Sustainability and AI: Qualcomm aims to reshape the mobile landscape


The future of artificial intelligence is not confined to boardrooms and laboratories — it’s unfolding in real-time, shaping the way we live, work and interact with the world around us. The journey is one marked by ingenuity, collaboration and a steadfast commitment to harnessing the transformative power of AI for improved sustainability and the betterment of humanity.

Diving deep into the implications of AI’s migration to the edge, Ziad Asghar (pictured), senior vice president of product management and head of AI Technology at Qualcomm Technologies Inc., gave a glimpse into the transformative power of on-device processing, the burgeoning realm of sustainability and the democratization of AI.

“Generative AI may have started on the cloud, but it’s transitioning to the edge, it’s coming to the device and that brings in with it [an] amazing amount of benefits,” Asghar said.

Asghar spoke with theCUBE Research analysts John Furrier, Dave Vellante and Shelly Kramer at MWC Barcelona, during an exclusive broadcast on theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio. They discussed the evolving landscape of AI and its integration into everyday devices. (* Disclosure below.)

The future of AI: A move toward efficiency and sustainability

AI’s trajectory is swiftly shifting toward on-device processing, marking a paradigm shift in how we interact with technology. Gone are the days of heavy reliance on cloud infrastructure; the future lies in the empowerment of devices to perform complex AI tasks locally. The cornerstone of this shift is the evolution of AI models — becoming not only more capable but also more compact, according to Asghar.

“That allows us to be able to do more AI processing than anybody else out there from a performance per watt perspective,” he said.

Qualcomm’s unveiling of Stable Diffusion, a text-to-image model running on a device with a staggering seven billion parameters, underscores the strides made in on-device AI processing. This progress not only enhances efficiency but also aligns with sustainability goals by significantly reducing energy consumption. The age-old debate of proprietary versus open-source models is also addressed, with Qualcomm embracing the democratization of AI through initiatives, such as the AI Hub, empowering developers to leverage curated models for diverse applications.

“People can take these generative AI model like Stable Diffusion, we can pick it up from there and readily create an application,” Asghar said. “And you know what I’m excited about is there are many applications that we might not even thought about when we were designing these chips. But I hope that developers are able to come up with those amazing ideas.”

The shift toward edge AI

Amid the excitement, challenges loom on the horizon. The optimization of power consumption, interoperability of AI models and maintaining a delicate balance between innovation and ethical considerations are just a few hurdles to overcome.

These challenges are opportunities in disguise — opportunities to push boundaries, solve meaningful problems and shape a future where human-machine interaction transcends boundaries, according to Asghar.

“What if you have a virtual assistant sitting on your device that you say, ‘Reserve a restaurant for me tomorrow,’” he said. “It basically figures out your calendar, it figures out Yelp, it finds a place close to you, goes to open table, makes the reservation for you and you’re done. This is the kind of human-machine interaction sign up that I think that we can enable in the future.”

Here’s the complete video interview, part of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE Research’s coverage of MWC Barcelona:

(* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the MWC Barcelona event. No sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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