An old colleague of mine is joining a self-driving car startup. I took the chance to ask him a bunch of questions in that space. Learned quite a bit from the conversation, but more importantly, I realized I wasn’t paying enough attention to this important new trend. A trend that’s already making new winners and losers in the market.
For example, I totally did not know DRAM can be hot property because of AI:
Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy recently joined Water Street Capital and has pushed the secretive hedge fund firm to build a large stake in Micron Technology Inc., arguing the market for its main product is set for a sustained boom without the wild ups and crushing downs of the past.
The rise of cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and augmented and virtual reality applications on Apple Inc. iPhones and other high-end smartphones will spur stronger demand for DRAM chips, Joy wrote in a recent memo to Water Street founder Gilchrist Berg and other executives at the firm.
DRAM supply is likely to fall well short of this demand as it becomes increasingly difficult and expensive to churn out more capable chips, and a smaller number of manufacturers behave more rationally to maintain profit, Joy added.
My old friend told me the inference side of self driving is the interesting bit. They need new silicon and fast communication links to make sure the self driving module can respond in real time with ultra high regularity. I suspect that’s why Apple made the shift from making a whole car ala Tesla to focus on the on-car self-driving module. Apple has the world’s best silicon design team and one of the few players who know how to write OS and compilers.