Will artificial intelligence (or not) be dominated by cloud giants?

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) require huge amounts of processing capacity and data storage, which makes the cloud the preferred option. This raises the specter of the dominance of AI applications and platforms by a few cloud giants. Could big tech companies take control of the AI ​​narrative and narrow business choices?

Not necessarily, but with some caveats, AI experts point out. But the big cloud service providers are definitely able to control the AI ​​narrative in many ways.

This is partly the consensus that emerged during a recent webcast hosted by the New York University Center for the Future of Management and the LMU institute for Strategy, Technology and Organizationjoined Daron Acemogluprofessor at MIT, Jacques Bughinprofessor at the Solvay School of Economics and Management, and Raffaella Saduna professor at Harvard Business School.

AI is not limited to the “cloud”

The complexity and diversity of AI applications go well beyond the cloud environments in which they are run, and therefore reduce the dominance of a few cloud giants.

It is certain that “AI will require more storage capacity and information flow”, indicates Jacques Bughin. At the same time, “the cloud is only part of the total platform pie. It’s part of the infrastructure, but the platform layer is what you develop internally and through a third party. This integration is going to be hybrid, even more important than the cloud itself. Let’s be very clear, it’s not about operations, it’s about a lot of algorithms, a lot of different data, this integration piece, which will require system integration, architecture and design. This means that different types of companies will be involved in this work”.

What worries Jacques Bughin more is the innovation potential of AI start-ups which could be crushed by bigger players gobbling up smaller companies and start-ups through mergers and acquisitions. . “Companies like the internet or AI bigs are going to buy a lot of very small, very smart AI companies. »

At the same time, Raffaella Sadun points out that small businesses may be better placed to take advantage of AI innovations, but need help with training and education to prepare them. “This question of who benefits from AI is really important,” she says. “On the one hand, we might think that smaller businesses may be able to use these technologies more effectively because they’re more nimble, more nimble. Already digital businesses can leverage and scale AI. »

What value for AI?

Where the big cloud providers could also make their dominance felt is in monopolizing the data that powers AI systems, Daron Acemoglu believes. The cloud architecture itself can be based on competitive, price-sensitive cloud services, he explains. “But the cloud architecture will not allow you to exploit the data. The area where I worry about the future of AI technologies is where companies can monopolize data. This is where companies have an outsize effect on the future direction of technology. This means that a few people in a meeting room will determine the direction of a technology. We want more people-centric and people-centric AI. This will not be possible if a few companies that have a different business model dominate the future of technology. »

The value of an AI-driven business “does not lie in the cloud that enables it,” says Jacques Bughin. “I think there’s enough competition that the price point doesn’t destroy the value. The value will come from the fact that you’ve integrated these technologies—where you work, and how your business operates—into your own back-end. The back-end will not be the battlefield. The value comes from generating productivity and revenue, at a faster rate than what we have seen in traditional digital transformations. »

And, for the first time, we see the terms “traditional” and “digital transformation” used together in the same sentence. As these experts relate, these transformations are moving to the next phase, enabling autonomous, software-driven operations and innovation through AI. It’s about whether the big tech vendors are controlling the momentum or whether the market and practices remain diverse. Stay tuned.

Source : ZDNet.com

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Will artificial intelligence (or not) be dominated by cloud giants?

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