Amazon and Its Dark Edge

September 5, 2019

Later this year, I will make available a free essay about Amazon. Those who want the document will have to provide an email address and some other information. The essay is titled “Dark Edge.”

I am mentioning this because Information Age published “Is the Cloud and AI Becoming Two Sides of the Same Coin?” Despite the wonky subject-verb in the title, I noted a couple of points in the write up which raise issues discussed in “Dark Edge.”

First, the basic idea is that if a company embraces the cloud, smart software comes as part of the deal. That’s a good point, but it does not go far enough. In fact, most of the cloud vendors don’t think beyond generating more revenue than they did the previous quarter and figuring out how to take advantage of the dazed and confused companies trying to “reinvent” themselves. We noted this statement:

perhaps it’s time we realized that the AI and cloud computing industries are not mutually exclusive.

Yes, time. Just past time.

Second, we circled these two statements:

“Cloud adoption is motivating enterprises to undertake more proofs of concept in their firms with AI because it’s easier than ever before to get started,” said David Schatsky, managing director at Deloitte LLP.

According to Schatsky, this path is also becoming more attractive to enterprises as cloud providers continue developing AI offerings to business functions, without big upfront costs.

Easy. Cheap.

Key points.

There are a number of questions which the write up sidesteps; for example:

  1. What constitutes a win for a cloud platform? More revenue? Market share? More developers?
  2. What are the downsides for a digital environment which reflects the “winner take all” trajectory of outfits like Facebook, Google, Netflix, etc.?
  3. How quickly will one the integration of the cloud and smart software become the norm for computing, apps, and enterprise solutions?

Dark Edge will address these. Watch for the essay later this year, which assumes I will have some time to assemble our research when I am tromp around a Neanderthal disco.

Stephen E Arnold, September 5, 2019


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