RAAIS is a community of AI entrepreneurs, researchers, and operators focused on the science and applications of AI technology. After every annual event, we take a temperature check on the AI ecosystem by surveying our attendees. Survey respondents are both speakers and attendees representing large technology companies, startups, investors and academic institutions. We’d like to share anonymous, aggregate results from RAAIS 2019 here and provide comparisons to the data we collected after RAAIS 2018. Of the respondents to our 2019 survey, almost half had attended RAAIS 2018, which provides a reasonable basis for comparison across years.
How would you rate the current state of the AI ecosystem in Europe?
Next, we wanted to take a temperature check on the European AI ecosystem. The cross-sectional nature of RAAIS attendees means that we can compare the views of specific constituents, each with their own vantage point. For example, researchers are usually more pragmatic and realistic whereas startups by their nature tend to be more optimistic.
Interestingly, however, our data shows that corporates, startups, and academics seem to share similarly positive views on the European AI ecosystem. Not only were respondents across categories are on average 10% more bullish than last year, but it was the speakers that saw the most potential. This is noteworthy because our 2018 and 2019 speakers skew very heavily towards the United States (80%+). We believe this reflects a growing realization from American technology companies that there is both depth and breadth to Europe’s potential in AI development and research. Indeed, this is further reinforced by several acquisitions of AI startups by US technology companies in the last 12 months (e.g. Facebook/Bloomsbury.ai and Niantic/Matrix Mill, both of which gave at least one talk at earlier RAAIS events).
How would you assess overall AI progress over the last 12 months?
All attendees and speakers at RAAIS are actively working on AI-based technology products or publishing AI research. As such, they form a qualified cohort from which to sample an informed opinion on overall progress in AI. Here, we can see that the twelve months between RAAIS 2018 and 2019 were, in fact, regarded as being 10% more significant in terms of AI progress than the preceding 12 months on average. Speakers tended to be more bullish (4.4/5) than other attendee categories, whereas academics showed the strongest increase year-on-year.
Indeed, the last 12 months has played host to the successful IPO of CrowdStrike (an AI cybersecurity business), the $2bn acquisition of Cylance (another AI cybersecurity startup) by Blackberry, and large financing rounds for Graphcore, Nuro, Aurora, Zymergen, Data Robot, Darktrace, and UiPath amongst many others. To learn more about the specific areas of AI progress, do have a read of the State of AI Report.
How would you assess the future potential of the AI ecosystem in Europe?
Finally, we gauged the future outlook for AI in Europe. Across the board, respondents were more positive about future progress from the 2019 vantage point than last year’s. We see this is an encouraging vote of confidence that real value is being created in the backdrop of the plentiful hype that is otherwise visible in the mass media.
Why you should attend RAAIS 2020
Our 6th annual RAAIS forum convenes on 26th July 2020. In the words of our attendees, the three key reasons why you should apply to attend are:
Learn about new AI research
Learn about real-world AI use cases
Meeting peers and professional networking