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ISACA NOW BLOG

5G and AI: A Potentially Potent Combination

Author: Prof. Kris Seeburn, Independent Technology Consultant and ISACA INTOSAI, WGITA Liaison
Date Published: 11, February 2019

Last week’s US State of the Union address by President Donald J. Trump promised legislation to invest in “the cutting edge industries of the future.” Without much detail initially available, the White House filled in the blanks by suggesting “President Trump’s commitment to American leadership in Artificial Intelligence, 5G wireless, quantum science and advanced manufacturing will ensure that these technologies serve to benefit the American people and that the American innovation ecosystem remains the envy of the world for generations to come.”

This comes at a time when countries such as China have really taken a leap forward on these technologies, with Chinese telecommunications company Huawei making especially notable strides. On a global level, we need to understand that 5G stands at the crossroads of speed that will change the processing capabilities for AI and will narrow the gap between processing in the cloud versus on devices. It also is going to be a major contributor to driving centralized processing.

5G makes the debate around AI edge computing irrelevant. Imagine the speed in gigabits that 5G can deliver in terms of bandwidth, millisecond latencies and reliable connections. The network architecture easily supports AI processing and will change the AI landscape.

To provide some context, it is important to recognize how 5G and AI are embedded together. 5G is described as the next-generation mobile communication tech of the near future and will enhance the speed and integration of various other technologies. This will be driven by speed, quality of service, reliability and so much more that it can do to transform the current way we use the internet and its related services.

On the other end, we need to understand that AI is poised to allow machines and systems to function with intelligence levels similar to that of humans. With 5G helping in the background online simulations for analysis, reasoning, data fitting, clustering and optimizations, AI will become more reliable and accessible at the speed of light. Imagine that once you have trained your systems to perform certain tasks, performing analysis will become automatic and faster while costing far less.

Put simply, 5G speeds up the services that you may have on the cloud, an effect similar to being local to the service. AI gets to analyze the same data faster and can learn faster to be able to develop according to users’ needs.

5G also promises significant breakthroughs in traditional mobile communications systems. 5G is going to enhance the capabilities of our traditional networks. Even the speed we get over wire or fiber goes much further over a 5G network and evolves to support the applications of IoT in various fields, including business, manufacturing, healthcare and transportation. 5G will serve as the basic technology for future IoT technologies that connect and operate entire organizations, the aim being to support differentiated applications with a uniform technical framework.

However, with rapid development, AI is rising to these challenges as it becomes a promising potential support to the problems associated with the 5G era, and will lead to revolutionary concepts and capabilities in communications. This will also “up” the game in the applications world as business requirements become more prevalent. As mentioned, the narrowing gap between cloud and on-device processing will be foregone. The reinforcing of the massive IoT network dream will become more feasible.

In reality, 5G will take some time to have significant impact on AI processing. In the meantime, as AI applications are being integrated into devices, rather than waiting for 5G to be deployed, there seems to be a safe strategy to rely on device-based processing of AI. However, one thing is for sure: the push is to have 5G and AI integration happen on the same chips on your mobile smartphones, making those phones more intelligent as well.

The question now is are we ready to see this happen? Well, it already is beginning to unfold in some countries around the world, with China leading the pack. The smartphone arena seems to be especially competitive, which can force earlier adoption and change of networks. Be ready, from the security to assurance lanes, as we will need to re-adapt ourselves to those very standards sooner than later.

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