Extremely busy week in the AI world, particularly because of the 2019 annual CES conference. Lots of companies announced new product developments, partnerships, and investment in their AI strategy.
One of the biggest CES developments came from Xiaomi, who announced a $1.5bn investment in AI and smart devices. The recently IPO’d tech company is looking to expand aggressively, likely driven in part from the Chinese stock market’s recent sell off. Other weekly news can be found below.
Some end of the year AI blues for the U.S. gov’t. Recent reports have indicated the Pentagon is concerned the U.S. is losing its AI advantage to China and Europe. Democratic lawmakers also pushed back against a compromise bill for self-driving vehicles. Will be interesting to see how legislature approaches AI in 2019. My guess is it will slip again, but hopefully I’m proven wrong.
Despite recent reports of Chinese VCs pulling back AI investment, many top AI players continue to raise large amounts of cash. ByteDance, the $75bn unicorn that has now surpassed Uber’s valuation, is in talks to raise another $1.45bn. The use of proceeds is to pursue their aggressive global expansion plans.
Meanwhile in the U.S., Republican Senator John Thune and Democratic Senator Gary Peters circulated a draft of a revised self-driving vehicle bill aimed at breaking a legislative stalemate. With the pace of innovation in the field, let’s hope they get this passed sooner rather than later.
The creep factor from China was pretty high this week. To start, ~30 of the brightest young minds in China have been recruited to develop AI weapons for the government. These kids aren’t even in college yet, and are already doing this kind of work. Meanwhile surveillance in the country has reached a new level as the government is now able to identify people based on the way they walk. Looks like hiding your face won’t work anymore. Finally, China revealed an AI news anchor for its state run media. It’s pretty weird and I don’t really know how to interpret this. Other than the awkward lip movements the AI is pretty solid. I see potential for this to become a common fixture for pushing propaganda 24/7 (since AI doesn’t need a break like us obviously), but hopefully I’m proven wrong.
Big week highlight this week is Baidu’s development of simultaneous language translation through one of their AI programs. It’s considered a major step forward in the natural language processing realm.
Elsewhere on the M&A side Lyft made an acquisition of Blue Vision to further enhance their autonomous vehicle program.
This week we saw some interesting M&A activity. Microsoft made yet another acquisition in the field of AI. This time they acquired Lobe, who’s developed an AI drag and drop tool. In addition we saw U.K. based Medopad acquire Sherbit to continue to enhance their AI driven disease detection solutions. KPMG has previously said Medopad… Read More »
Quite a few interesting trends this week in AI. On the fundraising side, we saw three different AI startups focused on infrastructure raise capital. I can see this trend continuing as there is no shortage of energy, transportation, and other infrastructure-related assets that could benefit from improvements in maintenance efficiencies through the use of AI.… Read More »
Big week for fundraising and autonomous vehicle related partnerships. Highlights include Kroger’s partnership with Nuro for driverless grocery deliveries, Ford’s partnership with Baidu, Nvidia/Bosch/Volkswagen partnership, and Audi’s partnership with Cognata. It’s becoming obvious that these partnerships are vital to stay competitive in the space. Meanwhile, both Microsoft and IBM have made progress with eliminating bias… Read More »