RECAP AI in the Network

To wrap up the year, the Telecom Council held our Demopalooza Seasonal party with demos, food, and drink chez Nokia in Sunnyvale. But just prior at the same location, we also held our final content session of the year: an “unpanel” on AI in the Network.

Telecom Council Unpanels are our own creation. The format riffs on the unpanel trend that swept dev conferences a few years ago, and the way we do it is to first introduce the panelists, who are seen as conversation leaders. We then pass the mic around the whole room for self-introductions and a comment or question. The audience input is added to a whiteboard to form the “topics of discussion” for the unpanel. Afterwards, we facilitate a discussion with 50% panelists, 50% audience on the chosen topics. To gamify the unpanel and make it more fun, we score “points” as the panelists add value to the topics on the whiteboard, and unscientifically declare a winner at the end. This all sounds complicated, but our audiences love it. And, while seeming whimsical, this actually assures that the discussion brings out the combined knowledge of everyone in the room, and that we deal with areas of interest from a diverse group, not just a few panelists.

Our AI in the Network discussion had dual top-level takeaways:

1) A fruitful theoretical discussion about AI at a high-level. This dealt with the limitations of AI, the training and learning, the differences between Narrow and General AI, philosophical concerns, and the unanswerable question of “define AI”.

2) A more practical discussion of the narrow uses of AI in telecom networks, which we can summarize as:

  1. Nuance explained uses of AI in improving customer interactions, the Customer Experience, and upsales, and loyalty.
  2. Rapid control of virtualized network functions
  3. intelligent packet switching
  4. capacity shifting
  5. network planning
  6. congestion avoidance
  7. QoS ideas, some of which we acknowledged may run afoul of Neutral Network principles

Thanks for joining us. If you made either the Unpanel or Demopalooza, and we’ll see you in the New Year!

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