PYMNTS MonitorEdge May 2024

This Week in AI: Ethics, Chips and Small Business Investments

AI, artificial intelligence, technology

This week in artificial intelligence (AI) news, more companies are pushing for an ethical use of the technology, while a new partnership aims to develop computer chips that will accelerate the widespread use of AI. Find out this weeks latest AI news here.

Companies Drive Towards Ethical AI

There’s a push around the world to make AI better in a fair, clear, and responsible way. Companies like OpenAI and Salesforce are leading the charge, saying it’s important to use AI in ways that help people without causing harm. They’re part of a bigger movement trying to ensure that AI is used in a good way.

Recently, the conversation about responsible AI received more attention because Elon Musk is suing OpenAI, a company he helped start, accusing them of straying from the company’s initial mission to develop artificial intelligence (AI) for the betterment of humanity. In response, OpenAI released a sequence of emails between Musk and top executives, revealing his initial support for the startup’s transition to a profit-making model. Additionally, the company plans to dismiss Musk’s lawsuit. The situation is making observers consider how AI’s development should be managed to ensure best practices. 

AI-Accelerating Chips On The Horizon

Faster AI may be just around the corner. 

EnCharge AI, in collaboration with Princeton University and backed by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is set to transform AI by developing new computer chips. This partnership, announced on Wednesday (March 6), are part of DARPA’s Optimum Processing Technology Inside Memory Arrays (OPTIMA) program. This $78 million initiative aims to create quicker, more energy-efficient, and scalable processors specifically designed to boost commercial AI applications.

Jonathan Morris, EnCharge’s vice president of government affairs and communications, shared with PYMNTS that these next-gen AI processors are poised to enable AI inference directly on devices. This innovation addresses the high costs associated with cloud computing and opens up a myriad of new possibilities. Bringing AI processing on devices significantly reduces energy consumption and alleviates privacy issues, making AI more accessible and practical for a wide range of applications.

This partnership focuses not just on the creation of these chips but also on their potential to transform how AI applications are deployed. The vision is to move AI processing from large data centers to everyday gadgets such as smartphones, vehicles and industrial machinery. EnCharge AI aims to make these chips a reality and enhance their speed and efficiency with DARPA’s support.

These breakthrough chips employ switched-capacitor analog in-memory computing technology, a unique approach commercialized by EnCharge AI. The company asserts that these chips offer significant efficiency improvements over traditional digital accelerators. They manage to maintain precision and scalability, overcoming the limitations associated with other analog computing methods that rely on electrical currents. 

Morris further highlighted the broader impact of these chips, suggesting that they could notably improve the performance of personal computers. This advancement would enable users to leverage their business software more effectively without the usual concerns over privacy and security. This initiative marks a significant leap toward embedding AI capabilities into everyday technology, enhancing business operations and personal device usage.

FBI Warns of AI-Driven Infrastructure Hacking

The next target of cybercriminals may be physical targets. The FBI has recently informed Congress that Chinese hackers have made significant inroads into U.S. cyberinfrastructure, targeting vital systems. These state-backed hackers focus on essential services such as water, electricity, and oil and gas pipelines. This move highlights China’s increasing use of AI in cyberattacks, posing potential disruptions to business activities. 

As cybercrime rates soar, experts emphasize the growing threat of AI-powered cyberattacks to businesses. This development highlights the critical importance of strengthening cybersecurity defenses to protect against these advanced threats. 

“AI, in a way, gives us all superpowers,” Luke Plaster, chief security architect at the cybersecurity firm io.finnet, told PYMNTS in an interview. “Unfortunately, that means malicious invaders are now able to leverage a new combination of social engineering tactics and tools like large language models [LLMs] to craft more effective attacks. 

Small Enterprises Lean Into AI

Businesses are pouring money into AI innovations. Small companies are embracing AI tools and services to keep pace with swiftly evolving technological trends. Experts highlight the potential returns on AI investments. Reports from PYMNTS indicate that AI is playing a crucial role in enhancing operational efficiencies for small businesses.

“AI can help integrate data from across spreadsheets, PDFs and business units, unlocking insights that can improve operations and progress toward business goals,” IBMs Head of Sustainability Software Christina Shim told PYMNTS in an interview.

“Often, businesses already have the data they need, but it remains buried across disparate databases, spreadsheets, systems, business units and even third parties. The challenge is consolidating that data in a controlled manner, which is where AI comes in. The tools to consolidate data already exist, but AI has the potential to supercharge how useful they are and optimize business operations to an unprecedented level.”