Artificial intelligence has waxed and waned as a topic of interest in Silicon Valley over the decades. Now there is a fever pitch over it, with behemoths including Apple, Alphabet’s Google and Facebook increasingly playing in the space. Numerous start-ups have also sprung up around machine learning.
The latest example of the heightened interest came on Friday, when Toyota said it was making a $ 1 billion investment over the next five years for a research and development effort around artificial intelligence in Silicon Valley. The effort is notable because it is reminiscent of earlier research initiatives in the area, such as Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center, and signals how nontraditional companies are filling the gap in basic technology research, writes John Markoff.
Toyota told Mr. Markoff that the new center, which will be called Toyota Research Institute Inc., will initially focus on artificial intelligence and robotics technologies. It was a no-brainer to locate the institute in Silicon Valley, the company said.
âThe density of people doing this kind of work in Silicon Valley is higher than any other place in the world,â said Dr. Gill Pratt, a roboticist who will lead the new Toyota effort.