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AI is a no-brainer for innovation

Long fuse, big bang. A great descriptor which Andrew Hargadon uses to describe the way some major innovations arrive and have impact. For a long time they exist but we hardly notice them, they are confined to limited application, there are constraints on what the technology can do and so on. But suddenly, almost as if by magic they move centre stage and seem to have impact everywhere we look.

Which is pretty much the story we now face with the wonderful world of AI. While there is plenty of debate about labels — artificial intelligence, machine learning, different models and approaches — the result is the same. Everywhere we look there is AI — and it’s already having an impact.

More than that; the pace of innovation within the world of AI is breath-taking, even by today’s rapid product cycle standards. We’ve become used to seeing major shifts in things like mobile phones, change happening on a cycle measured in months. But AI announcements of a breakthrough nature seem to happen with weekly frequency.

That’s also reflected in the extent of use — from the ‘early days’ (only last year!) of hearing about Chat GPT and other models we’ve now reached a situation where estimates suggest that millions of people are experimenting with them. Chat GPT has grown from a handful of people to over 200 million in less than a year; it added its first million subscribers within five days of launch! Similar figures show massive and rapid take -up of competing products like Anthropic’s Claude and Google’s Gemini, etc. It’s pretty clear that there’s a high-paced ‘arms race’ going on and it’s drawing in all the big players.

This rapid rate of adoption is being led by an even faster proliferation on the supply side, with many new players entering the market , especially in niche fields. As with the apps market there’s a huge number of players jumping on the bandwagon, and significant growth in the open source availability of models. And many models now allow for users to create their own custom versions — mini-GPTs’ and ‘Co-pilots’ which they can deploy for highly specific needs.

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