We are in the middle of a massive AI revolution, which is going to change the world like the invention of the wheel, discovery of fire, the renaissance, the industrial revolution, the technology boom and now, AI. and as the outcome of a new technological revolution has always been, there are going to be monetary outcomes, so who is going to profit most from this? Will it be tech giants, like Google, Microsoft, IBM etc. or the corporates with massively funded operations, or new startups with the best technological breakthroughs? And also, which counties are going to be “powerhouses” of this technology?
“I’m increasingly inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight, maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish. I mean with artificial intelligence we’re summoning the demon.” —Elon Musk warned at MIT’s AeroAstro Centennial Symposium
Let the AI games begin!
We are currently in between a AI gold rush, huge companies with almost unlimited funding are investing huge amounts of money in start ups ranging across every possible imaginable industry from automobiles to banks to healthcare and event art! Tech giants like Google, Microsoft and Amazon are already in a competition of their own having already invested $20 billion in 2016, and we are in 2018 right now! China and the EU don’t want to lose ground and fall back on this gold rush and investing about $22 billion to keep up with the growing competition.
And if you’re wondering why i’m using the term “in between” thats because there is already some form of AI all around us and we don’t even realise it. From Google’s 3.5 billion searches per day to Apple’s iphone X with face recognition to Amazon’s Alexa who we all adore. AI is everywhere! In the media today we can also see stories on how AI is helping doctors diagnose diseases, cars drive automatically, farmers yield better crops, marketers improve their performance, cybersecurity, gaming and the list keeps going on! What we fail to realise is that AI has already started to be woven into the very fabric of our existence, that day is not far away where computers will be doing most of the work for us humans. But you don’t have to worry about AI wanting to take over the world anytime soon because that’s far from reality.
So who is going to find the gold in this gold rush?
What exactly creates the value in AI?
The factors that hold value in the world of AI and who could profit from it can be categorised into 6 categories:
- Chip makers
- Platform and infrastructure providers
- Enabling models and algorithm providers
- Enterprise solution providers
- Industry vertical solution providers
We’ll talk about the different categories below along with the industry names attached in detail below with brief descriptions.
1) Who will be the leading chip makers?
Firstly, let’s talk about why chips or hardware? Although the computation power of chips is rising, the price falling, AI requires extremely high performing chips with the enormous data sets and trillions of calculations required to train the algorithm, AI has a huge appetite for powerful yet fast and efficient hardware. After all this is going to be behind what is going to power their ginormous brains. NVIDIA’s stock is up by 1500% from the past 2 years because of their high performance GPU’s ( Graphic Processing Unit) which provided gamers with the best gaming experience, was perfect to feed the appetite of machine learning algorithms. Google recently launched its second generation Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), and Microsoft is building its own AI machine learning chip Brainwave. At the same time other chip manufacturers like Graphcore, IBM, Qualcomm and AMD are just not standing and watching, they too are working to stay in the competition. The Chinese are keeping up in the race with their own AI chip along with Cambricon Technologies. Tesla too recently launched their own chip hardware 3 powering their self driving cars.
One thing to be noted is that manufacturing and maintaining such high performance chips as world leaders in not a cheap task. It requires very high funding and a world class team of experts. Hence, there are very few companies that can afford this and the winners in this race are mostly going to be few and are already world leaders in someway.
Summary: NVIDIA, Google, IBM and Microsoft and other giants with deep pockets are going to dominate in this market.
2) Best infrastructure and platform clouds for AI
The AI race is heading to the clouds as companies are running out of space for the vast amounts of data required for training machine learning models. Amazon realized this early and already controls the cloud market with their AWS (Amazon Web Services). Why cloud? Because for small companies and startups it’s always a better option to rent storage that to invest in new servers and computers. And in this field again, the competition is between tech giants. Microsoft has their own hybrid private and public cloud services Azure, with over a million computers. Google also wants a piece of the pie with its own cloud service Google cloud, the Chinese again are making a mark with Alibaba taking a global place on the leader board.
