🧠 [Brain Food #22] Emerging Tech, Tech Stacks 📀

A Simple Framework for Tech Stacks

GM Readers! ☀️

Welcome to the 22nd issue of Evolving Internet Insights’ 🧠 Brainfood. 

As we mentioned in our last issue, moving forward 🧠 Brainfood will take the form of multi-part, well-informed, and systematically-derived research pieces on the value chains and tech stacks within emerging tech.

In this new format, the frequency of these research pieces hitting your inbox will be subject to change (i.e. more irregular but optimize for greater depth). Though, as we produce them, we will ship them!

Thanks for reading!🙌

Liang and Dan 🙌

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Emerging Tech Disrupts the Internet

There are multiple technological paradigm shifts taking place that will change the trajectory of the Internet. We have covered many of these, with the two primary ones being AI and Web3.

AI drastically reduces and lowers the cost of production. For example, in art and graphics, generative AI tools allow anyone to create high fidelity outputs with just a few keystrokes. Traditionally, humans had to create the art by hand which incurred a bunch of production-side costs (hiring artists, etc). And it is not just art, generative AI is disrupting content production of every type. Most (if not all) knowledge work and creative work can be distilled down to “content” of some form (writing, marketing campaigns, graphics, software code, screenplays, etc). AI enables a world of infinite creation at close to zero marginal costs, i.e. at a fraction of the time and cost.

On the other hand, Web3 enables digital ownership at the individual level. Traditionally, anything that anyone creates on the Internet is generally owned and governed by the platform that the “thing” exists on. With Web3, users can truly have digital ownership which means they own their digital content, works, and assets without needing a centralized platform to legitimize that ownership. Furthermore, with digital ownership, a Web3 entrepreneur can bring a global community together and organize that community through ownership of a digital asset, globally on day 1.

AI, Web3, and any other technological shift (old and new) proliferate due to innovations at specific parts of the tech stack.

A Simple Tech Stack

A simple framework to think about any technology is:

  • Applications

  • The “Middle Layer”

  • Infrastructure

Each technology paradigm has its own nuances, but we use this framework as a high-level mental map to guide our exploration.

In the realm of generative AI, it looks something like this: 

  • Applications: As the “tip of the spear,” the Applications Layer serves as the interface for end-users, showcasing the direct applications of generative AI. This includes various user-centric tools and platforms for tasks like content generation, language translation, and advanced analytics, where the power of AI is harnessed to create or interpret complex data.

  • Middle Layer: The Middle Layer, or Middleware, acts as the crucial intermediary, facilitating smooth interaction between the applications and the underlying infrastructure. This layer encompasses the orchestration and management of AI models, including the deployment and scaling of these models via APIs and specialized orchestration tools. It ensures seamless integration of different data sources, handling the complexities of AI model lifecycle management, and providing necessary computational resources on-demand.

  • Infrastructure: The Infrastructure Layer forms the foundation of the entire stack. It comprises the essential hardware and software resources, such as high-performance GPUs for intensive computations, scalable data storage solutions, and cloud computing platforms. This layer is responsible for the heavy lifting, providing the computational power and data management capabilities required to train, deploy, and run sophisticated generative AI models efficiently.

Given this tech stack framework, the thinking goes: you need infrastructure to enable the rest. For example, in AI, LLMs sit at the infrastructure level, and if they do not work, there would be no generative AI applications, and no need for a middle layer to orchestrate functionality between applications and infrastructure.

Once infrastructure works pretty well, you then have a middle layer that abstracts away some of the complexities of using the infrastructure. For example, a developer might have an idea to build a generative AI application, but they might not have the know-how or resources to manage the infrastructure required to power that application. The middle layer helps enable more people and companies to use the infrastructure without needing to be infrastructure experts. Once you have both infrastructure and a functioning middle layer, this opens up more experimentation at the application layer.

As time goes on, new applications hit their limitations which then necessitates that better and newer infrastructure is built. Some have argued that the relationships between apps and infrastructure is a virtuous cycle as opposed to a linear path.

Across Technical Stacks 

Unlike the Internet Era, we live in a world of multiple emerging technologies that all have the potential to drastically change the way the Internet operates. AI’s progress and innovations across its technical stack will also be impacted by innovations in other emerging technologies.  For example, if you were building an application in generative AI where you want creators to truly own their outputs, you would look to Web3 to enable ownership through blockchain primitives. What this means is that building anything in an emerging tech industry requires one to look horizontally beyond their immediate emerging tech sector. Said another way, one cannot build something in one sector like AI or Web3 without thinking about how the other technology might disrupt or how it might be complementary and additive to what is being built. 

A fundamental technology by definition has the potential to enable paradigm shifts, but multiple fundamental technologies all springing up at once will probably do more than shift a few paradigms. 

We are not just looking at technological advancements; we are witnessing the birth of new digital societies, economies, and ways of existence. 

Emerging technologies challenge us to rethink the very nature of the internet.

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DISCLAIMER: This post is provided strictly for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing written in this post should be taken as financial advice or advice of any kind. The content of this post are the opinions of the authors and not representative of other parties. Empower yourself, DYOR (do your own research).


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