Smart clouds, smart enterprises: how AI transforms the cloud computing industry

Original author: Dr. Wanli Min, Chief Machine Intelligence Scientist, Alibaba Cloud
  • Transfer
It seems that the latest addition to the ever-expanding collection of buzzwords in the field of IT - artificial intelligence (AI) means everything for everyone. No matter what industry you look at - from retail to finance, from manufacturing to healthcare, AI is advertised as “changing the rules of the game” and solving a multitude of problems.

This rush already leads to real changes: it is expected that global expenditures on cognitive systems and artificial intelligence systems will increase by 1.5 times annually by 2021. And one of the areas in which the influence of AI is already being felt is the cloud computing market.

The growth of the cloud industry has played a key role in the expansion of almost all markets, and now the cloudy sign is even used as a sign of distinction. For startups, the ability to immediately use the cloud infrastructure has enabled them to leap over long-running competitors, many of whom are still trying to integrate the cloud into their complex outdated systems.

With a more powerful and more flexible infrastructure, any organization, regardless of its size, sector or region, can take its place at the leading edge of the global industry. And this, in turn, means the democratization of new technologies, which is especially noticeable in the field of corporate development of artificial intelligence. The vast majority of corporations are able to access the technology of AI, which gives them a wide field for various studies, and we already see some interesting innovations in the field of corporate IT using AI.

Without cloud computing, we simply would not have modern artificial intelligence capabilities that use huge amounts of different data. The capabilities of cloud structures allow organizations to collect, store, process and analyze any data in stunning amounts that are now needed.
Simply put: the better the cloud, the better the AI.

The lessons of history

Despite all the hype around artificial intelligence, it is worth taking a deep breath / exhale and understand that AI is not a panacea for all IT problems. Like any other technology, AI is a tool that will work effectively only when it has a clear business goal under it. The context is everything, and in order to achieve the best results, the AI ​​must focus on a specific, measurable result.

Perhaps the best way to understand the difficulties associated with investing in AI is to draw an analogy with buying shoes. No one buys a pair of shoes for no reason, without imagining the conditions in which they will wear - just as slippers would be completely inappropriate for weekend hikes, or football boots would look out of place at an official reception, the same can happen and with AI services when presented in an inappropriate context. Finding the right solution for AI requires a crystal clear understanding of both the problem you are facing and why its solution has not yet been found.

This is an important lesson that many companies have already learned through working with cloud computing. After entering the mainstream, as with many other IT trends, cloud computing has become an “indispensable” technology, although many companies did not quite understand why this is so. Strange as it seems now - at a time when cloud computing is the default option, but many early cloud designs have failed. Some companies were the first to “jump” into the cloud, not appreciating at all, WHY they do it, or having no idea what the successful implementation of the cloud looks like for their business.

Demand as a driving force

It is worth noting that just as the growth of cloud computing at one time allowed the artificial intelligence sector to flourish, today's investment in artificial intelligence stimulates the development of the cloud industry. As the AI ​​becomes more sophisticated, it needs more and more powerful platforms to work with. And the enthusiastic cloud industry is responding with new investments, helping to bring the AI ​​industry to a new level.

Moreover, as the cloud becomes more powerful, access to AI is democratized, as the infrastructure (and skill set) necessary to implement these services is becoming increasingly available.

It is important to note that cloud computing using AI is not a radical or revolutionary change. In many ways, this is an evolutionary path. For many organizations, this was the seamless integration of already existing systems with the rapidly growing pace of development in the field of AI.

Over the next few years, we can expect the industry to continue its development: AI takes cloud computing to a new height, and the cloud industry helps bring the benefits of AI to the mainstream. And together, AI and cloud computing will become a “twin-turbo engine” for the business of smart enterprises.

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