Crypto is decentralizing, AI is centralizing, according to Peter Thiel. Although the venture capitalist has followed this remark with a somewhat strange ideological classification for these technologies, the premise rings true. Artificial intelligence advancement is now in the hands of huge companies such as Google, IBM, Microsoft and their Chinese counterparts.

Machine learning relies on data – the more the better – and platforms such as these have proven skilled in collecting it. They have used their competitive edge to make AI products better which draws in more users and more data – a great example of leveraging network effects. However, this has also created a problem for small actors that want to get in on the AI game.

“To create AI applications, developers need to write algorithms and use machine and deep learning but they also need images or videos to send this raw data into the algorithm’s function. This enables them to train the machine learning system to get results,” Clement Duan, founder of AIChain, told TechNode. “But, as we know now, those data resources are controlled by big companies like Alibaba or Google. It’s really hard for small and medium-sized companies to obtain data.”

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Masha Borak

Masha Borak is a technology reporter based in Beijing. Write to her at masha.borak [at] technode.com. Pitches with the word "disruptive" will be ignored. Read a good book - learn some more adjectives.