Stanford’s sixth annual AI Index takes stock of a rapidly growing field.
What’s new: The sprawling, 386-page report from the Institute for Human-Centered AI presents the past year’s developments in AI based on a wide variety of sources including benchmarks, papers, market research, job listings, and polls. (You can find info about earlier editions here.)
Reasons for celebration: The report highlights several positive trends:
- In 2022, 50 percent of companies reported that they had adopted AI in at least one business unit or function. This figure has fluctuated between around 50 and 60 percent since 2018. 63 percent of companies that have adopted AI reported an increase in revenue, and 37 percent reported lower costs.
- Scientists used AI to make important breakthroughs. Among them: controlling plasma for nuclear fusion, improving algorithms for matrix multiplication, designing novel antibodies for drug discovery, and improving the power efficiency of chips.
- Researchers express increasing interest in AI ethics. The 2022 Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency received 772 papers, more than double the previous year’s submissions.
- While training large AI models continues to have an outsized carbon footprint, evidence suggests that this could change. In 2022, training BLOOM emitted as much carbon dioxide as an average human would in four years. In 2020, training GPT-3, which is around the same size, emitted more than an average human would in 91 years.
Causes for concern: Not everything in the report is rosy:
- Global private-sector investment in AI declined to $92 billion in 2022 from around $125 billion in 2021.
- Questionable uses of AI are on the rise. A clearinghouse of such incidents recorded 260 incidents in 2022, 26 times higher than it had recorded a decade earlier. A few notable incidents include: A deepfaked video of Ukrainian president Voldymyr Zelenskyy calling for Ukrainians to surrender to Russia, U.S. prisons using AI to transcribe prisoners’ phone calls, and a gang-tracking tool criticized for having a racial bias.
- The field continues to struggle with gender diversity. Women receive 22 percent of new North American bachelor’s degrees in computer science, up from 10 percent a decade ago.
Behind the news: The new report surveyed the AI’s recent past, but other measures indicate the near-term future. An April study by investment bank Goldman Sachs found that generative AI could boost the global productivity by 7 percent in the coming decade as it automates tasks that affect 300 million full-time jobs. Meanwhile, at the startup incubator Y Combinator, AI is at the heart of 34 percent of newly formed companies — the highest number on record.
Why it matters: The AI Index offers a sober yet exciting summary of AI’s march into all areas of society. Immense opportunities and grave challenges alike lie ahead.
We’re thinking: Focusing on 2022, this report doesn’t reflect the staggering impact of generative AI — a reminder of the extraordinary pace of development as well as AI’s potential in areas well beyond the current buzz.