Established in 1993, when the World Wide Web was a term few were familiar with, the Nvidia Corporation has always pursued graphics processing. Initially specialising in creating graphics processing units (GPUs), the company has since become a frontrunner in the computer hardware industry.
Through its innovations in the GPU industry with its GeForce lineup, Nvidia’s reach has extended way beyond games into research, crypto mining, and simulations. With its hands also dipped in the realm of Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality, Nvidia is playing a massive role in bringing to fruition technology that belonged to science fiction in 1993. Thus it comes as no surprise that in the race to revolutionise tech, Nvidia is a leader because it knows the way it’s meant to be played.
The Artificial Brain Chips
Google’s algorithm, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, drug research, and weather forecasts – the “intelligence” in Artificial Intelligence is rising by the day, and Nvidia is partly responsible for it. AI is thus being used in virtually every application, becoming a huge part of our daily lives.
This is because of their vigorous investments in the field, starting, as does everything from Nvidia, with their GPUs. Nvidia has invested a great deal in creating the Volta lineup of GPUs, which specialise in handling large chunks of data at fast rates. These make them optimised for Machine Learning, which is the process of training an AI program to perform its function quickly and precisely.
Nvidia’s innovations are a welcome sight in the offices of giant companies like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Tencent, which make full use of them. Nvidia also holds a growing share in the automotive industry, with its efforts to create powerful platforms increasing over the years. This chip is scheduled for wide-scale production in 2022, which should take us one step closer to fully self-driving cars.
Nvidia’s AI innovations make it involved in everything – from gaming and medicine to self-driving cars, virtual assistants, and chatbots, which may challenge Turing.
Nvidia’s Acquisition of ARM Gives Them More Than Just Upper-Body Strength
Nvidia has shown it’s all-in for A.I. with its ongoing acquisition of Arm Limited, the company behind designing ARM processors, for $40 billion.
ARM is a processing architecture specialising in power-efficiency to maximise the capabilities of portable devices. This includes phones, game consoles, portable speakers, and anything else with the word “smart” in its name, from watches to fridges. Because of its relatively low processing power compared to Intel’s x86 architecture, ARM has generally been avoided in devices with higher workloads like desktops and laptops.
To put it simply, running ARM allows your phone not to melt when playing games, while x86 allows your laptop to do its job, even if it chars you a bit.
Recently, though, things have changed. True to its name, ARM has been muscling its way through the ranks in processing power and giving Intel a run for its money. Apple’s new M1 chip, used in its 2020 MacBooks, discards the traditional x86 architecture in place of ARM. Amazon Web Services also launched the ARM-based Graviton 2 to shift its servers to the more cooling-friendly architecture.
Most alarmingly for Intel, Microsoft is adding functionality for Windows on ARM devices to run x86-compatible apps (which were previously inaccessible) as well. This could mean household Desktops and Laptops may soon abandon the x86 architecture in favour of ARM.
Nvidia’s reasons for this acquisition are simple: It gains a massive foothold in the world of portable (and low power) machinery, which can combine with its ongoing AI advances to give it a monopoly on both industries.
Under-Mining Fiat Money
Being in its infancy, and because the currency exchange market is inherently hectic, it’s hard to predict whether any cryptocurrency will take over. While some experts say the shift may occur as soon as 2030, others are adamant in saying the dollar will remain triumphant.
In Crypto mining, hash rate is key. CPUs can perform a wide variety of tasks but have low hash rates, which means they aren’t very fast. In comparison, GPUs are more limited in their functions but provide faster hash rates. While many forms of cryptocurrency incorporate even faster platforms, GPU mining lives on.
And in the world of GPUs, Nvidia’s shadow looms large. Being the sole way of increasing the amount of currency in circulation, mining remains a crucial part of the crypto scene, which by extension makes Nvidia just as important with its ever-improving cards.
Even recently, Ethereum miners have stocked up on Nvidia Graphics Cards, prompting Nvidia to consider relaunching their once-favoured mining cards termed CMPs. This shows that even without trying, Nvidia has enough of a foothold in the industry that, should it take off, Nvidia only gets skyrocketing profits.
Nvidia is Making Virtual Reality, Reality.
Nvidia is, after all, a GPU manufacturer. It is their modus operandi to produce cutting-edge hardware for polygon-processing, and this aspect seems unlikely to change.
As Virtual and Augmented, Reality follows the trend of smartphones going from being too pricey to prying their way to our everyday lives, powerful GPUs become important. The premise of an otherworldly adventure, just like a powerful computer in our pocket, is too enthralling. While current VR experiences fall flat compared to real life’s intricacy, it’s believed that by 2030, VR should have improved enough to be passable.
If so, Nvidia only needs to do what it’s always done and is good at, creating GPUs to handle the powerful workload this form of entertainment will need. This includes not only the machines that will run it but also the systems that develop it. Artificial Intelligence in games, too, is on the upward curve, and VR’s immersion will doubtlessly hinge on these AIs seeming real.
Nvidia’s always had a history of moving toward what they think is the future, and it’s led them this far. It’s fair to say they have a sense for it.
With all these in mind, we can guess what the future may be like. In the mid-2030s, one might ride a self-driving car powered by Nvidia’s architecture as they use a phone incorporating ARM, bought with cryptocurrency once mined using a GeForce GPU. Upon returning home, they release the day’s stress by playing a VR game and bask in this alternate reality.