Can AI Take off Without 6G? – Samsung R&D Institute UK's Head of 6G Research Spoke at MWC

At MWC 2024, Yue Wang, Head of Advanced Network Research in SRUK (Samsung R&D Institute United Kingdom) joined a panel on ‘Can AI take off without 6G’, with Manish Singh, CTO Telecom Systems Business, Dell Technologies, Jason Hogg, GM, AIOps, Azure for Operators, Microsoft, and Min Fang, Chief 6G Research Planning, ZTE.

In her session, Yue elaborated how the synergy between next-generation connectivity and artificial intelligence (AI) stands at the forefront of transformative change, highlighting the critical role of 6G technology in the advancement and widespread adoption of AI applications. While 6G remains in its nascent stages, with much debate around its definitive features, certain trends are clear indicators of its potential impact on AI.

In particular, Yue explained the following three trends.

First, the advent of 6G promises increased network capacity and reduced latency, fundamental to enabling AI to perform tasks faster and more efficiently across the network. This enhancement is not just about speed but facilitating real-time AI interactions and decisions, a leap forward in operational dynamics and application responsiveness.

Second, a significant shift is the migration of computational tasks closer to data sources, thanks to the emergence of edge computing. This move from centralized cloud-based training to edge and device-level processing will facilitate AI by reducing latency, enhancing privacy, and allowing the network to orchestrate communication and computation resources across the network. Such decentralization allows AI tasks to be federated and split across the network, making AI more adaptable and widespread.

Third, the integration of communication and intelligence is leading to a new era of AI applications capable of addressing real-world challenges more effectively. In her talk in MWC 2023, Yue gave example use case which showcased a digital twin bridge, signaling the potential disasters to its real-world siblings, before they occur. Yue noted that the convergence of AI with 6G will enable a plethora of such transformative applications, making the network a comprehensive platform to host data, intelligence, communication and computation, enabling AI-empowered, value-added services to a wider ecosystem.

Challenges and requirements for future network supporting AI-native in 6G have also been discussed in the panel. Yue noted that among the technical challenges, data accessibility, computational costs, and the seamless integration of AI into networks are utmost. Addressing these challenges requires the industry to focus on building key enablers in AI such as having strong and secure data sharing and management framework, as well as efficiently use of AI for reduced costs. Yue shared some of the statistic on the cost of training AI in MWC 2023, and TMF DTW 2023, and urged the industry to have this cost in mind, while accelerating the development of AI in Telco. ‘Not all problems need to be resolved by using Gen AI, just because it is on the headline’ – Yue noted.

While at MWC, Yue also joined an IBM hosted discussion with Priya Kurien, IBM Global Research Leader, and Jennifer Acosta, Managing Director of JP Morgan on Women Leadership in telecom and shared her experience in her early career and encouraged women to build their confidence and skills to progress their careers in STEM.