As its re:Invent conference opens in Las Vegas this week, AWS will make the case that it, too, has a leading role in the transformation that lies at the nexus of artificial intelligence, cloud computing and cybersecurity.
The Las Vegas setting is the perfect backdrop. The city feels like a real life version of the metaverse. Blinding LED video displays and video gambling machines dominate the landscape twenty four hours a day. Even the tree-lined walkways somehow feel like they are CGI generated.
But the Vegas location has another ironic twist to it, emphasizing the luck that AWS has had in terms of the timing of the event.
The event is launching just days after the nail-biting drama at OpenAI “sucked all the oxygen out of the room” and dominated the technology news cycle for days on end. As someone commented to me, “thank God that the OpenAI story happened last week.”
The stakes are huge – for the past few years AWS has been locked locked in a fierce competition for leadership in cloud computing with its rival Microsoft and its Azure platform.
AWS still has the lead in terms of market share, with an estimated 32 per cent of cloud infrastructure spending; rival Microsoft, with 22 per cent, has grown rapidly, initially by leveraging its dominance in desktop and server operating systems, and recently its strategic investment in OpenAI.
So the week will be dominated by presentations, keynotes, and demonstrations aimed at showing how AWS will try to maintain its leadership in the holy trinity of digital technology – cloud, cybersecurity and AI.
AWS will pull out all of the stops on AI this week, showcasing its own investments in cloud infrastructure and in OpenAI competitor Anthropic’s Claude.ai.
And in a world dominated by memes, one demonstration caught our attention, as we toured a site dedicated to AI in sports and gaming. In the midst of the noise and activity of soccer, basketball, gaming and more, a quieter demonstration held our focus.
In the middle of the floor, two robots quietly played chess, each challenger enabled by Anthropic’s Claude.ai. Move after move, the AI model both developed and countered the strategic moves of its virtual AI competitor.
Computers playing chess are not new by any means. All of this didn’t happen within the confines of digital circuitry. Using “off the shelf” and readily available robotics, the two “competitors” brought their battle to the real world as they moved these small pieces in confines of the chess board.
But there was more. While the AI competitors played their game silently and methodically, a screen above the demonstration showed their next move. Then it gave a clear, simple descriptions of the rationale behind the move.
In that one simple game, you could imagine AI in our business lives, as strategy, tactics, physical operation, and explainability played out before our eyes.
The only question was – what role would the humans play? Hopefully, we’ll find out answers to that as the week goes on.
Readers can follow the coverage this week in our publications, or you can attend some sessions virtually by registering at AWS re:Invent