In the 'Infrastructure as a Service' game, Amazon is currently dominant. They have a huge number of loyal customers of various sizes and business types who have been using their framework, Amazon Web Services, for years. Their most recent threat, however, may be the forthcoming artificial intelligence revolution. Specifically, they may see some customers who want to use A.I. applications jump ship to other providers who are more A.I. friendly. Google, for example, recently equipped their public cloud servers with special in-house processors called Tensor Processing Units. These TPUs, having served as the secret sauce for AlphaGO's upset victory over world champion Lee Sedol, are set to enable any customer of Google's cloud services, including every developer that attended this year's Google I/O, to use A.I., machine learning and neural networks more easily than ever. Naturally, Amazon wasn't going to take that lying down.
According to insiders, Amazon is ramping up testing for a new core component and service for Amazon Web Services. Rolled out to a limited subset of testing customers last year, this new offering should make it easier for customers to run A.I. algorithms and applications, including machine learning and neural networks, to enable things like voice transcription, natural language commands and pattern recognition. Taken to its logical extreme, this could allow companies to implement all sorts of complex A.I. applications, such as A.I.-based employee monitoring for management, and A.I.-based reception and bookkeeping.
Google's reveal and subsequent roll out of the TPU likely inspired more competitors than just Amazon to hit the drawing board for their IaaS offerings. Second place IaaS wunderkind Microsoft, as well as burgeoning competitor IBM will probably have something to say about these developments in the coming weeks, making it imperative for Amazon to roll out their solution quickly and ensure that it's high-quality, highly scalable and easy for any customer to pick up and use. Amazon will also be making new computers available to customers to counter the TPU threat, boasting 8 NVIDIA GPUs of the latest pedigree, a powerful solution normally used for A.I. functions, extrapolation of jobs across machines and mining cryptocurrency. The Amazon insiders wished to remain anonymous and did not reveal a possible date for a wider roll out.