Nvidia and SoftBank bosses discuss future of AI

By William Smith
Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang has discussed AI with SoftBank Chairman Masayoshi Son via video at the annual SoftBank World conference...

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang has discussed AI with SoftBank Chairman Masayoshi Son via video at the annual SoftBank World conference.

The two are industry heavyweights, responsible for the graphical processing units crucial for deep learning in Huang’s case, and bankrolling countless innovative startups via the Vision Fund in Son’s case

The conversation comes off the back of the two conducting a deal for the sale of British chipmaker Arm, which has come under fire and may still be blocked. Criticism of Nvidia’s $40bn purchase from SoftBank has been based around concerns that Arm's status as a British technology powerhouse will be eroded, with the potential for the loss of jobs in the UK, though Nvidia insists this isn’t the case.

Referring to that purchase, Huang said: “The reason why combining Arm and NVIDIA makes so much sense is because we can then bring NVIDIA’s AI to the most popular edge CPU in the world.

“Of course the CPU is fantastic, energy-efficient and it’s improving all the time, thanks to incredible computer scientists building the best CPU in the world,” Huang said. “But the true value of Arm is in the ecosystem of Arm — the 500 companies that use Arm today.”

Son emphasised that one of the strengths of Arm’s systems-on-chips (SOCs) is their ability to communicate with cloud AI to become smarter. He went on to stress the importance of “edge AI”, connected IoT devices that communicate with cloud AI to learn in perpetuity.

The discussion closed with a focus on the democratising effect of AI, which will allow unspecialised individuals to build complex solutions by relying on AI to fill in the gaps.

“You [will] just ask the computer, ‘This is what I want to do, can you give me a solution?,’” said Son. “Then the computer will give us the solution and the tools to make it happen.”

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