Creating The AI Market
A review of the key actors defining and driving the market
Here we will discuss the most important actors that are working to shape and drive AI market forward.
This section is aimed at people who are interested in the commercial, business and strategic aspects of what AI market looks like and where it is headed.
In the four Podcasts in this Module we are going to take a close look at:
- The 600lb gorillas crushing everyone else: Google, Facebook, IBM, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Samsung.
- Open source and self-governance: In this Podcast we will look at initiatives like OpenAI, the idea of offering AI as a service and other ‘put it all out there’ initiatives. We will also look at to what extent key actors like Google are genuinely trying to foster an opensource ecosystem around AI? Will relentless commercial pressure to grow force key actors to try to control the big AI platforms in a way that, for example, Google has created the dominant platforms for online search and digital advertising? Will AI be any different? And is AI just another technology or would a globally-dominant AI platform be transcendent in some way?
- Regulation & policy: How regulators and politicians are slowly waking up to AI and what they might do to put the brakes on – the situation with UBER and growing concerns about the power of Facebook and Google suggests that the possibility of strong policy intervention in AI cannot be discounted.
- The ‘financial & military’ industrial complex: Here we will look at how AI is going to affect two of the central pillars of our system by considering the possibility (or nightmare) of running the banking system or parts of the financial services industry using AI and discussing how the fact that a ‘Terminator’ type bot is already technically feasible is shaping long-range military strategic planning.
It is not possible within the constraints of this Module to due justice to all the major actors shaping the AI market.
For instance we cannot look in any detail at the AI startup scene. And we’re going to push societal factors – which could put a brake on how fast the AI market develops – into the section on Economic Impact.
But we will still manage to cover all the relevant bases, at least in passing and where clearly relevant.
Silicon Valley vs. The concept of money
I sense an almighty clash coming sometime in the next decade or so between the financial industry and the technology industry over who, or what controls the economy.
Given that Silicon Valley applauds big, disruptive thinking – what about rethinking the concept of money itself? How about running the whole economy using a global AI system that approves or denies exchanges in real time using an idea, rather than money.
This might not be as far-fetched as it sounds: the whole economy is a giant intellectual construct held up by confidence that has minimal connection with anything tangible. The rise of crypto currencies like BitCoin suggests that the economy is moving another step towards enabling exchanges based on a virtual idea (an imaginary coin in the case of BitCoin) that can float in value.
But what if that idea was replaced with another idea (like a definable contribution to society – defined in a unit, like ‘contribs’ and and pegged to something that we can all understand).
Such a concept would be extremely threatening to the entire banking and financial services industry and would be very strongly resisted – but the concept makes perfect sense and could in principle be implemented using AI.
But taking on the banking and finance sectors will be extremely tough
So far, the tech industry has been carefully targeting individual industries and then using digital technology to disrupt and downsize those industries, while delivering more absolute value to end users (an effect that cannot be captured by tracking GDP, by the way – which we’ll look at in Module 8).
Digital disruption started around 1999 with the music industry, then moved to newspapers, then advertising and now television. And there will be more – eventually including financial services and banking, which we are now beginning to see with the emergence of FinTech.
But taking on the might of the global financial services industry – which is as massively powerful as it is massively bloated – will be another matter entirely.
What has this got to do with AI?
The answer is that I know for a fact that some people at a senior level at a certain very large Internet company believe that AI will one day be able to do a better job of running the economy than the current banking system. And that day need not be decades in the future.
We’ll look at this and many other super interesting points in detail in the podcasts in this module.