How Will A.I. Look in the Future? Apple, Google, and Tesla Will Fight for Control

A.I. will play a big role in future tech, but it's looking bleak for pure startups.

Mike Brown/Inverse

Artificial intelligence has grown from a research curiosity to a staple of roadmaps for key tech players. At The Europas conference on Tuesday, three panelists sat down to discuss where A.I. may be heading next. There was general agreement that smarter computers will become the norm, but it’s more likely that big players will build up in-house research capabilities.

“I think there will be very few startups that are pure A.I.,” said John Henderson, an early stage investor at White Star Capital. What’s more likely, Henderson explained is that the big players will build out their own research labs to work on in-house projects.

Azeem Azhar, an entrepreneur that runs The Exponential View, sees the A.I. world looking very small in 10 years time. Beyond big players like Apple, Google, and Tesla, there will only be a handful of small startups working in A.I.

“In terms of building a company just for the technology, without actually a product market fit…probably, you saw the first couple and that’s gonna be it,” said Anita Schjøll Brede, CEO of, a company aiming to interpret science research using A.I.

For the big players, A.I. will play a crucial role in day-to-day operations. Take Tesla for example. The company’s Autopilot feature has accrued over 100 million miles of data. This data is crucial for improving its semi-autonomous system by learning about driving at highway speeds.

This drive for more and more data was a stumbling block for George Hotz, whose self-driving car kit will need 100,000 miles of driving data for data-driven development. Fortunately, Hotz told Inverse that it’s an easy goal to reach, and he still expects to ship a $1,000 self-driving car kit by the end of 2016.

As more car companies incorporate computer-based drivers, the need for machine learning will increase. “Arguably Tesla is as much of an A.I. machine learning company as it is a car company,” said Azhar.

This approach of building A.I. into daily operations will repeat itself across the tech industry. With Facebook Chatbots, Apple Siri, and Amazon Echo already on shelves, the new A.I. industry has already begun to take shape.

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