Summary: Yet again, tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Apple and IBM are going to continue to dominate the markets as they already have been along with scaling new companies like Alibaba, NTT, oracle etc. there might not be any space available for any new competition.
3) Best enabling algorithms
As of today, Google is the largest AI company in the world, rightfully so too, with its vast data sets enabled by the billions of searches and spending almost small country size GDP’s on its R&D attracting some of the best AI minds in the world. Google already uses AI and ML powering their searches, autonomous vehicles, speech recognition, intelligent reasoning, and even its own work on drug discovery and disease diagnosis.
And the machine learning softwares’ and algorithms enabling google to do all this, Tensorflow, is also being made available for free! Tensorflow is now a open source library being made available to anyone for free. But Google has a very good reason behind this. There are about 20 million companies in the world today that can benefit from AI and ML and by using Google’s library. But these companies will also require huge amount of computational power and who else better to offer that? With Google’s cloud already being optimised for Tensorflow and other reliant softwares’. Once companies start to use their services they become very sticky customers of Google for many years to come. It truly is a race to the finish with Microsoft and IBM also doing the same.
Similarly IBM is offering its Watson Cognitive products and services which has 20 or so API’S for chatbots, vision, language, knowledge and speech that can be plugged into corporate software to create AI enabled software. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that about a million developers are using their their AI API’S tools and services for AI powered apps and about 300,000 developers are using their tools for chatbots.
Summary: This is yet another market where tech giants with deep pockets are going to dominate the race.
4) The best enterprise solutions
Firstly, what is an enterprise solution?
Enterprise solutions are designed to integrate multiple facets of a company’s business through the interchange of information from various business process areas and related databases. These solutions enable companies to retrieve and disseminate mission-critical data throughout the organization, providing managers with real-time operating information.
This field is dominated by giants like Salesforce, IBM, Oracle and SAP. they fully recognize the potential of AI in this field and many other smaller companies and startups are trying to establish their dominance in the field
This one field is which new companies or startups can profit a lot and grow provided they are able to provide best in class tools and services for their clients. And as it is in any competition there will only be a hand full of winners and it is also possible that the best performing or “threatening” startups can be scooped up by bigger giants.
5) Best vertical solutions
So what are vertical solutions? a vertical solutions provider (VSP) is a company that focuses on delivering industry-specific application hosting services to customers in a specific vertical market such as manufacturing, health care, retailing, or financial service. A VSP is a type of application service provider (ASP) that enables a company in a particular vertical market to take advantage of Internet technologies and applications without having to acquire the know-how and other resources on its own. For example, a retailer could hire a VSP to configure and administer its shopping cart, inventory management and credit-card processing applications on a continuing basis, saving the company the need to hire, train, and pay its own administrators.
And the AI race has entered into this section too with startups trying to incorporate AI into various fields to provide services such as mentioned. Many startups are providing valuable point solutions and can succeed if they have access to 1) large and proper training datasets 2) domain knowledge that gives them insights into the opportunities within a sector 3) a deep pool of talent around AI 4) capital for funding in research.
There are already a few startups that have raised considerable amount of revenue based on their services provided, which means that there is a scope for newer companies to win the gold rush, provided they have the 4 resources mentioned above.
6) nations that will benefit the most
The competition is not just between companies or corporates but also between nations. The nations do not want to fall back or sit in the backlines and watch this epic battle. In fact, the nations that benefit the most and win this rush might also be the next superpowers in the years to come.
China is already doing its best to stay in the competition and has invested $20 billion and they lead AI tech in data privacy and facial recognition. The Chinese are at a slight advantage and this one such situation where their high population puts them on top, because more people only means more data! They have also stated that their mobile market is 3x the size of the US with 50x times more transactions taking place via mobiles.
The Europian focus on data privacy regulation can put them at a disadvantage even though they are willing to spend $22 billion.
Countries like Japan, Germany, UK and France as well are not sitting still and are investing heavily across various fields of AI
In this matter it’s hard to say which country might win the race but it’s going to be a brutal battle. (not literally)
Where does India stand among all of this?
