Global information and communication technology companies, including Amazon and Google, are accelerating the “democratization” of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. The AI democratization refers to that specific companies with technology open up their AI technologies through cloud platforms to allow anyone to use them rather than monopolizing them. It is part of their strategy to create the AI ecosystem and secure the leadership in the market based on this.
Domestic ICT companies are also focusing on the development of their own AI technologies and starting the AI democratization but they far fall behind their global counterparts. Accordingly, some say that they need to advance the AI technology as soon as possible and strengthen their competitiveness using cloud platforms in order to compete with global ICT companies.
According to industry sources on December 3, Amazon Web Services (AWS), the largest cloud computing platform operator in the world, opened various services for the AI democratization to the public at its annual technology conference “AWS re:Invent 2017.”
AWS introduced all the services needed to develop the AI technology such as AI service, AI platform, AI framework, or engine, and AI infrastructure. Anyone can easily use these through the AWS’ cloud service. Swami Sivasubramanian, executive vice president of the AI machine learning division at AWS, said, “AWS aims to help anyone with ideas develop AI services, though they are not global ICT companies like Samsung Electronics, Apple and Google or AI specialty developers. We will democratize the AI sector which had been considered the province of the specialist in the past.
Google is also pushing ahead with the AI democratization. The company provides technologies in the AI service sector, such as vision, voice recognition, translation and natural language processing, through its cloud in the form of application programing interface (API). In South Korea, online commerce website Ticket Monster is using Google’s AI image recognition function to check products in advance.
Gia Lee, director of the cloud AI and machine learning research and development division at Google, said, “We will carry out the AI democratization by lowering the entry barriers so that many developers and users can get benefit from it as much as possible. With our accumulated cloud computing technologies and expertise, we provide related technologies at up to 60 percent lower prices than other companies.”
Domestic ICT firms are also focusing on the advancement of AI technologies.They have just taken the first step. Naver is providing cloud services through its subsidiary Naver Business Platform (NBP) while making its AI technologies public through the platform. Currently, Naver is offering information searching, music recommendation and translation services using its AI platform Clova. Kakao established its AI specialist subsidiary, Kakao Brain, in February and is expanding the AI ecosystem by launching its AI speaker Kakao Mini.
An official from the industry said, “The AI democratization driven by global ICT companies is positive in that it makes easier to access to AI technologies. However, there are also concerns that it can result in technological dependency. Domestic ICT firms also need to advance their AI technologies and secure the leadership using their cloud platforms in its bid to survive the competition with global counterparts.”