investments in AI.  Alphabet’s DeepMind lost $572 million last year. What does it mean?

DeepMind, likely the world’s largest research-focused artificial intelligence operation, is losing a lot of money fast, more than $1 billion in the past three years. DeepMind also has more than $1 billion in debt due in the next 12 months.

Does this mean that AI is falling apart?

Gary Marcus is founder and CEO of Robust.AI and a professor of psychology and neural science at NYU. He is the author, with Ernest Davis, of the forthcoming Rebooting AI: Building Artificial Intelligence We Can Trust.

Not at all. Research costs money, and DeepMind is doing more research every year. The dollars involved are large, perhaps more than in any previous AI research operation, but far from unprecedented when compared with the sums spent in some of science’s largest projects. The Large Hadron Collider costs something like $1 billion per year and the total cost of discovering the Higgs Boson has been estimated at more than $10 billion. Certainly, genuine machine intelligence (also known as artificial general intelligence), of the sort that would power a Star Trek–like computer, capable of analyzing all sorts of queries posed in ordinary English, would be worth far more than that. .... "

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