At the beginning of this year, I participated in a meeting with the general manager of Avanade Canada at the Microsoft Technology Center, where we presented our global Vision on technologies and trends for this year. It’s named “Avanade Techvision 2017” and this year is the first time that all the topics we talked about were covered under a general theme: Artificial Intelligence.
Over the next 5/10 years evolution in AI will impact on the way the society works. Obviously here we need to talk about topics such as creating new jobs, augmenting and optimizing existing jobs with devices like Hololens, and many other changes. In example, in the near future, thanks to artificial intelligence, we can detect signs of diabetes in our body, only using the camera of our smartphone. A photo analyzed in the device, supported by a DNN, can quickly tell us if we are at risk for diabetes. (See references)
However, an interesting detail in this aspect is that the current hardware needs to upgrade at lot to get there. Nowadays, the consumer focused hardware is the one that has to accelerate to be able to live up to it. In one hand we have big players, like specialized laboratories with enough money, and they already have special computers which give them the ability to apply AI algorithms. The big challenge is like bringing the IA to the final consumer in an affordable way. Without large data exchange costs using the cloud, and with processors which are battery efficient.
Yesterday I wrote about the new HPU processor with AI capabilities that will be incorporated in the new version of Hololens. Microsoft has already been responsible for developing the V1 of this HPU processor, and it is no wonder that this new processor, which some call “AI co-processor”, not only has applications in Hololens, but also in other devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets.
Today I read in Wired the article “The rise of AI is forcing Google and Microsoft to become Chipmakers“, which describes the approach that Google also has about it. HPU incorporates the concept of a re-programmable chip, where for example for Hololens you can add AI capabilities for voice recognition and recognition of movements and gestures with the hands (naturally necessary in Hololens).
Another example is Google. Google works on a processor called Tensor Processor Unit. This processor also implements DNN capabilities, and has saved Google the creation of 15 Data Centers for speech-recognition-related activities. I guess, that 15 Data Centers out of the house improvement budget, should be an interesting savings for the board of directors of Google.
Note: TPU is nominated based on TensorFlow. TensorFlow is an AI system originally created by the Google Brain team and was published in open source mode a few years ago. It’s the core of a lot of Google’s internal work and is widely supported by the AI developer community.
And if this were not enough, the CEOs of a couple of big companies start to have some not nice words between each others on the Artificial Intelligence world. In this case it is Elon Musk (aka Tony Stark) who in tweet said that the knowledge of Mark Zuckerberg on AI is limited.
In reality, this arises because they both have two very different views on how to use and legislate artificial intelligence. Elon Musk wants to regulate the use of AI, in his words:
(AI) presents fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization.
According to Elon, you won’t have to spend much time before we see robots killing people down the street. (If you are thinking on a Terminator Rise of the Machines scenarios, you are wrong, I’ll write about this later in a new post)
Marc Zuckerberg has another completely different view, MZ says:
I’m optimistic. And I think people who oppose and try to paint these apocalyptic scenarios, I just don’t get it. It’s really negative and, in fact, somehow I think it’s pretty irresponsible.
Beyond all this, what is clear is that all the biggest Tech companies in the world are investing (one way or another) in something related to Artificial Intelligence. Every little advance that is made on the subject will affect the way we live and work.
I am almost sure that my children will not have the need to learn how to drive. In 10 years, cars will be electric and most will be autonomous. Depending on where you live, you probably don’t have the need to learn how to drive, because a car (which doesn’t have to be yours) will be the one to help you move when you need to travel from one place to another.
Scenarios like the previous one, are not far from being a reality. And what today seems to us science fiction, in a few years will be our day to day.
Greetings @ Burlington