The pandemic that is raging around the world has already plunged the planet into the worst recession since the end of World War II, at a cost of $ 9 trillion, according to the World Bank. The losses appear to save nothing and no one, and it has already reached a sector that, until the end of 2019, had not seen a drop: deep learning technology.
Who drew attention to the devastating effect of covid-19 on the artificial intelligence market was Google software engineer François Chollet, in a series of Twitter posts:
I think it's clear that for many smaller companies that invested in deep learning, it turned out not to be essential and got cut post-Covid as part of downsizings. There are somewhat fewer people doing deep learning now than half a year ago, for the first time since at least 2010
— François Chollet (@fchollet) August 30, 2020
“For many small companies, investment in AI proved to be non-essential and was cut because of the pandemic. There are fewer people in AI now than there were six months ago, for the first time since 2010. This is evident in the declining job openings. I think this is an indicator of an economic recession, not the beginning of a winter for AI. For now, it is only a short-term effect of the shock caused by the pandemic caused by the new coronavirus. In addition, the drop in total use of deep learning is very small, ”wrote Chollet.
The engineer shows data collected on the professional social network LinkedIn in job ads that mention deep machine learning. “Pause for the holidays, strong increase in 2020 and the collapse, starting in February.”
Market exists, but no funding for AI development. Companies that kept an eye on the future and research in the machine learning industry paralyzed activities as a way to cut costs in the face of the global recession.
A breather in the US market (world center of the pandemic and in recession since February) was the announcement of $ 1 billion in government funding for quantum and artificial intelligence research.
Research institutes will receive $ 765 million (some will be responsible for training the next generation of AI specialists). Private companies (such as IBM and Microsoft) will contribute the rest.