The latest edition of AI Index Report by Stanford University significantly expands the amount of data available in the report, which was drawn from a broader set of academic, private, and non-profit organizations for calibration. The report also shows the effect of COVID-19 on AI development from multiple perspectives, including how AI helps with COVID-related drug discovery and the effect of the pandemic on hiring and private investment.
- AI investment in drug design and discovery increased significantly. “Drugs, Cancer, Molecular, Drug Discovery” received the greatest amount of private AI investment in 2020, with more than USD 13.8 billion, 4.5 times higher than 2019.
- The industry shift continues. In 2019, 65% of graduating North American PhDs in AI went into industry—up from 44.4% in 2010, highlighting the greater role industry has begun to play in AI development.
- AI systems can now compose text, audio, and images to a sufficiently high standard that humans have a hard time telling the difference between synthetic and non-synthetic outputs for some constrained applications of the technology.
- China overtakes the US in AI journal citations. After surpassing the US in the total number of journal publications several years ago, China now also leads in journal citations; however, the US has consistently (and significantly) more AI conference papers (which are also more heavily cited) than China over the last decade.
- Surveillance technologies are fast, cheap, and increasingly ubiquitous. The technologies necessary for large-scale surveillance are rapidly maturing, with techniques for image classification, face recognition, video analysis, and voice identification all seeing significant progress in 2020.
- AI ethics lacks benchmarks and consensus. Though a number of groups are producing a range of qualitative or normative outputs in the AI ethics domain, the field generally lacks benchmarks that can be used to measure or assess the relationship between broader societal discussions about technology development and the development of the technology itself. Furthermore, researchers and civil society view AI ethics as more important than industrial organizations.