Artificial Intelligence Is Coming to IT, VMware CEO Says

Artificial intelligence will characterize the next major wave of IT innovation, according to Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMware.

It was the concluding point of his Tuesday keynote at VMworld, which focused on the changing nature of the enterprise. As business becomes increasingly digital, mobile, and cloud-based, the way we run businesses ought to change as well, he said.

Those changes are happening already, but in the background, he sees AI starting to make its presence known. It’s true AI has been “on the way” for decades. But Gelsinger believes its time is finally imminent, and he’s not alone; he recounted a recent conversation with Stanford University President John Hennessey, who believes AI is the most important upcoming wave of technology.

“As you think about some of these early examples, they’re [providing] convenience, and they’re starting to help. They’re also starting to paint the picture of where we want to go,” he said.

There’s certainly a “creepy versus convenience” factor to consider, he noted: “I joined Facebook; to me, it’s Spybook.” But on the side of the beneficial possibilities, he cited the ability to predictively fend off an asthma attack.

This kind of intelligence will be created by a combination of big data, analytics, algorithms (which are being honed to this purpose even now) and real-time application delivery, he said: “software-defined Anywhere where software is writing software.”

Automation would underlie all of this. “Automate everything. Rule 1 of building a cloud: Ruthlessly automate everything, and that will allow us to predict almost everything.”

AI will be just one catalyst for the changes that will roil IT, he predicted. “Of the top 100 IT companies, 50 of them will disappear in the next decade.” In the interim, taking risks will be the lowest-risk path for all of those companies, he said.