Machines are taking over the Internet.
No doubt you’ve enjoyed being “center of the Internet universe” these last twenty plus years. Snapchatting, emailing, browsing and maybe even a little shopping, no? Yesterday’s Internet was so quaint – people building websites, creating apps and managing cloud services. We had it all, and it was ALL about us humans.
You may have heard that the tide is turning in favor of machines. Edge computing, Fog computing, and Digital twins. Everything is getting smart these days: cars, buildings, factories, even our doorbells for crying out loud. The proliferation of machines on the Internet, those little “Internet of Things” devices that seemed so cute when they were tracking our steps and telling us funny jokes (thanks for the laughs, Alexa). The scale of the Machine Internet is poised to exceed human imagination. Gartner projects tens of billions of connected devices in the next couple of years. Already, the machines outnumber humans on the Internet.
And those smart little machines, creating loads and loads of data, will produce hundreds of times more data than humans according to Cisco. And these data-spewing devices will be “phoning home”, non-stop. So, machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) have to be invented to answer their call. While making sense of all that data, ML and AI promise to make our lives safer, more convenient and fun(ner)! The “Human Internet” – the one built by humans, managed by humans and used by humans – will be a footnote by comparison.
The Machine Internet will be bigger than Cloud Computing, bigger than social-media, it will even be bigger and more valuable than the Human Internet ever was! It is ushering in new business models like “traffic prediction as a service” for delivery companies like UPS. It will allow a 20% increase in efficiency for industrial processes for Dupont and Exxon Mobil. It will allow autonomous and self-organizing air traffic management for drones and aircraft. Even brick-and-mortar retail shopping will be fun and interactive again.
And it will be everywhere (until a new law is passed changing the speed-of-light) – “everywhere” is called the “Network Edge”.
In fact, this Intelligent Network Edge is going to be far too complicated for humans to keep up with. It won’t work to keep building and managing Internet and Cloud infrastructure in the centralized, static, hub-and-spoke model that twenty years of “web-scale” technologies have given us. The Machine Internet will require leaps in intelligent automation and leaps in distributed computing for all those new ML and AI programs. But most of all it will require new kinds of intelligent systems to keep track of it all, and manage it all, and tune it to perfection (generally, this is called “orchestration”).
The Machine Internet is the greatest technology trend of our time. It will turn Cloud Computing inside-out by turning one centralized data center into thousands of tiny ones that live very near all those hungry devices (I call those “Edge Clouds”). Businesses will be disrupted – like entertainment, transportation, health services, law enforcement and many others.
The Age of the Machine Internet is here! (And it’s actually going to be great!)
Brandon Williams is CEO & CoFounder of CPLANE.ai. He holds an MBA from the Wharton School, founder of Innovation Capital firm IgniteIP, and was formerly a nuclear submarine officer for the U.S. Navy.