The growing influence of industry in AI research
Nur Ahmed and Muntasir Wahed
For decades, artificial intelligence (AI) research has coexisted in academia and industry, but the balance is tilting toward industry as deep learning, a data-and-compute-driven subfield of AI, has become the leading technology in the field. Industry’s AI successes are easy to see on the news, but those headlines are the heralds of a much larger, more systematic shift as industry increasingly dominates the three key ingredients of modern AI research: computing power, large datasets, and highly skilled researchers. This domination of inputs is translating into AI research outcomes: Industry is becoming more influential in academic publications, cutting-edge models, and key benchmarks. And although these industry investments will benefit consumers, the accompanying research dominance should be a worry for policy-makers around the world because it means that public interest alternatives for important AI tools may become increasingly scarce.