AI PC will become an obsolete term soon, predicts tech titans at pre-Computex 2024 event

Judy Lin, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Credit: Computex

The age of Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the edge is here, companies cannot wait to showcase their solutions and AI PC products at Computex 2024, which will be hosted from June 4-7. Paradoxically, industry experts at the AI PC Industry Exploration Forum on May 16 predicted the phrase "AI PC" or "AI smartphones" will be obsolete in a few years.

"AI will have a great impact just as the internet on our lives," T. H. Tung, chairman of Pegatron Corp., a contract manufacturing partner of Apple Inc., said. "We no longer say the smartphones and PCs we use are 'internet' smartphones or PCs because the internet to us is like water to the fish nowadays. We feel so irritated without internet connections, and so AI will be like that for us in the future."

"AI will be so ubiquitous that nobody will talk about AI PCs or AI smartphones anymore," concurred Samson Hu, Co-CEO of Asus Group, but he emphasized that 2024 is only the beginning of AI on edge devices.

The Market Intelligence Center (MIC) of the Institute for Information Industry (III) estimates that 15% of the notebook PCs to be sold this year will be AI PCs, but in 3 years, the penetration rate will reach 66% by 2027.

Credit: MIC, compiled by DIGITIMES Asia, May 2024

Credit: MIC, compiled by DIGITIMES Asia, May 2024

The trend of having AI everywhere is expected to drive the demand growth for semiconductors, as Intel and Qualcomm executives who spoke in the forum pointed out to the audience.

Grace Wang, Vice President and GM of Intel Taiwan said since Intel's launch of Intel Core Ultra processors which have optimized more than 500 AI models last December, a total of 5 million AI PCs have already been shipped by computer vendors, and it is estimated that by the end of 2024, about 40 million units of AI PCs will be sold all around the world. The Total Addressable Market (TAM) for AI is estimated at US$1 trillion by the end of 2030, according to Wang.

ST Liew, Qualcomm Technologies VP and President of Qualcomm TW, SEA, ANZ, reminded the audience that due to the readiness of 5G/6G communications and advancement in semiconductors enabling AI cloud services, now with AI coming to the edge, multi-modality will become the mainstream for AI applications.

Liew cited a McKinsey report saying that Generative AI will add US$2.6 trillion to US$4.4 trillion of economic benefits annually to the world. However, he emphasized there are still invisible values in productivity improvement with AI applications, especially in smart manufacturing and hospitals.

Albert Liu, CEO and founder of Kneron, an innovator of the neural processing unit (NPU), believes in the future that Generative Pre-trained Transformers (GPT) will become retrieval-augmented generative and thus will be personalized and multi-modal soon. "NPU, GPU, and CPU will harmoniously co-exist to help each other optimize the computing performance and achieve better power efficiency when performing various tasks in a hybrid (online and offline) mode."

The wide adoption of edge AI computing devices will be the first step for AI to permeate every part of human lives. However, it takes innovations in user applications and mechanisms improving privacy protection and cyber security to win user trust to make AI as ubiquitous as the internet today.