Academia, research institutes, corporate AI labs and venture capitalists can all provide valuable sources of information when it comes to generative AI and the field of AI in general. From medicine and education to transportation, the technology will likely touch every sector and have implications for virtually every person on Earth.
But with so much noise happening in the generative AI space, seeing the wood for the trees can be challenging. In the AI space more broadly, there are now over 4,000 papers being published every month. And the doubling rate is approximately every 23 months.
Accessing all the latest research
Cornell University’s arXiv offers access to preprints and authors who have published elsewhere as part of an open access library administered by the university.
All research is listed by keywords, so you can search for large language models, or generative AI and get notified every time a relevant piece of research is published. Industry giants such as Google, Microsoft and IBM regularly publish on the topic and their research papers can often be accessed there.
University-affiliated institutes strong in AI
There has been a rapid growth in the number of university-affiliated AI institutes around the world. In the US, for example, are Stanford’s AI Lab, MIT’s Computer Science and AI Department, and the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab.
While in the UK, notable examples include the UCL AI Centre and Cambridge University’s Computer Science department for good sources of information. Cambridge University is also beginning to develop centers for AI that focus particular sectors. Most notably, the Centre for AI in Medicine.
Corporate AI labs at the tech giants
Big tech firms such as Google, Meta, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft have all set up dedicated AI labs in the past 10 or so years. Direct monitoring of the likes of Microsoft, Google Brain, DeepMind (owned by Google), OpenAI, FAIR (Facebook AI research), and IBM can also be helpful. There are also some less high-profile organisations such as Palantir and Darktrace, which may be interesting to those following developments in topics such as cybersecurity, for example.
Expect to see more publications from corporate AI labs, especially as more academics from the university sector cross over into big tech. An analysis of AI papers published in 2020, found that in terms of the total share of the publication index, industry was responsible for 21%, with academia accounting for 79%, with Google was leading the way.
Well-placed VCs who write about AI
VC Nathan Benaich is General Partner at Air Street Capital, which invests in AI-first technology and life science companies. Benaich is also co-author of the State of AI report and he regularly publishes a Substack email digest on topics including key developments in AI research, industry, geopolitics and startups.
Government announcements hint at future regulations
From a regulatory perspective, keeping abreast of government websites where discussion papers are published is a helpful guide as to where regulation is headed. Tortoise Media has launched a Global AI Index which benchmarks 62 nations according to their level of investment, innovation and implementation of artificial intelligence. It currently ranks the US, China, UK, Canada and Israel as the top five countries for artificial intelligence development. In the US, the head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NITA), recently announced it was seeking feedback from the public, including from researchers, industry groups, and privacy and digital rights organisations on the development of audits and assessment of AI tools. Similarly, the UK government has launched a consultation aimed at shaping the future of its regulatory approach to AI. Announcements from organisations such as these indicate the direction of travel and thought processes amongst regulators.
The Alan Turing institute, which is the UK national institute for data science and artificial intelligence, has a news digest that sums up developments in the technology area. And the institute has been chosen to pilot the UK AI Standards Hub, which will provide guidance and best practices for UK companies looking into AI. You can sign up for the institute’s newsletter here.
Robert Thomas is Principal at CamIn, a strategic innovation consultancy, where he advises board-level clients on the potential impact of emerging technologies. Previously, he was an adviser to UK government ministers and private equity firms on issues ranging from agriculture and gene editing to driverless cars and the wider transportation sector. More recently, he’s worked on projects focused on professional services, sustainable construction and generative AI. During his PhD at Cambridge University, Robert focused on applications of quantum theory to materials chemistry and physics. He also completed an 18-month stint at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Germany.