The artificial intelligence (AI) field made monumental progress in 2020. From improving cancer diagnostics to helping farmers yield healthier crops, AI has been applied to transform business processes and disrupt industries.

In 2020, there were several advances that underscored AI’s rapid development and increased business adoption. For instance, OpenAI’s GPT-3 – a language model – demonstrated its ability to predict text based on some priming. The technology has been applied to generate responses to questions, write creative essays, and produce functioning computer code. GPT-3’s capabilities are so compelling that Microsoft, itself a leader in AI, obtained an exclusive license to further develop the technology for its products.

Alphabet’s DeepMind, another leader in the AI space, shared its own breakthroughs in science and gaming. In a major scientific achievement, DeepMind’s AlphaFold solved a 50-year old grand challenge involving protein folding. AlphaFold is expected to fundamentally advance biological research and accelerate drug discovery. DeepMind also introduced MuZero – an AI program that can master domains such as Go, chess, shogi, and Atari. MuZero is especially notable for its ability to master games without knowing the rules beforehand, which is a significant step toward achieving general-purpose AI.

With an estimated $13 trillion of GDP on the line, AI innovation and adoption is likely to continue accelerating at an exponential pace. As with most competitive industries, companies in this space should actively consider protecting their AI innovations and ensuring their patent portfolios are in line with their business objectives. To hear more, listen to >Siraj Husain on Episode 108 of Sheppard Mullin’s Nota Bene podcast.