Nearly 140 private companies working to advance artificial intelligence technologies have been acquired since 2011, with over 40 acquisitions taking place in 2016 alone (as of 10/7/2016). Corporate giants like Google, IBM, Yahoo, Intel, Apple and Salesforce, are competing in the race to acquire private AI companies, with Samsung emerging as a new entrant this month with its acquisition of startup Viv Labs, which is developing a Siri-like AI assistant.
This article originally ran in Term Sheet, Fortune's newsletter about deals and dealmakers. Last year, the U.S. tech titans slowed their pace of acquisitions, but three companies bucked that trend: Google, Intel, and Salesforce.com. Of the three, Salesforce had the highest acceleration of deals. Last year the $53 billion software company did 120% more acquisitions than it did in 2015, according to CB Insights. I spoke with John Somorjai, the EVP of corporate development and Salesforce Ventures, about AI startups, startup valuations, how the company deals with coop-etition, and what's overhyped.
Salesforce.com has signed a definite agreement to acquire Coolan, the developer of a platform for data center hardware analysis and optimization. The acquisition appears to be designed to help Salesforce boost its own infrastructure for its customer relationship management software. "Once the transaction has closed, the Coolan team will help Salesforce optimize its infrastructure as it scales to support customer growth around the world," Amir Michael, Coolan's cofounder and CEO wrote in a blog post on Thursday. A Salesforce spokeswoman confirmed the acquisition. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
This article discusses several effective techniques for expert system knowledge acquisition based on the techniques that were successfully used to develop the Central Office Maintenance Printout Analysis and Suggestion System (COMPASS). Knowledge acquisition is not a science, and expert system developers and experts must tailor their methodologies to fit their situation and the people involved. Developers of future expert systems should find a description of proven knowledge-acquisition techniques and an account of the experience of the COMPASS project in applying these techniques to be useful in developing their own knowledge-acquisition procedures.