Google AutoML Will ‘Democratise’ AI By Minimising Skill Needed To Train Custom Models

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Google AutoML tools will make it simple to train custom AI models that are ‘beyond the dreams’ of most engineers

Google is releasing a series of cloud-based machine learning services that promise to make advanced artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities available to as many developers as possible by minimising the amount of skill required by engineers to build and maintain advanced models.

The company says that although it has tried to democratise AI and lower the barrier of entry for all businesses with pre-trained machine learning models over APIs, only a “handful” of businesses had the budget and talent to harness the full power.

“Our Google Cloud AI team has been making good progress towards this goal [of democratising AI],” said Jia Li, head of R&D, Cloud AI and Fei-Fei Li, Chief Scientist, Cloud AI. “In 2017, we introduced Google Cloud Machine Learning Engine, to help developers with machine learning expertise easily build ML models that work on any type of data, of any size.

Google AI AutoML

“We showed how modern machine learning services, i.e., APIs—including Vision, Speech, NLP, Translation and Dialogflow—could be built upon pre-trained models to bring unmatched scale and speed to business applications. “

However both said this was not enough.

“To close this gap, and to make AI accessible to every business, we’re introducing Cloud AutoML. Cloud AutoML helps businesses with limited ML expertise start building their own high-quality custom models by using advanced techniques like learning2learn and transfer learning from Google. We believe Cloud AutoML will make AI experts even more productive, advance new fields in AI, and help less-skilled engineers build powerful AI systems they previously only dreamed of.

The first ‘Cloud AutoML’ service is AutoML Vision, which uses Google’s image recognition technology. It boasts a drag and drop interface to easily upload images, train and manage models before deploying them on the Google Cloud.

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The company claims this will make it faster, easier and more accurate to develop image recognition applications than going it alone.

Google has been adding machine learning capabilities to its range of cloud services for some time and last year claimed AutoML was better at coding AI tools than human programmers.

Google competes in the area with companies including IBM and Microsoft.

It has bolstered its own efforts by acquiring third-party leaders in the industry, including UK-based AI firm DeepMind, which it bought in 2014.

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