At the AMCS Inspire Webinar, Bernard Marr, global authority on technology from Bernard Marr & Co gave a presentation on how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already changing the world around us, and its potential to help us gain deeper understanding and develop solutions for some of the challenges we face.
His presentation was followed by AMCS product manager Ken Tierney who demonstrated our innovative AMCS Vision AI system that identifies the composition of waste and recyclables to target contamination. This solution can also automate use cases as diverse as identifying overloaded containers, counting items (e.g., bales, containers) etc.
Here are our 7 takeaways from the session:
1. AI is the most powerful technology humans have ever had access to
According to Microsoft, every company will become an AI-based company in the coming years.
AI is nothing new. It has evolved. We have had automated character recognition for 30 years to recognize handwriting on envelopes for example.
Where AI has struggled in the past is where we cannot easily put things into algorithms such as recognizing a person or an animal. For example, humans have supervised learning that means our neurons are developed into understanding and making links that enable us to spot the similarities between the real and an image or description. Children for example learn what is a lion or an elephant by being shown pictures and examples of this and then can relate it to images in films, or the real thing at the zoo or in the wild.
But with machine learning, we can now give AI data and it learns from it and makes those associations. This was first used in the military to identify submarines, so the technology did not get false positives from icebergs and whales but was able to understand the characteristics of a submarine and differentiate it from other similar sized and shaped items.
Reinforcement learning is teaching a machine learning algorithm where you tell the computer every example you can. The computer learns from all these examples and seeks to improve on it. This is a way of introducing creativity into AI. Examples so far have included developing AI-based technology that can outsmart humans in games such as Go and Chess.
But this potential is already being used in sectors such as healthcare to understand illnesses by analyzing vast databases of images.
Machine vision is the name given to the AI technology that can understand and learn from deep processing of million or billions of images, enabling innovative solutions to emerge.
2. Smartphones can be used as scanners for AI and machine vision processes
Examples of AI technology already being used on mobile phones includes:
- FaceID on iPhones using the phone’s computer power to analyze individual faces to allow access to the phone
- Healthcare is being democratized – for example, you can check skin conditions or whether a mole is cancerous by scanning millions of images – this on your phone has access to more data than a dermatologist could ever learn – surgery is also being automated using surgical robots
- Counterfeit detection – global designer fashion brands can use AI to verify whether a product is real or fake
3. Augmented reality allows for AI to analyze real conditions & make insights
Augmented reality using machine vision is transformative.
An example is opticians helping customers to select glasses. People can see what the glasses look like on them if ordering online for example, but can also get recommendations on what suits them based on the AI assessing their skin tone, face shape etc.
Nike are also using an AI app to scan your foot, to give you precise measurement, and recommend trainers that will fit.
Companies such as Meta (owner of Facebook), Microsoft and Alphabet (owner of Google) are also developing the metaverse where a virtual world is created. Within this, AI can be used to create real-world-like environments to test novel solutions against some of the challenges we face.
4. AI can be used to improve customer relationships
Customer journey/business intelligence – AI can be used to improve customer relationships such as using recognition to streamline processes but also helps companies to better understand their operations.
AI is being used for customer recognition using technology like FaceID on Apple’s iPhones. At Amazon Go stores, they are reimagining traditional retailing. With Amazon Go, as you walk into the store, it recognizes who you are, has your credit card data, and knows what you put in your bag so you can walk out of the store with your products. There is no need to put your products in a cart, unload them at the cashier, pay for them, and put them in a bag.
Royal Caribbean has made the onboarding process much quicker on its cruise ships, by allowing people to submit documents and ID in advance then use face recognition to identify them. It reduces the process from half a day to less than an hour.
Premier League football coaches now have access to real-time data during a match, so they can make decisions based on how many calories have been burned by a player and make substitution decisions based on this data.
AI can also help with quality control. For example, robots and drones are being used for quality control by Boeing, meaning hangars and scaffolding are now not needed as much. The plane can be assessed quickly for maintenance requirements and without the need for a large human team inspecting all the plane within the hangar.
Automation of processes and autonomous vehicles also have the potential to improve people’s lives and present business opportunities. In Milton Keynes in England, Starship robots deliver from grocery stores and take away food restaurants. These navigate autonomously and can cross busy junctions, pedestrian footpaths, and cyclists. These robots are now part of everyday life and have now been rolled out on university campuses and in many cities around the world.
Cars are slowly becoming more autonomous. They help us stay in lane, brake, or increasingly drive itself. At some point in the future, we will have completely autonomous vehicles.
5. 5G technology enables wider use of AI
The development of 5g telecommunications infrastructure in many countries enables AI to enter areas where it previously was not capable of doing. Applications that use copious amounts of bandwidth, such as real time data processing, may not be able to achieve this on 4g networks, especially in remote/rural areas or where broadband provision is poor.
Already, fish farmers in Norway are using 5G infrastructure to use AI to identify salmon using marks on their faces and process the data onshore. This allows for better tracking for feeding and health needs of the fish.
6. Sustainability – AI has the potential to solve some of the planet’s greatest challenges.
Technology is being used to identify animals and track endangered species. This technology has the potential to transform our understanding of the biggest problems including climate change and identify solutions to tackle sustainability issues. Companies such as AMCS are using AI and producing the technology to do this.
7. AMCS Vision AI: How to tackle the challenges of Climate Change and Resource Depletion
AMCS Vision AI identifies contamination in recycling – we have a camera fitted on the vehicle, and position sensor on the lifting arm . Every time a lift takes place, the camera records a video and AI, and machine learning analyses the images of the material.
According to Ken Tierney, there is a problem with contamination in recycling that leads to poorer quality product. Inspecting contamination in a container is a time-consuming practice. It involves a manual process that involves a person opening a container, looking in, identifying the contamination, and putting a label on it.
AMCS Vision AI automates these processes using cameras to replace costly human inspections. We use sensors and cameras to identify what is in the hopper, record it using video, then send up onto our platform.
There are three parts to AMCS Vision AI. These are:
- The camera is trained on the hopper
- Vision AI identifies the contamination using machine vision technology
- Vision AI Analytics Portal is a web-based application, that transforms and analyses images into actionable insights. We can measure and score each image, connect to location addresses and routes as we know where the container is located and identify the customer, engage with the customer with evidence to show the materials are not suitable in the waste stream, and provide trend analysis on improvement on quality.
We provide a range of dashboards, reports and KPIs to generate valuable insights. This includes a heat map that displays the locations with most instances of contamination and position sensor on the lifting [KT1]
The benefits of using AMCS Vision AI are:
- Reduced contamination cost
- Better environmental outcomes
- Enhanced staff safety
- Increased public trust and loyalty.
In future, we are looking at using AI and cameras to analyze inventory. AMCS is also developing technology automatically identify overfilled containers for follow up actions including billing. We are also seeking to assess material on the scale and at other yard locations to assess material.
Click here to learn more about AMCS Vision AI and request a demo to discover how it can help you automate your business.
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