Cloud computing and artificial intelligence in 2020

According to recent research undertaken on behalf of the Cloud Industry Forum, it seems clear that most businesses are moving towards cloud-based computing.

82% of the 250 UK senior IT and business decisionmakers asked, said that the cloud is very important or critical to their digital strategies. 53% also said that new technology, such as artificial intelligence, is their most important IT project.

93% of those asked in the Cloud Industry Forum research revealed that their businesses used cloud-based services in some form, and 69% said they use more than one cloud-based service. There are many different reasons for this, including benefits surrounding flexibility, costs, and scalability – when compared to a traditional on-premise server.

What is artificial intelligence software?

The term ‘artificial intelligence’ is a term used to encompass a range of different software which relies on machine learning. Rather than being truly ‘intelligent’, a lot of machine-learning software is programmed to scour the internet and gather information in order to answer questions. It relies on historic searches and statistical-based analysis to deliver an answer or provide a service.

Developers build software that uses neural networks to consider statistics, make connections, and reach meanings without relying on pre-defined behavioural algorithms. While the technology is sophisticated, it is still limited in that it cannot truly think for itself – rather, it analyses only the data it is exposed to.

How the cloud and AI work together

A lot of complex AI programs are essentially powered by cloud computing because they require internet-wide connectivity. Anything hosted on a cloud can be accessed from anywhere across the globe. This connectivity means that programs hosted on the cloud have access to the rest of the online world; a feature that is required for some machine learning/pseudo-AI technology to work.

AI apps & cloud computing

There are all sorts of machine learning platforms which rely on the data that is stored on the internet. An example would be a plant identification app. The user submits a photo of a plant they have seen, and then the app works by comparing that photo to other images found on the internet. The app analyses the features of the plant – the colour, leaf shape, length etc – and compares this information to what’s available online in order to identify it.

The machine learning program is therefore only as clever as what it has access to; in plant identification the answer might not always be accurate, if the app cannot find another image that matches the user’s photo sufficiently. The results offered will depend on the accuracy percentile that has been stipulated by the app’s programmer.

AI Cybersecurity Software & Cloud Computing

Similarly, AI cybersecurity programs might be sophisticated but they cannot be entirely relied upon. Software created for the purpose of tackling cybercrime is designed to analyse copious amounts of data in order to understand human behaviour, and consequently identify any unusual activity. While this can help to flag up unexpected and perhaps malicious actions, human intervention is still ultimately required.

Some AI analytics are likely to give alerts when a user behaves on the internet in an unusual way. For example, if they have incorrectly input a password for a program, at an unusual time, from a different IP address. Instances like this could be entirely innocent, so human consideration is required to determine this.

The Cloud and AI in Business

According to the Cloud Industry Forum report, 71% of respondents plan to build new applications for the cloud in future. Our modern world is relying more and more on internet connectivity, so it is likely to be just a matter of time until on-premise servers become obsolete. Today an average of 53% of business IT infrastructure is hosted on a cloud, but 87% of organisations expect the adoption of cloud services to increase over the next year.

Many of the brightest minds in technology are concentrating their efforts on developing more sophisticated machine learning/ AI programs, so these too are likely to become more prevalent in society. Where AI is bolstered by cloud computing, the combination of the cloud and AI in business promises more exciting developments and advancements that are designed to improve both staff and customer experience.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine