Scott graduated from Cardiff University with a degree in English Literature and a diploma in Magazine Journalism. He has a keen interest in disruptive tech, sport and the media. It's official, 2016 has been the year of the AI startup acquisition. Tech giants Apple, Intel, Twitter and Microsoft have all spent large sums to bring artificial intelligence startups, and their expertise, inhouse. Four of the biggest AI startup acquisitions of the last five years have come from the UK, starting with Google's purchase of Deep Mind in 2014 for a reported 400 million.
In an effort to accelerate its "machine learning," Twitter announced Wednesday that it acquired Whetlab, a Cambridge-based start-up with a focus on artificial intelligence. Details on the acquisition were not immediately available, but Whetlab said on its website that Twitter will now have access to the start-up's technology and small team as part of the deal. Whetlab is a start-up that develops artificial intelligence technologies, which can be used for things such as object recognition, speech processing and computational biology, according to the company's website. With its innovative technology, Whetlab said, it aims to make "machine learning better and faster for companies, automatically." "Rather than having to hire doctorate-wielding machine learning experts to architect and tune your system, our patent-pending technology helps your engineers -- your team that already understands your data and your needs -- get the latest and greatest deep learning techniques going in days rather than months of years," Whetlab said on its website.
At Whetlab, a startup acquired by Twitter in 2015, the technique provided a better way of--wait for it--designing neural networks. Designing a neural network is a task of extreme trial and error. It's a difficult and time-consuming undertaking, but GPs and Bayesian optimization can help automate the task. As WhetLab founder and Harvard computer scientist Ryan Adams has said, the startup used "machine learning to improve machine learning." Neural networks can suffer from the "confident error" problem, and in identifying uncertainty, this kind of optimization can help address that problem.
"Ex Machina" stars Oscar Isaac (left) and Domhnall Gleeson (right). The UK's AI scene is once again the talk of the town following the sale of Magic Pony Technology to Twitter for a reported 150 million ( 102 million). Evi was acquired by Amazon for a reported 18 million in 2013, DeepMind was bought by Google for around 400 million in 2014, VocalIQ was acquired by Apple for an unknown amount in 2015, and SwiftKey was bought by Microsoft for 175 million in 2016. The Oxbridge-London triangle is playing an important role in the creation of the UK's best AI companies, according to LocalGlobe investor Saul Klein. Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, and UCL all have deep expertise in applied mathematics, computer science, and machine learning.
In the Terminator series, Skynet is a neural network-based conscious group mind and artificial general intelligence system. In the series, the system gains self-awareness after spreading to millions of computers and starts a nuclear genocide. Obviously, that hasn't happened yet, but that doesn't mean the technology that powered Skynet isn't at least partially real. In fact, a lot of companies are doing really interesting, non-genocidal things with machine learning right here in New York City.