US AI investments poised for a record year

Venture capital (VC) investments in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) in the USA are set to reach record-high levels in 2017, a new report shows.

According to the CB Insights MoneyTree Q3 report, VC-backed AI companies saw investments worth just over $1 billion across 91 deals in the third quarter.

We saw two mega-rounds focused on AI applications for Auto Tech and Ag Tech. “Quarterly funding was particularly healthy, nearly matching last quarter’s high”, the report said.

The volume marks the third quarter in a row when AI investments have exceeded the $1 billion mark.

US Nauto, which makes AI-powered safety car cameras, registered the largest deal, raising $159 million. The Series B funding was led by SoftBank and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman.

Other large deals included Indigo Agriculture with $156M in Series D and Cerebras Systems ($60M Series B).

VC companies provided funding of more than $19 billion in over 1,200 deals in the US in the period, unchanged from the previous quarter and down 6% year-on-year.

Globally, funding exceeded $42 billion in the third quarter.

$15.7 trillion gains

A separate study by PwC, evaluating the potential impact of AI on the global economy, predicted the AI-related innovations could add 14% to the world’s GDP by 2030.

The amount is the equivalent of additional $15.7 trillion, which makes AI the “biggest commercial opportunity in today’s fast changing economy”.

The potential gains span far beyond process automation.

“The ultimate commercial potential of AI is doing things that have never been done before, rather than simply automating or accelerating existing capabilities”, PwC said in the report.

The greatest gains are likely to occur in China with a possible boost of up to 26% in the country’s GDP. China is followed by North America with 14%.

Retail, financial services and healthcare are projected to see the biggest sector gains, mainly in terms of increased productivity, quality and consumer demand.