HealthTech Start Up

The Barbell Effect of Machine Learning

The barbell effect of machine learning

If there’s one technology that promises to change the world more than any other over the next several decades, it’s (arguably) .

By enabling computers to learn certain things more efficiently than humans, and discover certain things that humans cannot, promises to bring increasing intelligence to software everywhere and enable computers to develop new capabilities –- from driving cars to diagnosing disease –- that were previously thought to be impossible.

Old Ideas with New Power

While most of the core algorithms that drive have been around for decades, what has magnified its promise so dramatically in recent years is the extraordinary growth of the two fuels that power these algorithms – data and computing power. Both continue to grow at exponential rates, suggesting that is at the beginning of a very long and productive run. As revolutionary as will be, its impact will be SwissCognitivehighly asymmetric. While most algorithms, libraries and tools are in the public domain and computing power is a widely available commodity, data ownership is highly concentrated.

The Barbell Effect on Technology

This means that will likely have a barbell effect on the technology landscape. On one hand, it will democratize basic intelligence through the commoditization and diffusion of services such as and translation into software broadly. On the other, it will concentrate higher-order intelligence in the hands of a relatively small number of incumbents that control the lion’s share of their industry’s data. For startups seeking to take advantage of the revolution, this barbell effect is a helpful lens to look for the biggest business opportunities. While there will be many new kinds of startups that will enable, the most promising will likely cluster around the incumbent end of the barbell.


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