The Evolution of AI on the Edge: From Perception to Creation

Evolution of AI

In the vast landscape of artificial intelligence (AI), one of the most intriguing journeys has been the evolution of AI on the edge. This journey has taken us from classic machine vision to the realms of discriminative AI, enhancive AI, and now, the groundbreaking frontier of generative AI. Each step has brought us closer to a future where intelligent systems seamlessly integrate with our daily lives, offering an immersive experience of not just perception but also creation at the palm of our hand.

From Perception to Understanding:
The Rise of Discriminative AI

The journey began with machine vision, enabling computers to perceive and interpret the visual world around them. However, it was the advent of AI-powered video analytics that truly revolutionized this field. Discriminative AI empowered machines to not only recognize objects and scenes but also understand them. Tasks like object detection, and instance segmentation have long surpassed human performance level, thereby enabling machines to identify individuals, vehicles, animals, and other objects reliably and trigger real-time activity accordingly. This is successfully put into use in surveillance, safety monitoring, and law enforcement applications.

Enhancing Perception:
The Emergence of Enhancive AI

With the growing understanding of the theory of neural network operation, and the successful results they have yielded, its application widened beyond just information retrieval and extraction. Using semantic understanding of the physical nature of the scene, neural networks can be leveraged to enhance the visual quality of images, for more pleasing results as well as to further enhance perception and analysis. A slow but steady shift is observed, from classic vision related functionality to AI-powered video enhancement features ranging from low-light performance through high dynamic range, digital zoom, local tone mapping and more These advancements made visual data clearer, more detailed, and more reliable. We refer to this set of features by the general name ‘enhancive AI’.

Beyond Perception:
The Promise of Generative AI

However, the true paradigm shift came with the rise of generative AI. Inspired by the progress in natural language understanding and its adoption to any data modality, the ability to create new content, images, and videos that are indistinguishable from reality, has managed to transform industries in less than a year. Welcome to the age of generative AI, in which machines have the ability to generate content at near human level.

Empowering Intelligence:
The Case for Generative AI at the Edge

To realize the full potential of generative AI and integrate it seamlessly into our daily lives, it must become fully immersive, always available, and therefore an inseparable part of edge devices.

In hindsight, the three paradigms can be viewed, from an information theoretical perspective, as different manipulations on the source entropy. Discriminative tasks are targeted to reduce entropy, enhancive tasks are more or less maintaining accuracy, whereas generative tasks are mostly increasing entropy.

Several factors drive this trend:

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Cost: Monthly subscriptions to cloud-based generative AI tools can be prohibitive for many organizations. The multitude of tools serving different user needs, such as chat, search engine, and image / video creation, can add up to significant monthly expense per user, making it even more financially challenging for organizations. Moving generative AI to the edge, and making it pre-integrated, offers a more cost-effective solution in which the user is the owner of the tools, and no monthly subscription or long-term commitments are needed.


Latency: Instantaneous results are crucial in various applications, from autonomous vehicles to real-time translation, or content creation. Edge deployment reduces latency and enhances user experience.

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Connectivity: The more generative AI based applications become commonplace, their continuous availability will become a necessity. It will no longer be “best effort” and users will be less tolerant to not always having full access. Edge-based generative AI ensures continuous access to essential tools and services.

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Privacy: Concerns about data privacy and security are paramount, especially when it comes to native language, context-aware interactions which practically reveal vast knowledge about the ‘owner’ or engaged party. Performing generative AI tasks on the edge mitigates both personal and business-related risks associated with delivering sensitive data without control.

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Sustainability: The environmental impact of cloud-based AI processing is immense, and usually overlooked by the end users. In a recent study it is estimated that generating an image using a powerful AI model takes as much energy as fully charging a smartphone. The CO2 emitted by generation of a 1-minute real-time video is the equivalent of the emissions resulted by 4 years of charging a single cellular phone each day. Cloud computing by millions of users daily not only requires processing power, but also the energy and water resources required to cool the servers, resulting in massive pollution. Edge devices consume less power, reduce cooling requirements, and minimize carbon footprint, making them a more sustainable option for generative AI in a widespread deployment and high usage rates.

Hailo: Pioneering Generative AI on the Edge

Among the leaders in this frontier is Hailo, with its high-performance, low-power and low carbon footprint edge AI accelerators, which broaden the possibilities for a range of edge AI applications. The Hailo accelerators enable generative AI to run on a multitude of edge machines like personal computers, vehicles’ infotainment center, and more. With generative AI poised to revolutionize our interaction with technology, the edge has become the next frontier for innovation and empowerment. Through advancements in hardware and software, we are witnessing the dawn of a new era where intelligence becomes immersive, and creativity flourishes at the tip of our fingers.

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