Data and AI are moving out of the cloud onto the edge of the network.

From Short and Sweet AI, I’m Dr. Peper. And today I’m talking about edge AI.

The Cloud

First there were mainframe computers which stored lots of data. Then data was stored on hard drives on desktop computers. Then laptop computers revolutionized our experience and we could access the internet to get unlimited data that’s stored in the cloud. And as you know, the cloud is a term referring to the massive number of computer servers which collect and store data from the internet. These servers are located in data centers all over the world. Now with mobile devices, we have access to data anytime, anywhere via the cloud.

Cloud Problems

But connecting to the cloud comes with problems such as the lag time between the cloud and the smart device, the cost of storing data in the cloud, and more pressing issues of privacy. We realize smart assistants are sending snippets of our audio back to the cloud for training purposes. And networks using the cloud can be hacked and data stolen.

The Edge

Meanwhile the Iot is connecting millions of devices to the internet through very fast speeds via 5G technology. But in order for these devices to respond quickly and efficiently, data is now moving out of the cloud and onto the devices or the edge of the network. And the AI is moving there too. If the data can reside on the device and be processed by artificial intelligence there, it doesn’t need to be sent back to the cloud. Edge AI is computing that takes place on the device rather than in the cloud.

No Dad Jokes

As an example, think of a security camera. It collects 24 hours of video data to send to the cloud for processing. This is can be quite expensive. For 23 of those hours nothing has happened. But with edge computing, the smart security camera knows to send to the cloud the one hour of video where something did happen.

Another everyday example is our coffee makers. With edge AI these smart devices need to recognize only 200 words to make coffee. It doesn’t need a cloud worth of data and AI being sent back and forth for the coffee maker to recognize the command “brew three cups of coffee”.

As Clive Thompson in a Wired magazine article explained: ” I don’t need light switches to tell Dad jokes or acheive self-awareness. When it comes to gadgets that share my house, I’d prefer they be less smart”.

Putting It Together

So how will edge computing, 5G and IoT work together? 5G creates a new layer of edge computing. A new network of IoT connected devices all interacting with each other within milliseconds through the AI and data located on the devices. enabled by 5G’s faster speeds and response times, and mmWave technology. IoT, 5G and edge AI can create private local area networks called “fog” compared to the traditional networks in the cloud. These local networks are more reliable and secure because they process data on the devices. Less data sent to the cloud means less chance of networks getting hacked.

Things are getting edgier because edge AI solves problems of efficiency, cost, and privacy.

Further reading, videos, and podcasts are linked in the show notes. And if you like this episode, reviews are always appreciated.

From Short and Sweet AI, I’m Dr. Peper.

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