Big AI: Cloud Infrastructure and the Industrialisation of AI

A new open access article by Fernando van der Vlist, Anne Helmond, and Fabian Ferrari in: Big Data & Society,

Big AI: Cloud Infrastructure and the Industrialisation of AI

In this paper we study the convergence of AI and Big Tech (or ‘Big AI’), and AI’s ‘industrialization’, i.e. its transition from R&D to real-world applications and its pervasive expansion and integration across industries and sectors.

First, Big Tech provide strategic support and investments. Using a technographic approach, we analyze the infrastructural support and investments of Big Tech in the AI sector, covering corporate partnerships, acquisitions, and financial investments. Second, cloud platforms are the backbone of AI. We analyze the complete spectrum of cloud offerings (infrastructure, models, and applications) by Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, and show how their marketplaces and industry-focused solutions fuel a broader AI ecosystem.

We argue that cloud platforms not only control computing infrastructure but also the marketplaces for AI models and applications, representing a dual power.

Cloud AI ecosystems of Amazon, Microsoft, and Google

Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are openly available in the Open Science Framework (OSF) at



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