By Constance Caramanolis, KubeCon + CloudNativeCon co-chair emeritus

This is part one of our series on Tackling AI Together. We’re looking at this new challenge/opportunity in the cloud native world and asking how we can work together – and bring in new voices – to get the most out of artificial intelligence. 

KubeCon + CloudNativeCon attendees are expert software engineers. We’ve built amazing tools like Envoy, Argo, and Kubernetes that have shaped the modern computing landscape. 

But artificial intelligence presents not only technical but ethical challenges unlike those our field is used to addressing. The question goes beyond how we simplify cloud computing adoption. How do we address models growing faster than GPUs can scale? How do we explain what this model does to non-technical consumers? These aren’t questions that we as software engineers are used to dealing with. 

AI, especially LLMs, are a system problem. There are many facets to this system. Other fields have expertise that we can build bridges with that can help approach these problems from all angles. For organisations that are just starting, if you have a data science team, please leverage their expertise and different mindset for tackling problems. For newcomers, start small. (Yes, make that minimal viable product even smaller and check out the AI & ML track from previous KubeCons). Abstracting away hardware isn’t always feasible. Many problems that we face today can be solved by adding more instances of relatively cheap hardware. This is where we can reach out to our electrical and computer engineer peers to learn more and figure out a path forward. For the fuzziest part, we need to reach far out of our comfort zones. These systems need input from those who consume it to those that will regulate it. A place where we can start is with AI ethicists and legal experts. They can help us understand the system at large, give language to what we are building (more than just a tool) and help dispel misconceptions. All of this is required to ensure we build efficient and ethical systems. 

KubeCon + CloudNativeCon has been a critical hub for creating connections and pushing the envelope. I see this community expanding by including those that have always been adjacent to our work and are now tightly coupled to what we create. I personally can’t wait to welcome all the new conversations and expertise.  

<Putting on my former KubeCon Co-Chair hat> I love that KubeCon + CloudNativeCon’s 2023 AI Hub in Chicago was a low barrier to participate in the conference. Attendees presented their topics in front of everyone and this was used to come up with the day’s schedule.

Whiteboard with sticky notes of agenda of the day

Sessions covered topics from how to identify beginner tools to ‘Multi-tenant AI inference clusters: weighing security against resource sharing.’ AI Hub felt like a focused ‘hallway track’ that many KubeCon + CloudNativeCon attendees love, myself included. You didn’t need slides or to be a subject matter expert. All that was required was some good listening ears and an occasional desire to ask or to respond to a question. 

Which leads me to…everyone needs to join us in Paris for KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe and #CloudNativeAIDay!

Get all the details and register here! Standard registration rates end on February 1.