If there has been one extraordinarily overused buzz phrase in recent IT years, that phrase has to be AI or Artificial Intelligence, often in tandem with ML or Machine Learning.
As a judge on the #TechTrailblazers awards (reminder: entries open until 21st August) I am dreading another year of reading entries where AI/ML feature in the first para – regardless of the category being entered – often with the claim “the world’s only” or “the first ever” … Enough! The point is: AI has been going for decades; I remember looking at “expert systems” in the 80s and they were nothing new then. The problem is that – historically – the required level of compute platform in order to generate true, human levels of intelligence and beyond has simply not been available, and even the highest compute levels that have been available have simply not been affordable.
VAST Data however, which has already done its best to revolutionise the storage element, has now announced its blueprint for that very compute platform that will be capable of real automated discovery – true artificial thinking. Of course, the difference between automated and human thinking is that the computer equivalent can be massively faster and more powerful. Forget a million specially trained monkeys, we’d be looking a planet-load of ultra smart humans versus a single compute platform. Or something like that…
Speaking recently with Jeff and Renen – the human element behind the founding of VAST Data – I described what the company is attempting as effectively reinventing the human mind. That might sound somewhat profound, but it is essentially true. The VAST Data Platform is basically a unified datastore, database and AI engine that the company is describing as disaggregated shared-everything – no fixed directional traffic, just unlimited, concurrent access to unstructured data. In order to achieve this, VAST Data is looking to demonstrate massive increases in transactional performance. – the detail can be found here:
Manuvir Das, vice president, Enterprise Computing at VAST Data customer NVIDIA, described what they are doing with VAST as being “the iPhone moment for AI” – some statement! And there’s a link to the relevant video here:
On a more analystesque note, the question is: is VAST Data creating a completely new genre here (remember: paradigm is an officially banned word – the use of “paradigm shift” is punishable by death) or is it effectively competing with the Gartneresque Cloud Database Management Systems (CDBMS) and Data Cloud – or even replacing both, despite them being relatively new creations themselves?
One thing for sure – it IS disruptive technology. Which is nice. Definitely a “watch this space” moment…