The AI race: To the victor the spoils

SAN FRANCISCO • The resounding win by a Google artificial intelligence (AI) programme over a champion in the complex board game Go this month was a statement – not so much to professional game players as to Google’s competitors. Many of the tech industry’s biggest companies, like Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft, are jockeying to become the go-to company for AI. In the industry’s lingo, they are engaged in a “platform war”. A platform, in technology, is essentially a piece of software that other companies build on and that consumers cannot do without. Become the platform and huge profits will follow. Microsoft dominated personal computers because its Windows software became the centre of the consumer software world. Google has come to dominate the Internet through its ubiquitous search bar. If…

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