Cloud Computing and AI Are Merging Together

Cloud Computing and AI Are Merging Together

By Kayla Matthews, Contributing Writer  |  April 12, 2017

Cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) are two seemingly unrelated technologies that have already transformed how we engage with the world around us. Now, industries are combining these fields for even further changes.

Expect the merger of cloud computing and AI to be an industry-wide disruption. Cloud technology is moving at break-neck speed and leaps in AI become more advanced every day. According to Forrester (News - Alert), the public cloud computing market will be worth $191 billion by 2020. RightScale’s State of Cloud survey also revealed 95 percent of respondents currently use the cloud, with enterprise adopting both public and private clouds.

Why does this growth matter and how does it relate to the merger of AI and cloud computing? We’ll get to that, but first, you must understand the relationship between cloud computing and artificial intelligence.

Proper AI Cannot Exist Without Big Data and Cloud Computing

To deliver the kind of useful information and interactions we need from it, AI systems must “learn” over time. Even a simple process for a device like Amazon’s Echo — also known as Alexa — where the system recommends related products you might like, requires extensive data collection and machine learning.

Over time, that system builds a profile of you. It learns what products you like, how much you like to spend, how often you shop and where and when the best time to make suggestions is. It can accomplish this by analyzing what times you shop most.

The data this system collects must be stored and accessible, and that’s where cloud technology comes into play.

Siri, Google (News - Alert) Now, Cortana and even Samsung’s Bixby all make use of — and tap into — cloud computing platforms. More advanced examples of this technology include Google’s Cloud Machine Learning platform and IBM’s Watson.

Simply put, it takes a vast quantity of data for these systems to analyze and learn enough to make appropriate decisions. The AI system is nothing more than a shell, or a body, while the cloud computing platform — and stored data — serves as that system’s brain.

How Does Cloud Computing’s Growth Affect AI?

Cloud technology is being adopted at a surprising rate, as we’ve already established. Not just by consumers and the average citizen but by corporations and organizations, too. In fact, 32 percent of enterprise respondents run their workloads in the public cloud, while 43 percent run them in a private cloud.

There are several reasons for this, the most important of which being the boost in efficiency for those using cloud platforms. Hardware and maintenance for these systems are handled by a third party, freeing up manpower at the enterprise level. Security and efficiency are improved, which in turn lowers overall operating costs.

This works similarly to how hospitals donate the cost of electronic health record systems to independent practices. It’s not offset completely, just alleviated so it’s more manageable for organizations.

Because benefits are numerous, many companies are adopting cloud computing and cloud storage platforms, which are essentially big data, but they also need something to analyze and facilitate this data. You can’t well expect analysts to manually sort through hundreds of terabytes of data at a time to find trends and patterns, can you?

That’s where AI and machine learning systems come into play. The big data — and massive information stores — that these companies have access to are being analyzed by machine learning platforms, in turn, run by a form of AI.

As cloud computing grows, so does artificial intelligence. You cannot have one without the other.

Cloud Computing and AI Are Merging

The merger is perhaps bred out of necessity. The more data and information we collect, the more help we need pouring over it. Combining AI, machine learning and big data means we can analyze, gather and utilize more data than ever before.

This transformation isn’t just crucial for big business — expect it to positively disrupt our daily lives. The AI and voice assistant platforms, like Siri and Cortana, will tap into cloud computing to offer suggestions, answers, interactions and more.

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Edited by Alicia Young