Brave New World: Everything Gets Smarter When 5G and AI Combine (Source eclectronicdesign.com)
Now is an exciting time to be an engineer or technology enthusiast. We’re starting to see ideas that were talked about as only concepts in science fiction making their way to the mainstream. Many of these new flashy technologies, like the self-driving car, will be enabled in some way, shape, or form by 5G. The epitome of science-fiction technology, though, is artificial intelligence (AI). While we’re still years away from having a robot like the one on the TV cartoon The Jetsons doing our housework, 5G and AI are helping speed up the pace. Not only do they enable each other, but their fates are somewhat intertwined. 5G provides the infrastructure and massive amounts of data that AI needs to be successful, and AI, driven by advances in machine learning, provides the ability to make sense of the chaos and complexity of 5G.While some applications, like augmented reality, will require very deterministic and low latency, others such as streaming video and making a phone call do not. The ability to provide truly low latency and high reliability communications will require proper priority of network trafficking. The idea of network slicing, using a single shared physical network with multiple fully virtualized networks running on top of it, is a popular solution. There’s no debate about the appeal of network slicing. It’s already beginning to be rolled out to the market on some scale. Significant limitations hamper a network providers’ ability to offer this type of service, though. Currently, these slices all must be manually configured. And, as networks grow more complex with the addition of 5G, so too does the amount of configuration needed to set up a slice. AI is perfectly suited for this task. Bob Cai, chief marketing officer for Huawei carrier business group, says that “intelligence” and AI will facilitate network optimization, so that backend traffic is routed based on device needs and engineered configuration settings.