The search for "killer apps" for AI is on, leading up to the AI PC revolution that will kickstart with Windows 12 from Microsoft and the evolution of AI inside of our PCs starting in 2024.
We've seen the meteoric rise of generational AI advances from the likes of OpenAI, with Microsoft offering its own AI-powered service with Copilot, something we'll be seeing much more of as we ramp into the release of Windows 12. AMD has been at the forefront of AI processors with Ryzen AI out earlier this year, Intel has an AI-dedicated chip on its upcoming Meteor Lake CPUs, and Qualcomm has AI on-board for its upcoming Snapdragon SoC for Windows devices.
It's all systems go for AI, AI, AI... and now we're hearing about tech companies lusting after that elusive "killer app" of AI, because we all know it's going to come down to the best apps built for AI. Think of like, Angry Birds but for AI. Or the Tetris of AI. The Mario Kart (64) of AI. It's coming, and tech companies want it.
In a new report, Dylan Martin writes on CRN: "There may come a day soon when popular AI applications are processed less in cloud data centers but mainly by personal computers instead, and some of the world's largest tech companies believe this will represent a"sea change"in the industry and set off a new wave of demand for PCs".
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He adds: "When pioneering generative AI tools like the ChatGPT chatbot and Dall-E image generator arrived last year, they kicked off a frenzy of hype and spending by businesses around cutting-edge AI capabilities with the belief that these technologies could significantly improve productivity, make operations more efficient and allow them to introduce new products and business models".
Matt Unangst, senior director of commercial client and workstation at AMD explains that there will be a "significant portion of Microsoft Copilot that can and will take advantage of our Ryzen AI technology. You can imagine what I'll call a digital assistant, the ability to auto-summarize meetings or documents that we think is going to be really, really useful for business users".
It won't just be the CPU and its dedicated AI engines doing all the heavy lifting for AI workloads, ecause there will be scenarios where the AI application you're using might benefit from the grunt the CPU or your GPU. Intel's upcoming Meteor Lake CPUs have a built-in NPU (Neural Processing Unit) that is best used for "sustained AI and AI offload" as the CPU itself has a "fast response ideal for lightweight, single-inference low-latency AI tasks".
The GPU tile on the Meteor Lake CPU will have parallel computing and throughput capabilities that make it the champion when it comes to "AI-infused in the media, 3D applications and the render pipeline".
Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said during the company's Intel Innovation event back in September: "We see the AI PC as a sea change moment in tech innovation. One of my favorite sounds is hearing my granddaughter call me, 'Papa, Papa Pat.' And if it were not for my hearing aids-and I have a family, almost every one of them has lost their hearing-I might not be able to hear that in the future".
Áine Shivnan, vice president of engineering for Qualcomm, at its Snapdragon Summit in October, which at the event, announced its new AI-powered SoC for Windows devices that would go head-to-head with AMD and Intel, said: "The next step change for PCs is how the silicon uses that performance and efficiency to bring entirely new, more personalized AI experiences right on the device".
Matt Unangst, senior director of commercial client and workstation at AMD, said during an interview with CRN: "A lot of IT organizations either don't have the existing infrastructure, or they don't easily have line of sight to the budget required to go build out that infrastructure or pay for that infrastructure".
He added: "Looking at how we move some of those solutions onto the client device and port some of those AI models to run on the client device is, I think, a key trend we're going to see over the next couple of years".
Microsoft has its fingers deep into the AI pie, with CEO Satya Nadella saying back in October that AI applications would rely on a combination of cloud processing and local PCs processing AI data. Nadella said: "I think that we are literally going to have lots and lots of applications, which will have local models, will have hybrid models. And that, I think, is the future of AI going forward".
Nadella also added that Microsoft Copilot on Windows will act as its "marquee experience" for AI PCs, where the CEO of Microsoft sees the AI service becoming the "orchestrator of your app experiences". He added: "For example, I just go there and express my intent, and it either navigates me to an application or it brings the application to the Copilot, so it helps me learn, query, create and completely changes, I think, the user habits".
It's safe to say that the future is not just AI, but AI PC, my friends.