Are Google, Meta and Amazon’s AI instruments hampering innovation? – DW – 05/28/2024 | EUROtoday

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It could be good if innovation may occur “just by dreaming,” says Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, who stresses that imagining issues is “crucial for being innovative.”

That is why the professor of data science at Oxford University believes synthetic intelligence (AI) will not have the ability to compete with human creativity in the meanwhile.

“Humans can imagine things that don’t exist yet,” he instructed DW, as a result of regardless of being educated on huge datasets AI is working with information from the previous.

So, the datasets used for machine studying mirror what we are able to be taught from the previous for the current, he added, enabling AI to make insights from collected information extra accessible, “but it doesn’t invent anything new.”

If the current or the longer term differs considerably from the previous, AI can’t assist us discover the correct options. For instance, if folks throughout Henry Ford’s time had been requested what they wished, most would have doubtless stated “a faster horse” — an answer rooted in previous experiences.

Henry Ford, his son Edsel and his wife Clara riding a Ford car
Henry Ford based the Ford Motor CompanyImage: TelePress/United Archives/image alliance

Living in much less revolutionary instances

AI is thus a instrument for evaluating massive datasets and growing effectivity, particularly in economically steady instances. However, we don’t dwell in steady instances. The challenges posed by local weather change require improvements past present capabilities.

Paradoxically, the tempo of innovation has slowed down regardless of speedy developments in AI, stated Mayer-Schönberger.

Ufuk Akcigit, an economics professor on the University of Chicago, and Sina T. Ates from the board of the US Federal Reserve each have noticed a slowdown in productiveness development within the United States.

“The entry rate of new businesses has decreased, productivity growth has slowed down, the labor share of output has decreased, while market concentration and the corporate profit share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) have increased,” they wrote in a latest paper on declining US enterprise dynamism.

The researchers discovered that the dynamism of innovation in American corporations has decreased for the reason that Eighties, and much more noticeably for the reason that 2000s.

They attribute this to inadequate competitors between main corporations and their rivals, partly as a result of data will not be shared sufficiently. This prevents latecomers to markets from studying from the advances of the leaders and rising themselves. As a end result, there’s much less aggressive stress on the large gamers, who, with out competitors, have fewer incentives to innovate.

Data center computer racks in a network security server room
Big information corporations have an enormous aggressive benefit with their enormous information storage and processing capacitiesImage: Benis Arapovic/Zoonar/Alliance Pictures

Sharing the uncooked materials of innovation

The prime mover of modern-day innovation is information. With the assistance of AI, massive quantities of information could be more and more well-analyzed.

According to the Federation of German Industries (BDI), ever extra information is being collected, with the amount having elevated 10 instances between 2012 and 2022, and anticipated to triple once more by 2025.

This is the place main digital corporations like Google, Amazon, and Facebook come into play. These corporations accumulate huge quantities of information, thus turning into extra environment friendly whereas on the similar time stopping entry to their information wealth for others.

“Although these digital giants are reputed to be pioneers, they actually slow down innovation processes and progress by hoarding data,” stated Mayer-Schönberger, including that rival corporations, in addition to public establishments and scientific organizations, are shut out.

How do Big Data analytics work?

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Reinforcing oligopoly constructions

These days, it’s also extra frequent for revolutionary corporations to be merely purchased out by massive companies, stated Mayer-Schönberger. He famous that about 20 years in the past greater than three-quarters of profitable Silicon Valley startups selected to go public, whereas at this time, three-quarters are already swallowed up by the likes of Google and Facebook even earlier than they go public.

The Oxford University researcher warns this isn’t solely hampering innovation however can also be presenting a systemic danger to financial development. He likened the scenario to driving on a freeway the place if one automobile’s brakes fail, it is unhealthy sufficient, but when all of the automobiles have the identical defective brakes as a result of there is just one sort of automobile, it results in a disaster.

This dilemma can solely be resolved, he stated, if policymakers be certain that information is extra freely accessible.

“There is no property right to data,” Mayer-Schönberger stated, like “intellectual property rights, authorship, and patent rights produced through human thought.” Data, nevertheless, “cannot establish ownership,” he added.

While the EU’s Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act are steps in the correct route, Mayer-Schönberger stated, particularly schooling techniques should even be restructured to offer the subsequent era with “incentives to dream purposefully.”

“It’s not about memorizing a 19th Century poem but about seeing the world with different eyes,” he stated, as a result of innovation does not want “streamlined, diligent ants, but uncomfortable mavericks.”

This article was initially written in German.