Oracle on Tuesday demonstrated artificial intelligence and machine learning advances in the Oracle Cloud Platform at Oracle CloudWorld in New York.
Autonomous capabilities for application development, mobile and bots, integration, analytics, security and system management are scheduled for availability in the first half of this year.
Oracle announced a slew of new Platform as a Service features and capabilities, including the following:
Mobile and bots —
- Self-learning chatbots that observe interaction patterns and preferences to automate frequently performed end-user actions, freeing up time for higher-productivity tasks;
- Unsupervised smart bots that use machine learning to learn from user conversations, enabling fluid, contextual conversations; and
- Automated caching of API calls to the nearest data center in real time for lowest-latency responses based on the end user’s location.
Security and management —
- Machine learning-driven user and entity behavior analytics to isolate and eliminate suspicious and malicious users automatically;
- Preventative controls to intercept data leaks across both structured and unstructured data repositories; and
- A unified data repository across log, performance, user experience, and configuration data with applied AI and ML to automate setting and managing performance and security monitoring metadata.
The Oracle Digital Assistant
Oracle also demonstrated an Oracle Digital Assistant, which will provide centralized communications across CRM, ERP, HCM, custom applications and business intelligence data.
The assistant will use AI to correlate data and automate user behavior.
Among its capabilities:
- Integration with speech-based devices and software like Amazon Echo (Alexa), Apple Siri, Google Home and Speech, Harman Kardon (Cortana) and Microsoft Cortana;
- Deep neural net-based machine learning algorithms to process messages from voice-based devices to understand end-user input and take action;
- Intelligent routing to Oracle Bots with the knowledge to process end users input; and
- Deep insights into user behavior, context, preferences and routines the Assistant uses to self-learn, in order to recommend and automate across all data sets on behalf of the user.
The Assistant’s cross-application capability “is the differentiator,” said Holger Mueller, principal analyst at Constellation Research.
However, “I’m skeptical,” he told the E-Commerce Times, “as no neural network has been announced by Oracle.”
The Assistant “would be compelling if it actually works,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.
That said, “the major hardware players in the space already have their own back ends,” he told the E-Commerce Times.
Amazon, Google, Microsoft and IBM “haven’t exactly been Oracle’s greatest fans over the years,” Enderle pointed out. “I think the promise is massively ahead of reality here.”
The Autonomous Database
Oracle also announced upcoming Autonomous Database services. The Autonomous Database, which uses advanced AI and ML, was first announced in October.
Multiple Autonomous Database services, each tuned to a specific workload, will be released this year:
- Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud Service for analytics;
- Oracle Autonomous Database OLTP for transactional and mixed workloads; and
- Oracle Autonomous NoSQL Database for fast massive-scale reads and writes.
Leg Up or Tall Story?
“An autonomous Oracle is truly ahead of everybody,” observed Constellation Research’s Mueller. “This announcement now fleshes out the autonomous database, which had gaps in security and the risk of old code.”
However, overall, Oracle’s announcement “reads like a whopper,” Enderle said.”Folks forget that Oracle is famous for making claims they have capabilities long before they actually have them.”
Delivering on its autonomous cloud promise “would require massive capabilities Oracle has yet to demonstrate in data centers that haven’t been built yet,” he added.
Further, Oracle’s policy is to lock in customers, and “these efforts have high requirements for interoperability,” Enderle said. Also, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and IBM “have services that can do [the same thing but] they just aren’t packaged as nicely.”
Still, if successfully executed, he acknowledged that Oracle’s plans “would be a massive boost” to its existing efforts in the targeted areas.