Startup Graava has officially launched with a sure-to-please product when it ships in February 2016: a video camera that uses built-in sensors and artificial intelligence to edit hours of video into five minutes or so of actual action.
The specs are interesting and fun — the gadget is smaller than a box of Tic Tacs, for starters — but the intriguing element is its use of artificial intelligence and the cloud.
First, A.I. has been built into the camera, Graava's founder, Bruno Gregory, tells me. The camera's five sensors — an image sensor, microphone, accelerometer, GPS and third-party heart rate monitoring capabilities — are all used to capture data that will feed into the A.I., he says.
"Then Graava's patent-pending algorithm uses the data from all five sensors to identify the most exciting/memorable moments," Gregory says.
The company also has A.I. in its cloud platform, which it built itself — the cloud platform, that is. It is in the cloud that the algorithm processes, syncs and stores the footage, Gregory says. All the user has to do is connect Graava to Wi-Fi at that point.
Not the first
Graava is not the first company to marry A.I. and the cloud — not even close, in fact.
Google's self-driving car uses A.I. and cloud technology to navigate on the road without incident. And IBM has been offering Watson's machine-learning system in the cloud to companies for a few years now.
More recently, Amazon Web Services announced that it was rolling out Amazon Machine Learning, a cloud-based service designed to pull useful information from mountains of data. Also, Google has indicated that it is making analytics a focal point of its cloud strategy.
And last but not least, many in the gaming industry have been enamored with the prospect of A.I.-controlled entities, especially as the technology to stream these games from the cloud perfects itself.
To give one example, last year's release of the Xbox One game Titanfall — where a shooters blasts his way through multiple fights in outer space colonies — used Microsoft's Azure cloud service to host the A.I., which drove the some of the enemy fighters. Stay tune for more of the same—- or better rather, according to Microsoft — with the expected release of Crackdown 3 next year.
The real business proposition of A.I. in the cloud
That said, this pairing of A.I. and cloud is not as easy to execute as one might think, especially for smaller entities with limited resources, which makes the Graava camera a nice surprise — and perhaps a taste of other services to come. Maybe, possibly, it could lead the way to a true realization of the value proposition between A.I. and the cloud on a mass scale, and not just an offering by a few giant corporations.
Which is essentially a virtuous circle in which these two technologies feed off of and strengthen each other, Charles King, principal of Pund-IT, tells me. The cloud can support a huge amount of data — data that, when fed into A.I., makes it smarter and smarter, he explained. And the smarter this A.I.-supported cloud gets, the more data it receives because people are flocking to use it.
Eventually, the theory goes, the processes created by A.I. and the cloud will be too complex for people to perform themselves, he says.
Right now we appear to be at "too lazy to perform for themselves" stage of this process versus "too complex for people to perform." Anyone with decent video editing skills can do the same thing that Graava says it can, if, that is, they are willing to devote several hours to the task.
But let's see if that still stands when the device has been out for a while and millions of users have adopted it.
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