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10 Minute Text


Head in the clouds, with David Linthicum

May 22, 2023, 1:20pm EDT

David Linthicum, Deloitte’s Chief Cloud Strategy Officer, is helping the company’s clients figure out their AI strategies, putting him right in the middle of one of the hottest debates in that space. Should companies go it on their own, building their own AI models or using open source models? Or should they use turn key products from companies like Google and Microsoft? We texted with David from his Lessburg, VA.


Reed Albergotti said:

Happy Tuesday! Thank you for doing this. We always start off by asking where you are and can you send me a selfie?

David Linthicum said:

Leesburg, VA. I’m in my office/podcast studio.

Reed Albergotti said:

Love the rustic, wood-paneled look. What’s the story with the musical instrument?

David Linthicum said:

Used to Play. Not now.

Reed Albergotti said:

Because AI musicians replaced you?

David Linthicum said:

No, because I was not that good.

Reed Albergotti said:

Haha. Well, let’s talk about AI anyway. How is Deloitte going to use generative AI?

David Linthicum said:

We will be assisting our clients in leveraging AI to improve their businesses. There is much to get done now that technology is cost-effective and viable.

Reed Albergotti said:

Anything more specific? Can it replace consultants?

David Linthicum said:

Ha! I hope not. It’s really about learning how this technology can be leveraged for business value. Consultants will be needed to make that happen consistently.

Reed Albergotti said:

You sound like a consultant 😊 Ok, I was interested in your decision to go with Google cloud, versus customizing your own models, running them in local servers, at least while the tech is still new. What went into that decision?

David Linthicum said:

At Deloitte we work with all cloud providers, and all of their services, we don’t promote a specific technology. It’s about matching the requirements to the right solutions, including gen AI. I’m an architect, I use all building materials.

Reed Albergotti said:

Is Deloitte also working with open-source models and/or developing its own?

David Linthicum said:

We work with all open source standards, and while we don’t develop specific open source solutions, we work with all open source technology to make sure we build the most optimized solution.

David Linthicum said:

Again, we can’t lock yourself to a specific technology, else we’ll be missing opportunities for our clients.

Reed Albergotti said:

Are you clients at all apprehensive about sending sensitive data to be used by AI models on cloud services?

David Linthicum said:

Sure, there is always a healthy concern about sending data to other systems. You have to understand the risks, but there is value in doing so. Security models must be leveraged, and operated.

Reed Albergotti said:

Overall, what’s going to happen to your cloud spend as a result of AI? How much do you think it will increase?

David Linthicum said:

Great question. Cloud spending will inflect as a result of AI adoption, those systems eat a lot of compute and storage resources. Thus, we’ll see a rise in cloud spending, and cloud consumption.

Reed Albergotti said:

What’s your argument for why it’s worth it? Where will you make up for the increased cost?

David Linthicum said:

Another great question. The business value of generative AI, and other AI system is huge. Thus, if we’re able to spend money on gen AI, and the cloud that supports it, that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the value that will be returned.

Reed Albergotti said:

What’s your sense of who will win in AI cloud? Do Google and Microsoft take market share from Amazon? Or does the pie just get bigger?

David Linthicum said:

The cloud providers will all share in the value created by AI, and I see most tech players, including the cloud players, benefiting from the rising strategic use of AI, both in consumption and net new AI services that will be offering.

Reed Albergotti said:

Sounds like good news all around. Anything you’re worried about when it comes to AI?

David Linthicum said:

We have to consider the ethical AI issues, such as as biases. We have to be careful, and try to do no harm.

Reed Albergotti said:

That’s about all the time we have. Thank you!