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What on Earth is Autonomous?

Duncan Harvey

Head of Core Technology and Cloud Platform Business Development EMEA

Research shows that Autonomous databases are the second most-valued technology, likely due to people working to keep on top of surging data volumes now and well into the future. It’s also the tech making the most noise in the press, and people want to hear more. But what exactly does Autonomous mean?

Children don’t follow rules. Living and learning, they carve out a path to adulthood through years of trial and error. Each insight helps to build the intelligence necessary to master a world full of challenges far too complex to be described by a simple set of rules.

While computers, generally speaking, are still struggling to be as intelligent as a toddler, expert systems have proven to be superior even to the smartest adults. Much of recent progress in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) has come from adopting a strategy that mimics the natural way of gathering insights.

The advantages of AI are many, and they go far beyond having friends automatically tagged in social-media streams or voice assistants looking up the weather report.

AI is at the core of any autonomous offering and in a business environment, it offers a wide range of use cases that includes helping companies improve the security of their systems, reducing the need for human effort on maintenance related tasks, speeding up processes through automation, and identifying new business opportunities.

In a way, the smart algorithms that are embedded in autonomous platforms resemble an expert guardian who never gets hungry, doesn’t need sleep, and can – better yet – easily expand its field of expertise.

Take tasks like database resource allocation, security patching or product upgrades; they are all critical but tend to be time-consuming and resource-intensive. By incorporating a range of advanced machine-learning techniques, autonomous cloud can make such things largely hassle-free instead, requiring little human intervention.

Given the advantages of autonomous cloud solutions that are self-driving, self-securing and self-repairing, Oracle expects that more than half of all enterprise data will eventually be managed autonomously. Research group IHS Market sees AI and machine learning as a key driver of cloud service adoption,forecasting the global business to grow to $374 billion annually by 2022.

By that time, Oracle predicts, more than 90 percent of all applications and services will use AI on some level – because in a connected world with ever-growing demands on IT, there’s much to gain by making machines smarter bit by bit, adding knowledge and understanding with every computational cycle, so that algorithms can learn to handle tasks that require a good dose of intelligence. Even if it’s of an artificial kind.

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