In Semiconductor Engineering, by Brian Bailey: What Is Artificial Intelligence?    

“Artificial Intelligence (AI) has inspired the general populace, but its rapid rise over the past few years has given many people pause. From realistic concerns about robots taking over jobs to sci-fi scares about robots more intelligent than humans building ever smarter robots themselves, AI inspires plenty of angst.

Within the technology industry, we have a better understanding about the potential for the technology, but the ways in which it will develop are less clear. Semiconductor Engineering asked the community to assess the status of AI and machine learning (ML) and if they thought the technology was being overhyped…

  • “We still haven’t cataloged all the ways and places where it can be used,” says Peter Glaskowsky, computer system architect at Esperanto Technologies. “Almost anywhere that decisions depend on recognizing repeated patterns, AI will play a role.”
  • “We will see AI processing move from CPUs and GPUs to dedicated AI accelerator chips,” says Glaskowsky. “Because these new devices are designed specifically for machine-learning algorithms, they will deliver better performance at lower prices, and they’ll be much more energy-efficient on the same tasks—typically 10 times better than GPUs and 100 times better than CPUs.”
  • “We have to look at all metrics. At some point, it is not just about performance… It is about cost of ownership and that includes energy use. Achieving that will require a range of devices. “They will cover a wide range of cost and power points,” says Glaskowsky. “There will be AI chips (and IP blocks for SoC designs) that cost less than a dollar. Big standalone chips may cost over a thousand dollars, but will outperform a box full of GPUs costing far more. Most of the world’s AI processing will shift from legacy platforms to optimized solutions as quickly as the new silicon can be manufactured.””