Industry News Details

2021 was a breakthrough year for AI Posted on : Dec 30 - 2021

Enterprises continued to accelerate the adoption of AI and machine learning to solve product and business challenges and improve revenues in 2021. Meanwhile, AI startups have experienced significant growth, roping in major investments to improve their product offerings and meet the growing demand for AI solutions across sectors. In fact, data from CB Insights Research shows that while the number of equity funding deals in the global AI space this year is just slightly less than the last (2,384 deals in 2021 versus 2,450 in 2020), the amount of capital invested has almost doubled to $68 billion.

As we head into 2022, here’s a quick look back at the milestones that shaped the AI space over the past 12 months.


To start the year, OpenAI announced DALL-E, a multimodal AI system that generated images from text. The company asserted that DALL-E could manipulate and rearrange objects in generated imagery and also create things that don’t exist, like a cube with the texture of a porcupine or a chair that looks like an avocado.

Among other notable developments that month, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security tested AI to recognize masked faces; Uber researchers proposed a model that emphasized more positive and polite responses; Salesforce released a framework to test NLP model robustness, and AI models from Microsoft and Google surpassed human performance on the SuperGLUE language benchmark designed to summarize AI research progress on a diverse set of language tasks. Facebook and NYU researchers also announced the development of a model that predicted how the condition of a COVID-19 patient might evolve over four days.

On the business side, multiple AI startups raised funding, including Lacework ($525M), TripActions ($155M), K Health ($132M), Harness ($115M), Workato ($110M), and iLobby ($100M).


In February, Microsoft launched a custom neural voice in limited access and announced the details of Speller100, an AI system that checks spelling in over 100 languages, while Google released TensorFlow 3D to help enterprises develop and train models capable of understanding 3D scenes. Amazon launched Lookout, a computer vision service to detect defects in manufactured products. The month saw a significant number of equity funding rounds in the AI space, with the biggest ones going to data lakehouse startup Databricks ($1 billion), RPA startup UiPath ($750 million), autonomous trucking startup Plus ($200 million), SentinelOne ($150 million), and Locus Robotics ($150 million). View more