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Artificial Intelligence and Servers: What's Next?


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the biggest, and most controversial, buzzwords in technology today. It seems like everyone has an opinion about the pros and cons of AI, but not everyone realizes where AI is currently being used, where it can be used in the future, and what it takes to enable AI. In this piece, we will review what AI is doing today, where it might be of use in the future, and how high-performance servers and storage devices play a part in making AI possible. By the end of the article, you should have a grasp of not only some of the more abstract advances AI might make in the future but also some real-world applications where AI is making an impact today.  

How Is Artificial Intelligence Integrated With Servers?

To understand how AI has been and will continue to be, integrated into servers, we must first appreciate the magnitude of computing power and storage capacity that has enabled some of the recent AI headlines. For example, the Google DeepMind program that defeated a world champion at the highly complex board game Go utilized a number of machines that had a total of 1,202 CPUs and 176 GPUs (for more on the game between DeepMind and Lee Sedol, check out this Business Insider article). A corollary to the need for processing power is the need for a significant amount of high-speed RAM and storage. The storage is important because, without large amounts of data to analyze, computers cannot “learn”. High-performance servers, like Premio’s line of high-density servers,  deployed in clusters will be helpful in allowing more and more organizations to leverage AI as the technology matures and the market begins to further adopt it.    

Can AI Really Be Beneficial For Us?

While stories of computers winning Jeopardy! contests, chess matches, and games of Go are interesting and novel examples of the benefits of AI, they do not seem to be the most practical or pragmatic use of our resources. This begs the question, will there ever be a practical application for AI or is it just a novelty that will eventually fade away? The answer to that question is: AI is already changing the way businesses operate and has been for some time now. Artificial intelligence opens a world of possibilities for society and business to make progress in a wide variety of fields that would have been difficult or impossible before. By combining computational power with data to learn from, AI can help solve problems and provide insights in a way humans might miss. While some paint this potential in a negative light, suggesting that AI will lead to mass unemployment and a series of socioeconomic challenges, the current reality is much different. AI is enabling businesses and driving innovation. The benefits of AI are not just abstract, theoretical possibilities in the distant future, there are a number of real-world use cases where AI is adding value to businesses and consumers today. Here we’ll list and call out a few of the more interesting AI use cases, some of which you may not have heard of before.  

Autonomous Driving

Autonomous driving has been an area that has been heavy in AI innovation over the past few years. Telsa, a company led by Elon Musk, who is quite vocal about his thoughts on the dangers of AI (for more on that check out this article from The Guardian) has been a market leader and innovator in this space, but other manufacturers are making strides as well. For example, earlier this year BMW, Intel, Mobileeye, and Delphi announced their plans to partner on a project that will result in a production-ready automated driving platform that can be used not only by the companies involved in the development of the platform but also by other auto manufacturers and developers of automotive systems. That project has a 2021 target date (for more on the BMW, Intel, Mobileeye, and Delphi project check out this TechCrunch article).

Bots

Chatbots are becoming more and more prevalent on the Internet and are a great example of an area where AI is adding value to markets today. Bots can help with everything from helping promote conversation in online forums (e.g. about the various “beep boop” posts if you frequent Reddit) to providing customer support. Pandorabots is one of the companies making a lot of noise in this space with their chatbot building platform that has been used on platforms like Slack, Twitter, Skype, and WhatsApp.

Customized User Experience

Platforms like Netflix, Pandora, and YouTube are great examples of AI learning what a user likes and does not like and iterating to improve the user experience. In a world where the problem is not lack of information, rather finding the information relevant to us, having AI parse through the sea of data and noise and make customized recommendations based on user behavior can help consumers save time and businesses personalize their product offerings.

Fashion Consulting

That’s not a typo, AI is making waves in the world of fashion too. The MIT Technology Review has recently covered stories about how online retail giants Amazon and Alibaba are using AI to change the way fashion consulting is done. Amazon’s Lab126 is working on a project that leverages neural networks in a configuration referred to as a generative adversarial network (GAN). In Amazon use case, AI will be leveraged to learn about fashion trends and then formulate recommendations that are consistent with those trends and tastes (for more on the tech behind this project, check out the MIT Technology Review article). Alibaba uses its FashionAI platform to help consumers make decisions about what clothing items are most consistent with their tastes and by integrating brick and mortar retail stores to the mix, Alibaba is actually helping drive up foot traffic in physical retail outlines at a time when that sector is on a bit of a relative decline. FashionAI leverages deep learning to help it make recommendations that are most consistent with consumer preferences and was credited with attributing to a recent record-setting day of sales on “Single’s Day” in China when more than $25 billion of goods were sold (source MIT Technology Review).  

What Are the Different Possibilities?

The aforementioned use cases are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to AI enabling business. Over the course of the next decade, we can expect to see AI help organizations make significant advances in automation, financial analytics, healthcare, and a variety of other fields. As big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) help us gather more data than ever before, AI can help process that data into actionable information by improving the quality decision support systems, search engines, virtual assistants, and Business Intelligence (BI) tools. Similarly, AI can help streamline manufacturing and the supply chain with advances in manufacturing robotics and automated delivery likely on the horizon.  

How Can Premio Help?

AI is made possible by enterprise-grade compute, storage, and memory resources and Premio is an industry leader in manufacturing servers and custom solutions that fit that description. Whether you need a number of flash storage devices for the Hadoop cluster that will store the data for an advanced big data project, fanless computers that can be deployed in an IoT application that demands ruggedness, a suite of high-availability servers for a cloud BI tool, or another custom server configuration, Premio’s world-class team of experts can help architect a solution that will help your business retain their competitive edge. Contact us today to get started building server solution that will drive your business forward.