China has overtaken the United States in total number of AI research citations, fewer AI startups are receiving funding, and Congress is talking about AI more than ever. Those are three major trends highlighted in the 2021 AI Index, an annual report released today by Stanford University. Now in its fourth year, the AI Index attempts to document advances in artificial intelligence, as well as the technology’s impact on education, startups, and government policy. The report details progress in the performance of major subdomains of AI, like deep learning, image recognition, and object detection, as well as in areas like protein folding.
The AI Index is compiled by the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence and an 11-member steering committee, with contributors from Harvard University, OECD, the Partnership on AI, and SRI International. The AI Index utilizes datasets from a range of sources, like AI research data from arXiv, funding data from Crunchbase, and surveys of groups like Black in AI and Queer in AI. A major trend also identified in the report is the industrialization of AI, said Jack Clark, head of an OECD group working on algorithm impact assessment and former policy director for OpenAI.
“I think the story to me is that AI is industrializing, and we don’t quite know how to assess the industrialization of it holistically because we sort of lack a lot of the data that you’d expect would exist. And I think that’s because AI has just gone from ‘doesn’t work’ to ‘works well enough for commercial deployment’ way more quickly than you might expect. And that means … everyone’s racing, including the research community, to keep up with the pace of commercial deployments,” he said.
Other major takeaways from the report: