AI will be as transformative for organizations as the advent of electricity a century ago, according to a senior technology leader.
Justin Dustzadeh, global chief technology officer for Equinix, made the call on AI at a recent roundtable event, saying that a combination of AI and 5G connectivity would be the next major technology trend to transform the business world.
“AI will soon be part of every single business, and it will have the same impact as electricity did one hundred years ago in disrupting and transforming every industry,” said Dustzadeh. “We see that 5G is becoming a reality and that ultimately it will be powered by optimally placed edge infrastructure.”
“AI is moving out of the cloud and into the edge, which presents new challenges and opportunities,” he added.
In terms of AI adoption, Dustzadeh noted that the “amount of compute” used in the most extensive AI training grounds is doubling every three and half months at present.
At the same time, in the software world, the algorithmic efficiency of AI is doubling every sixteen months.
“When you put those two things together, at such a rate of improvement in hardware and software, you can do a lot more with less cost, which means AI will be even more accessible, and the rate of adoption will increase over time,” he said.
Pandemic trends to watch
Dustzadeh assessed significant technology trends impacting business in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Firstly, he said that “cloud-native infrastructure will dominate.”
“What started from the applications and software development world is now proliferating into every layer of the technology stack,” he said. “We also see the ‘edge first’ paradigm becoming an increasingly important architectural model for many companies.”
Dustzadeh explained that applications were continually being deployed in a globally distributed fashion. These applications increasingly rely on digital infrastructure that is “self-provisioning at scale, because otherwise, it would just not be sustainable.”
“Anything that can be automated should be automated through software,” he said because this is the only way businesses could grow at scale in a world of increasingly distributed systems.
“Our vision is that this infrastructure environment should be provided as a service through APIs to the developers who increasingly do not want to care about the complexity of what is under the hood,” Dustzadeh said.
“Increasingly, the consumption model is that developers want to connect an API and get what they want instantly.”
The foundations for “No Ops”
Dustzadeh said that modern infrastructure companies and cloud providers were looking at implementing three layers of capability in their stack: real-time observability on the state of the infrastructure, a software layer to act on that infrastructure, and a platform for third-party technology providers to “plug into that infrastructure through APIs and software in a much more agile way.”
Another key trend, said Dustzadeh, was how an “edge first paradigm was driving a new wave of technology innovation.”
This, in turn, was being driven by the generation and processing of more data at the edge.
“We see continued momentum in edge-first deployments and also the new wave of technology innovations around how to deal with the complexity of this edge infrastructure that needs to be operated without an operations team,” he said.
“We hear about the ‘No Ops model’ where everything is self-healed, and it’s a different operational deployment model which is generating a lot of new ideas.”
Lachlan Colquhoun is the Australia and New Zealand correspondent for CDOTrends and HR&DigitalTrends, and the editor of NextGen Connectivity. His fascination is with how businesses are reinventing themselves through digital technology and collaborate with others to become completely new organizations. You can reach him at [email protected].
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