Tech market bets big on AI as Intel heralds 'the next wave in computing'

Big firms are getting involved in AI, from Microsoft to Intel, IFA and more
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We're at an exciting time in the tech market right now, with areas such as the Internet of Things, Big Data and VR having an impact on companies across the IT channel.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of those areas that promises to change how businesses operate. And Intel expects AI to grow over the next few years.

Jason Waxman (pictured), Intel's data centre group VP, said: "AI is the next big wave of compute that will transform the way businesses operate and how people engage with the world.

"And while Intel is inherently well-positioned to support the machine learning revolution - after all, Intel processors power more than 97 per cent of servers deployed to support machine learning workloads - we know that to truly lead the industry, we must do more.

"Our industry needs breakthrough compute capability - capability that is both scalable and open - to enable innovation across the broad developer community."

Last week at the Intel Developer Forum, Intel pledged a commitment to open source with optimised machine learning frameworks (Caffe, Theano) and libraries (Intel Math Kernel Library – Deep Learning Neural Network, Intel Deep Learning SDK), disclosed the next-gen Intel Xeon Phi processor, codename Knights Mill, and has just completed the acquisition of Nervana Systems, a group of machine learning experts advancing the AI industry.

Waxman added: "AI is nascent today, but we believe the clear value and opportunity AI brings to the world make it instrumental for tomorrow’s data centers.

"Intel’s leadership will be critical as a catalyst for innovation to broaden the reach of AI. While there’s been much talk about the value of GPUs for machine learning, the fact is that fewer than 3 percent of all servers deployed for machine learning last year used a GPU."

Intel is not the only one to be making acquisitions in this space, of course. Microsoft has signed an agreement to acquire Genee, an AI-powered scheduling service.

Co-founders Ben Cheung and Charles Lee, who plan to join Microsoft, started Genee in 2014 to simplify the time-consuming task of scheduling (and rescheduling) meetings. 

Rajesh Jha, Microsoft's corporate VP for Outlook and Office 365, said: "Genee uses natural language processing and optimized decision-making algorithms so that interacting with a virtual assistant is just like interacting with a human one. For an example of how Genee works, let’s take a look at a common scheduling problem," Microsoft said in a statement.

"Say you want to meet a potential customer, Diana, for coffee. Simply send an email to Diana and copy Genee, like you would a personal assistant. Genee understands that you want to 'find a time to meet with Diana for coffee next week' and will streamline the process by emailing her directly with appropriate options that work with your calendar and preferences. Genee will even send out the meeting invite on your behalf – freeing up your time."

Jha added: "With today’s news, I’m excited to welcome the Genee team to Microsoft. As we continue to build new Office 365 productivity capabilities and services our customers value, I’m confident the Genee team will help us further our ambition to bring intelligence into every digital experience."

Elsewhere, Berlin's tech trade show IFA (taking place in early September) will have a big focus on AI, under the 'Exploring the Digital Society' motto at the IFA+ Summit.

IFA said in a statement: "Experts will be revealing the latest developments in artificial intelligence, robots, virtual realities and autonomous vehicles – in other words, innovations from the smart, intelligent and connected worlds of today and tomorrow."

The opening speech at this year’s IFA+ Summit will be held by Axelle Lemaire, state secretary of the French Ministry of the economy, industry and digital sector, at 11am on September 5th in CityCube Berlin, as the event looks at digital transformation.

There are even apps emerging like Boomerang, which will use AI to help people to compose better emails.

We're going to sign off on this article now, before an AI comes along to take our place.

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