Contributed by Cecilia Abadie, Director at APX Labs.
Trends are a great way to predict the future, and predicting the future gives you a chance to be ahead of the curve and make the right decisions for the future of your product or service.
Back in 2008, Nicholas Carr predicted that the future of the internet was the cloud. The reason he could do this prediction is by looking at history and understanding previous trends.
He argued that computing would mirror the shift that happened with electric power a hundred years ago. It used to be that companies had to generate their own power to run all their machines, but as soon as we had the network to deliver that power, everybody got rid of their local operations and plugged into the network. Nicholas predicted that we’d see the same with the internet as it would become a computing platform instead of just an information platform.
In his book “The big switch”, Nicholas tells the story of how Edison was the first one to build centralized utilities for delivering electricity over the network and he makes the argument that if you look at the server farms built by Google and Amazon they are very similar to the utility plants that provide power and send a monthly bill that Edison built.
Today, nobody would question the exodus to the cloud, with more and more companies moving their hosting services on Amazon, Rackspace, Azure and a variety of other cloud providers.
Artificial Intelligence as a service
Recently, Kevin Kelly, on an AMA with Tim Feris, answered to the question of “What future technology do you think would have the most impact in our lives that we don’t see coming?”. After translating the question to “What’s the next big thing that one might invest either money or time into?”, he answered: “The thing I am most excited about is Artificial Intelligence as a service, something that you plug into and get, not something necessarily that is roaming around in a robot head, but it’s closer to a web service or even electricity, where you just purchase it and then use it in your product or service.“
Kevin goes on to draw the same parallelism that Nicholas Carr made in his book: “Like electricity a hundred years ago, AI would transform everything and there are tons of opportunities to take this utility and make it useful and into business of some sort”.
He takes it a bit further and ponders what the consequences of this thought exercise would be:
“There weren’t that many big companies that were generating electricity and that made money. It was more about the companies who made appliances, services and gadgets that depended on electricity where the wealth was made. So, I think it’s the same thing, there might be only a few companies creating the AI that’s been sold, but there are a thousands of different opportunities to take that commercial grade AI that will be coming along very soon and use it to make something new and exciting that hasn’t been made before.”
Furthermore, John Henderson goes on to build on this idea and presents areas in which AI could bring a new opportunity with Kevin Kelly’s “Take X and add AI” principle. The list extends to medical diagnostics, scheduling meetings, learning a language, journalism, recruiting and the list goes on.
Machine Learning on the Cloud
Machine Learning, one of the most extensive current incarnations of AI, is no exception to this process of “cloudization” of AI. Complex algorithms that get bettered by the specialized few and get to be used by everybody that needs them for cheap, thanks to companies like MonkeyLearn betting on the future of Machine Learning on the cloud.
MonkeyLearn is at the forefront of the shared intelligence by providing highly scalable Machine Learning on the cloud and allowing its bright community of developers to share their public modules for others to reuse.
Humans and computers working together will enable new solutions and maybe even new industries that were never possible before. Imagine the possibilities when the hard part is out of the equation and creativity and vision is all it takes. It makes me wonder, which will be the gadgets and services that using cloud machine learning will be part of our lives in the future.
What could you create using cloud Machine Learning that would have been impossible to build in the past?