India could potentially be a AI hub of the world in the years to come, it is both efficient and capable- say researchers.
In this rush for gold in AI, countries are trying to invest in making themselves prominent, because winning this competition could lead to global dominance. As of now, only superpowers like the USA and china have already started investing heavily, we might be a little behind in that front and we even lack tech giants like google, amazon, IBM and behemoths like baidu and alibaba. We even lack the researchers and the capital to invest in state of the arts laboratories. But, what we do have to offer is a vast engineering workforce, a burgeoning start up scene and increasing amount of data with people buying more and more smartphones and go online. And to top it off, the indian government is investing in startups focusing on AI and machine learning.
Hurdles to overcome
There are a few hurdles on our way to deploying AI on a massive scale, the first on being, its expensive, and second one being the lack or resources. India currently lacks the expertise to do the research and apply it or the vast networks of data to enable it. Lastly, there is very little awareness about the technology and the risks it poses to privacy and security. And that arises a new field to invest in, data regulation. Because without regulation it involves a big risk.
Top 10 indian companies that are based on AI developing unique solutions to solve problems across various sectors.
Active.ai is a FinTech AI startup that uses AI to deliver banking services to bring automation and insightful customer engagement to banks. Their advanced technology helps customers have natural conversations over messaging or chatbots.
HQ : Singapore
Founded in : 2016
Founders: Parikshit Paspulati, Ravi Shankar, Shankar Narayanan
AIndra Systems is a technology ai startup that builds products in the artificial intelligence domain that can solve high impact problems. They are focused in the area of artificial intelligence, and specifically computer vision. Some of their products include SmartAttendanceCampus and SmartVerifyHealth.
Founded In: 2012
Founders: Adarsh Natarajan, Abhishek Mishra
Artivatic Data Labs helps individuals make better personalized decisions. They provide an unparalleled view into an individual’s personalized interest, taste, health, lifestyle, fitness, eating, entertainment and physiologic response in real time.
Founded In: 2016
Founders: Layak Singh
Arya.ai is one of the best artificial intelligence companies that provides tools to simplify the process of building intelligent systems. They want to enable developer to build strong AI systems and products in the shortest period possible to help solve complex issues.
Founded In: Vinay Kumar Sankarapu, Deekshith Marla
Braina is a virtual personal assistant and voice recognition software for Windows PC that lets users interact with their computers with voice commands in English. They have an Android app with built-in speech recognition that allows users to interact with their PC from anywhere in the house.
Founded In: 2013
Founders: Akash Shastri
CruxIQ is an artificial intelligence startup that helps you analyze legal contracts and extract information to help you keep important clauses at your fingertips. Their features include contract organization, deviation analysis, RAG analysis.
Headquarters: Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Founded In: 2014
Founders: Krishna Sundaresan
7. Fluid AI
Fluid AI believes in the power of artificial intelligence to solve the most unique and biggest problems in different sectors like web, government, finance, and marketing. Their solutions also include a highly accurate facial recognition service.
Founders: Abhinav Aggarwal
Formcept is a data analysis platform that provides companies with actionable insights quickly and affordably. It can be used by decision makers, data Stewards, analysts/scientists.Their platform is available on premise and on private/public cloud.
Headquarters: Bangalore, Karnataka
Founded In: 2011
Founders: Anuj Kumar, Suresh Srinivasan
Glib is an intelligent communication platform that helps businesses automate communication and increase customer satisfaction through improving customer engagement. They can be used in sectors like finance, e-commerce, food, events, travel, and hospitality.
Headquarters: Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Founded In: 2013
Founders: Mohit Shah
Haptik is one of the top ai companies that has a platform powered by both AI and real humans to change the way people get their day-to-day jobs done. Haptik can help you set reminders, find places around you, plan your travel, book a cab, recharge & pay your bills, web check-in.
Founded In: 2013
Founders: Aakrit Vaish