How 5G Will Unleash AI

Woman's hand using smartphone against illuminated financial district in the city, with the concept of 5G Communication Technology.

When it comes to the 5G roll-out, AI will definitely be supercharged.

“AI is a huge priority,” said John Smee, who is the VP of engineering and head of 5G R&D for Qualcomm. “We are seeing at transformation happening, with AI going from the cloud to being distributed, such as on the edge or IoT devices.”

In preparation for this, Qualcomm has been embedding AI capabilities on its chips. Note that its AI engine has applications for cameras, battery life, security and gaming—allowing for neural network processing. 

“5G will cause a proliferation in sensors all around us, and each one of those sensors is a new input available to create better models,” said Jake Moskowitz, who is the Head of the Emodo Institute at Ericsson Emodo. “Many of these 5G sensors will directly enable vast data aggregation for remote monitoring and immediate reaction. In some cases, there will be opportunities to use those sensors as AI inputs. In other cases, there will be new AI efforts that require the distribution of new sensors.”

All this is certainly exciting and there will be many opportunities for innovation. So then what types of applications might we see with AI because of the 5G megatrend?

Let’s take a look:

Sanyogita Shamsunder, VP of 5G Ecosystems and Technology Innovation at Verizon:

Imagine using 5G and AI to create realistic human representations that can interact with you in real-time to provide remote counseling or just companionship. In our 5G Labs, we are working on AI-based "Digital Human" technology. Life-like, emotionally responsive digital humans that have personality and character can literally talk face-to-face with users and respond to vocal and facial expressions. They have a digital brain that triggers their facial expressions and responses so if a person shows frustration, they read their emotional state and react with empathy.

Steve Canepa, Global Managing Director of telecommunications, media, and entertainment at IBM:

There really is no limit on the number of use cases that can be enhanced with 5G, and we're just now realizing some of the benefits as we're still in the early stages of this transformation.  Through our partnership with Samsung, we've built a platform, leveraging IBM cloud and AI innovations, for mobile devices operating on a 5G network that will quickly generate and communicate alerts to firefighters or law enforcement officers–addressing potential life-threatening situations before they escalate. Using 5G mobile solutions, these devices can also be customized to withstand intense environments, such as those encountered by a soldier in the field, power plant employees working in harsh weather conditions, an emergency worker responding to a disaster or a worker in a mining plant.

Bret Greenstein, Senior Vice President and Global Markets Head for AI and Analytics at Cognizant:

Smart, AI-based devices that operate at the edge for buildings, cities, and vehicles, can make complex decisions in real-time based on the data they see. Imagine a camera that can understand what it is seeing in real time and decides what actions to take based off the images it sees. This whole system will fit on a chip in an image sensor that can be mounted almost anywhere. So, if all the decision making is happening in this smart edge dev