"The most exciting investments in AI/ML/DL are where the physical world meets the non-physical."

Where is technology taking us? What are the investment opportunities? Which areas show potential as we emerge from the pandemic? Sasson Darwish, Head, Infrastructure Software, AI, IoT, and Digital Media Investment Banking explores these topics and more.

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By Sasson Darwish
Published April 9, 2021 | 2 min watch
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Key Points

  • AI, machine learning, and deep learning (AI/ML/DL ) are essential for addressing the growing amount of data we generate today.
  • Almost every vertical now uses AI/ML/DL to improve products, services and customer experience.
  • Security challenges will increase as devices like cars become connected to, and reliant upon, the network. AI/ML/DL are crucial to meeting these challenges.
  • The pandemic accelerated digital transformation and cloudification. It became important to make applications available regardless of location.
  •  Three areas will now lead investment in digital transformation: cloud security; cloud enablement; and cloud orchestration.

There’s a great deal of talk about AI but how is it actually influencing our lives?

AI is misunderstood by thinking that, tomorrow, robots are going to change our lives and take over. It’s really more about the amount of data that we can look at. When you think about the ability to go through the genome, that can’t really be done manually; we have to do it through computers with machine learning and deep learning. We also need to use those powerful capabilities to discover new drugs more rapidly. Almost every vertical today uses machine learning and deep learning to create a better user experience and improved products and services.

“When you think about the ability to go through the genome, that can’t really be done manually; we have to do it through computers with machine learning and deep learning.”


Can you cite some examples of recent investments in AI, machine learning and deep learning?

One of the deals that we were fortunate to be part of was with Mosaic where we helped create the first multi-billion dollar de-SPAC for Vivint Smart Home. Vivint Smart Home is a company that connects your home - from door locks, to shades, to security systems, to cameras.

Another area where we see significant investments in machine learning, deep learning, and AI is what we call edge computing. When you think about 5G and the ability to be able to connect billions of devices to the network, all these connected devices are a potential door for hackers to exploit. The edge is not only the computer that is sitting in New York, or Tel Aviv, or San Francisco. In the future, it’s also going to be cars that are connected to the network. Increasingly, the only way we can stop hackers is through machine learning and deep learning on a massive scale.

How has the pandemic influenced the software sector?

Everyone knew that digital transformation needed to happen, but COVID-19 accelerated the process. We needed to cloudify many of the applications that we were previously using inside our enterprises. We made applications available for our customers, users, and employees while they were not in the office or at branches, but at home.

Looking forward, what do you believe will be key drivers of software investment, and how are you feeling about future prospects?

Three areas are going to be top for investment in digital transformation. These will be cloud security, cloud enablement, and cloud orchestration, including the ability to move applications into and out of the cloud.

There are so many things that technology can help us with. We're just in the beginning.

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