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Annual State of AI report highlights breakthroughs but also flags concerns

15th October 2020 about a 2 minute read

The State of AI 2020 report is published this month shining a spotlight on research breakthroughs and new commercial applications as well as some of the main political developments in the field.

The report, now in its third year, aims to “connect the dots” between AI research, industry and policy. Its authors invited 25 up-and-coming AI start-ups to share new data for the publication.

Among the issues flagged up is that although openness is vital for the machine learning community, the field is becoming more closed with only 15% of papers publishing their code. 

Introducing the report, its authors, digital tech experts Ian Hogarth and Nathan Benaich, say they want to provoke an informed debate about the state of AI and its implications for the future. “We believe that AI will be a force multiplier on technological progress in our increasingly digital, data-driven world. This is because everything around us today, ranging from culture to consumer products, is a product of intelligence.”

New trends

Ian Hogarth tweeted that among the trends he is struck by is how the first wave of AI drug discovery start-ups are thriving. “We are particularly impressed with Edinburgh’s Exscientia whose AI designed drug for OCD patients is now in clinical trials.”

He added that biology is experiencing its “AI moment” with over 21,000 research papers involving AI methods in biology in 2020 alone (50% up on last year).

Among the report’s predictions for the next 12 months is that Facebook makes a major breakthrough in augmented and visual reality with 3D computer vision. 

It also says that DeepMind will make a major breakthrough in structural biology and drug discovery beyond its AlphaFold algorithm.