Artificial Intelligence

by Kevin P. Bhatla

January 20, 2020

Artificial Intelligence (AI) today is a series of buzz words. However, what does it mean to be powered by artificial intelligence and what is the state of the industry?

To get a better understanding of AI, we need to put it in context. AI is not just any new technology. The internal combustion engine was a new technology back in the 19thcentury. It revolutionized how we travel. But it did not affect everything. However, the discovery of electricity did change everything. Anything that used moving electrons to power itself was subject to change, namely the lightbulb, the fan, manufacturing, and a vast number of other industries. To be clear, the discovery and use of electricity was more important than the discovery of the Internal combustion engine. AI is comparable to electricity, not the internal combustion engine. 

To be powered by artificial intelligence means to use one of four technologies, supervised learning, deep learning, reinforcement learning, and unsupervised learning. Supervised learning is about figuring out simple input and output responses and mapping them. Joining lots of input and output pairs gives us deep learning. The technology using deep learning includes speech recognition, image recognition, and Natural language processing (NLP) Reinforcement learning is when the software agent takes action in pursuit of a cumulative reward. In terms of unsupervised learning, it is used in a much more limited sense in the real world. It involves using data to come up a concept of an object without the input output pairs. In other words, learning without labelled data. 

What is the state of artificial intelligence today?

There are a handful of companies that dominate the patent space in terms of Artificial Intelligence. Artificial Intelligence (AI) in an all-encompassing word. Within AI, machine learning is the dominant AI technique used and discussed in AI patents. The filing of machine learning patents has grown annually by 28%. There were 20,195 patent applications filed in 2016, compared to 9,567 in 2013. Companies from Japan, United States of America (U.S.) and China dominate the patent space. Companies represent 26 out of the top 30 AI patent applicants, only 4 are public research organizations or universities.

In terms of companies, IBM has the largest portfolio of application with 8,290 inventions, followed by Microsoft with 5,930. The top five applicants include Toshiba with 5,223 patent applications, Samsung with 5,102 applications, and NEC with 4,406 applications. 


State of AI report (2019) Retrieved from on January 20, 2020.

Artificial Intelligence (Jan 20, 2020) Retrieved from

AI: the new Electricity (2019) Retrieved from

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