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Why IBM Is Aggressively Pursuing Deep Learning and AI

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IBM has invested billions in the AI and cognitive computing space

As we have seen in the earlier part of the series, IBM (IBM) continued its acquisition spree with its acquisition of AlchemyAPI. The company has invested $1 billion in the artificial intelligence (or AI) space to develop the Watson business unit with the intent to enhance R&D in the cloud-delivered cognitive applications and services space.

We have also discussed how the emergence of SMAC (social, mobile, analytics, and cloud), social media, and networking has enhanced the nuances of human communication, be it audio, visual, or text-based, which makes it difficult to represent this type of information as data. In the below presentation, unstructured data refers to the data that is spontaneously generated and is not easily captured and classified.

To gain diversified exposure to IBM, you can invest in the iShares US Technology ETF (IYW). IYW invests about 4.2% of its holdings in IBM.

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Deep learning and AI space has witnessed increased M&A activity

In the last couple of years, the deep learning and AI space has seen a lot of merger and acquisition (or M&A) activity. In October 2013, Yahoo (YHOO) acquired LookFlow, an image recognition/machine learning provider that was acquired to integrate and enhance Flickr on Yahoo. Yahoo also acquired IQ Engines, an image recognition startup that provides a service of finding text, objects, and people within photos.

In June 2014, Twitter (TWTR) announced the acquisition of Madbits, a company that specialized in visual intelligence technology.

In the last two years, Google (GOOG) has made five acquisitions, including Jetpac to get a hold on image recognition, natural language processing, and neural networks.

According to a report by Business Insider, Facebook and Twitter ingest approximately 500 times and 12 times more data each day as compared to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), which helps explain the increased M&A activity by leading players in this space.

Deep learning startups have managed to raise funds

Rethink Robotics and Sentient Technologies are AI startups that have been able to get $127 million and $144 million in funding, respectively. Facebook has developed the Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research (or FAIR) lab that is committed to the deep learning and AI space. The lab uses Torch, an open source development environment for numerics, machine learning, and computer vision, deep learning, and convolutional nets. Other technology players like Google, Twitter, NVIDIA (NVDA), AMD, and Intel use Torch in the machine learning and AI space.

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