**The Future of AI: Why Hybrid Technology is Essential**
Qualcomm recently released a white paper titled, “The Future of AI is Hybrid,” emphasizing the importance of processing artificial intelligence (AI) both on the cloud and the edge. This hybrid approach allows for improved cost efficiency, energy use, reliability, latency issues, and privacy concerns. Although this paper primarily focuses on AI, the concept of hybrid technology applies to all advancements in technology. By harnessing the strengths of multiple solutions, technology can reach its full potential.
**What is Hybrid Technology?**
When we think of hybrid technology, we often imagine hybrid cars that run on both gasoline and electricity. Applying this term to the tech space, a hybrid model refers to scenarios like the hybrid cloud, where companies process their data through a mix of private and public clouds or data centers. The goal is to reduce energy consumption, improve costs, and enhance overall performance.
**The Benefits of Hybrid Technology**
Hybrid cars gained popularity because they offered users the best of both worlds – the efficiency of electric engines and the convenience of quick refueling with gasoline. Similarly, AI can benefit from a hybrid approach. AI requires significant processing power and stability for model training and inference, which is feasibly achieved on the cloud. On the other hand, AI also needs to function rapidly and efficiently, which is best accomplished at the edge of mobile devices. By implementing edge AI, data can be processed closer to where it is generated, resulting in faster decision-making, reduced power consumption, and improved performance. This is particularly crucial for devices such as phones, cars, cameras, health devices, and security systems that require advanced decision-making capabilities and may not always have reliable internet connectivity.
**Implementing Hybrid AI**
Generative AI, in particular, demands high computational power, large amounts of data, and resources to meet user demands. However, relying solely on the cloud for real-time or near real-time processing would be impractical and costly. Qualcomm’s white paper acknowledges that smaller language models can be processed on mobile devices at the edge, while larger models can benefit from cloud processing. This partnership optimizes time, energy, and user experience, leading to a more powerful distribution of generative AI workloads. As mobile devices continue to advance, they will become even more capable of handling complex workloads.
Qualcomm is already implementing this approach by creating a unified AI stack that can be deployed on both small devices and the cloud, facilitating the scaling of AI. Other companies across the AI stack are likely to follow suit, finding ways to perform more compute and processing at the edge to maximize AI’s value while effectively managing costs and resources.
**The Future of Hybrid AI and Beyond**
It is undeniable that hybrid AI is the solution for advancing AI at scale, but it is only the beginning. Generative AI is a rapidly evolving technology, fueling new ideas and possibilities every day. As it becomes more accessible, there will be an increased focus on processing at the edge, where users are situated. Most individuals do not possess extensive cloud spaces for data processing, so enabling generative AI to work seamlessly and efficiently where they are is crucial. Moreover, specialized generative AI applications will require less data to learn and generate, making edge processing even more viable.
Studies indicate that the Edge AI hardware market is projected to grow from 900+ million in 2021 to 2 billion+ in 2026, further emphasizing the relevance and potential of edge processing.
**The Rise of Hybrid Solutions**
As technology becomes increasingly complex, we are witnessing the emergence of more hybrid solutions. Hybrid technology does not solely refer to the combination of edge and cloud technologies. It also encompasses collaborations between companies to leverage each other’s strengths and create more robust solutions. We see this in companies like OpenAI and Microsoft working together or Google pairing Brain and DeepMind. In a fast-paced technological landscape, no single company can do it all. While certain companies can acquire others to expand their capabilities, the era of the single engine technology company is over. From now on, hybrid technology will be the norm.
In conclusion, the future of AI and technology lies in hybrid approaches. By utilizing both cloud and edge processing, AI can optimize performance, efficiency, and user experience. As generative AI continues to evolve and become more accessible, processing at the edge will become increasingly important. The rise of hybrid solutions and the growth of the Edge AI hardware market further underline the significance of hybrid technology. In a world of rapid technological advancements, a hybrid approach is necessary for achieving the full potential of AI and other technological advancements.