A Human Introduction To Artificial Intelligence

Why, how and should we carry on with A.I? Image Credit: Bloomberg

As people, as humans, as a species; we are filled with inconsistencies and ironies. We live by a deceptively rigid set of morals and character values that are flexible and subject to situations we deem worthy. The cliché of ‘pushing our minds to the limit’ is partly deceiving; elite athletes, obsessed artists and zealous business leaders all look to rise beyond the ceilings of their expectations not for the simple sake of doing so, but to capture the euphoria and excitement upon achieving their goals. Whilst this very quality has allowed exceptional individuals to to break the barriers of what is defined as ‘humanly possible’, the reality is that most people find comfort at a Goldilocks zone of sorts, where the heat of pressure fuels motivation but not to the point of burnout. 

It is in this very mortal idiosyncrasy that humans have been driven to explore solutions to compensate for; after all, was the simple wheel; one of the oldest creations known to men, not invented to make up for tired legs over distances? This thirst for innovation and efficiency has inevitably led to mankind’s grandest of ambitions: artificial intelligence. The image of ‘A.I’ is one of futurism and science-fiction, but this perception is ironic in its origin; men have always seeked inanimate forms of intellect to assist, entertain and empower us.

Greek mythology speaks of Talos, the bronze automaton charged with protecting the island of Crete from pirates, circling its shores thrice a day dutifully. In Asia, ancient Chinese texts mention the invention of a human-like robot by a technician, Yan Shi, whose sole duty was to entertain through song and dance. Oddly enough, designing clever mimics of ourselves is natural and becoming of us. In the field of A.I, we’ve made stunning strides over the years, each step wider than the last as the figures on our calendars increase in value. 

Helping, Sorting, Providing

Whilst the concept of A.I has achieved normalcy in our everyday lives, it is during the Covid-19 pandemic that its functionality and usefulness was fully displayed and appreciated. Simply put; had it not been for the existence of A.I, societies and corporations worldwide would have crumbled, leading to widespread panic and an unfathomable burden on people’s already weary shoulders. From A.I algorithms for identifying trends of the Covid virus, assisted communication and supply chain systems, to as thoughtless of an action as unlocking our phones for news updates, A.I has dipped its hands in our everyday lives, providing assistance one way or another.

In a field as fertile and flourishing as data centers, A.I is the ultimate compliment; one will function best with the other. Data centers run the A.I algorithms of the world, carrying intricate details and specifics weaved within, and data centers run on A.I to help with efficiency and order, akin to a football coach deciding the best approach for a derby game. As data center operations expand worldwide however, the function of centers themselves have been hindered by a lack of staffing and talent, posing a challenge that has been an industry-wide headache. Thankfully, the plug to this gaping hole in manpower can partially be filled by A.I adoption, with A.I-based remote monitoring and problem-solving software running off service leads providing a reliable solution. 

Can’t Improve On The Wheel?

Talk of complete, industry-wide A.I adoption across not only mitigating labour shortage, but also total control of managing security, maximising power efficiency and cooling is exciting- and naturally seems to be the next stage of data center evolution. Hyperscaling equates to a physically-impossible level of awareness and tracking of operations for people to monitor, leaving reliability in the hands of our artificial creations. The hilarity of realism however, is that the data center industry is not Darwin-like in nature, which is perfectly logical due to its necessity for stability and reliability. On paper, liquid cooling systems are more efficient, and in the long run- more sustainable than air cooling, but operators have been slow to embrace the technology due to conservatism.

‘If it ain’t broke, why fix it?’ is the approach within the industry, and although slow acceptance in both cooling technologies and modular construction is evident, its architecture remains modern; function and clean-lined over individualism and experimentation. The pitch for operators to adopt A.I must not be a spiel but a cogent debate; the audience must understand that accepting A.I for functionality and operation is undoubtedly beneficial. The idea of the Goldilocks zone should remain a strictly human characteristic, and the culture of the data center industry ought to remain free of its jurisdiction.


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