The Rise of AI Is Forcing Google and Microsoft to Become Chipmakers

By now our future is clear: We are to be cared for, entertained, and monetized by artificial intelligence. Existing industries like healthcare and manufacturing will become much more efficient; new ones like augmented reality goggles and robot taxis will become possible.But as the tech industry busies itself with building out this brave new artificially intelligent, and profit boosting, world, it’s hitting a speed bump: Computers aren’t powerful and efficient enough at the specific kind of math needed. While most attention to the AI boom is understandably focused on the latest exploits of algorithms beating humans at poker or piloting juggernauts, there’s a less obvious scramble going on to build a new breed of computer chip needed to power our AI future.One datapoint that shows how great that need is: software companies Google and Microsoft have become entangled in the messy task of creating their own chips. They’re being raced by a new crop of startups peddling their own AI-centric silicon—and probably Apple, too. As well as transforming our lives with intelligent machines, the contest could shake up the established chip industry.Microsoft revealed its AI chip-making project late on Sunday. At a computer vision conference in Hawaii, Harry Shum, who leads…


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