Computers are continually evolving. The technology of today may be rendered obsolete a few years from now. That’s how fast computing advances take place. The dream of experts is to make artificial intelligence a reality for all of us and they are almost there now but first, computer makers should be able to make their hardware artificial intelligence-friendly. Advanced computer chips are the technology we need to make this happen.
CPUs or central processing units not only power your PC but even make online services work as they should be. But if big companies dream of tapping into artificial intelligence that requires deep neural networks, they would need additional processors aside from their existing CPUs because CPU power alone is not enough to analyze huge data as well as perform language translation and face and object identification in photos.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and robots are both hot topics for Computex 2017 and will become focuses for the IT industry for the next several years. Taiwan‘s PC and server supply chains are expected to greatly benefit from the business opportunity because of the technology’s heavy reliance on PC calculation.
Quanta Computer chairman Barry Lam recently pointed out that AI is a new milestone for technology development. For devices such as smartphones and smart TVs, what the IT industry did was made them smarter, but AI is different. The technology can learn, correct its mistakes and choose a better solution for problems and in the next several years, it will create many applications and commercial values for the market.
Lam said that AI can be applied onto many different kinds of applications including medical care, autonomous driving, automation and smart city management. Currently, players such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook are all aggressively investing resources on related development. Consumers will be able to use their AI services with cheap prices and these AI and big data’s analysis will help society to advance and create business opportunities for industries.
Quanta and Nvidia are also forming partnerships to develop AI super computers because of GPU’s calculation performance. Technologies such as face recognition, autonomous driving and robots can all be supported by GPU compute.
The public now enjoys the benefits of cloud computing but the artificial intelligence market requires so much more than what the current chip technology can offer. The technology asks for the network to work in two stages: the training stage and the execution stage. The former is when the neural network is trained by the company to do a specific task and the latter is when you ask the neural network to do something for you. The thing is that the chips chosen by companies like Google have a big impact on the industry itself and to other companies that are in the business of making chips like Intel.
Apple is reportedly working on a chip called the Apple Neural Engine, which would be dedicated to carrying out artificial intelligence (AI) processing on its mobile devices.
The addition of this type of capability would catalyse the use of AI on mobile devices. Although it is already being used extensively to power digital assistants like Siri and Google Assistant, these technologies rely on computer servers to process data sent to them rather than the processing happening on the mobile device itself.
Augmented reality and digital assistants are not the only applications of AI that will become important on mobile devices. Once the capability is made available to all mobile application developers, it will bring new types of capabilities to mobile devices.
Health applications, for example, will be able to tell when body readings from sensors on the phone or associated wearable devices are abnormal and need acting on. But the uses are potentially limitless and will bring about a new phase in how we rely on applications and our mobile devices in everyday life. And they will work, even when the device is not connected to the internet.
And big companies like Apple aren’t just limiting their technological forays into computing systems but even to their mobile devices as well. Digital assistants and augmented reality will soon be a reality in mobile gadgets as mobile applications are further developed to support artificial intelligence without compromising user security.
Many industry insiders are looking forward to this development considering how much we rely on our smartphones in our day-to-day. While many are undoubtedly a fan, many are also worried about the implications of such advanced technologies in the hands of an ordinary person. But until then, we can only wait and see how the technology unfolds and impact our lives.