Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs plans to
create a high-tech district to rethink
how we build and run cities.
A Toronto neighborhood
aims to be the first place
to successfully integrate
cutting-edge urban design
with state-of-the-art digital
WH Y IT MATTERS
Smart cities could make urban
areas more a;ordable, livable,
and environmentally friendly.
Project announced in October
2017; construction could
begin in 2019
Artificial intelligence has so far
been mainly the plaything of big
tech companies like Amazon, Baidu,
Google, and Microsoft, as well as
some startups. For many other companies and parts of the economy, AI
systems are too expensive and too
di;cult to implement fully.
What’s the solution? Machine-
learning tools based in the cloud are
bringing AI to a far broader audi-
ence. So far, Amazon dominates
WH Y IT MATTERS
Right now the use of AI is dominated
by a relatively few companies, but as a
cloud-based service, it could be widely
available to many more, giving the
economy a boost.
Cloud-based AI is making the technology
cheaper and easier to use.
cloud services could
cloud AI with its AWS subsidiary.
Google is challenging that with Ten-sorFlow, an open-source AI library that
can be used to build other machine-learning software. Recently Google
announced Cloud AutoML, a suite of
pre-trained systems that could make
AI simpler to use.
Microsoft, which has its own AI-
powered cloud platform, Azure, is
teaming up with Amazon to offer
Gluon, an open-source deep-learning
library. Gluon is supposed to make
building neural nets—a key technol-
ogy in AI that crudely mimics how
the human brain learns—as easy as
building a smartphone app.
It is uncertain which of these
companies will become the leader
in o;ering AI cloud services. But it
is a huge business opportunity for
These products will be essen-
tial if the AI revolution is going to