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The Future is Knocking: The AI Revolution

Mathias Goyen, Prof.

Mathias Goyen, Prof.

Chief Medical Officer EMEA at GE Healthcare

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to greatly improve things like healthcare, education, poverty, and security. AI enables machines to see faster, to read faster, or to search through huge amounts of data for patterns thereby augmenting and elevating our daily lives.

Here are a few milestones:

  • IBM’s “Deep Blue” computer beat the world chess champion Kasparov in 1997
  • Google’s “Alpha Go” beat the world’s best player in the board game Go in 2017
  • Hanson Robotics’ humanoid robot “Sophia” spoke at the United Nations in 2017
  • Facebook’s AI poker bot called “Pluribus” wins against world-class professionals
  • Virtual assistants like “Alexa” understand and respond sensibly to questions and commands from people
  • “Google Translate” translates texts into other languages faster

I see three main areas driving this rapid development:

  1. The incredible increase in hardware performance over the last 25 years, the drastic reduction in electrical power and the ever smaller, better and more effective performance of cameras, microphones and sensors of all kinds.
  2. The development of powerful algorithms connected to neural networks that are interconnected in a complex manner. Such networks can recognize patterns without being specially programmed.
  3. The greatest increase in success comes from the unimaginable amount of data stored in the cloud. All the billions of images, texts, videos, and personal files of people are training material for the smart machines.

AI will fundamentally change society and the work environment. Here are several areas that stand out in particular:

A)  Smart Factory – the future vision in industry

A Smart Factory is a highly digitized shop floor that continuously collects and shares data through connected machines, devices, and production systems, e.g. in mechanical engineering, the automotive industry, electrical engineering, agriculture, but also medical technology. Employees will have a virtual impact on the work process without direct physical contact.

B) Smart Office

A Smart Office is a workplace where technology enables people to work better, faster and, of course, smarter. Beacons, sensors, and mobile apps help employees perform menial tasks better and faster, so they have enough time to focus on growing businesses and innovating. In clinics, companies or banks, voice-controlled AI systems will process data and give recommendations for diagnoses or optimization of processes.

C) Smart Grid

A Smart Grid is an electricity network enabling a two-way flow of electricity and data whereby smart metering is often seen as a first step. Smart grids – as a concept – became known over a decade ago and are essential in the digital transformation of the electricity sector. A network becomes intelligent and sustainable if an appropriate exchange of information can control optimal electricity generation, electricity consumption and electricity storage. In Germany it has been decided that every electricity meter will meet these requirements by 2032.

D) Smart Car – Smart Traffic Signals

The mobility of the future will and must change if we want to reduce traffic chaos, protect the environment, and increase safety. A Smart Car is a vehicle that enables partially autonomous and fully autonomous driving by means of sensor technology and GPS. Smart Traffic Signals continuously monitor, learn, predict, and respond to traffic demands and conditions with optimal signal timing given current conditions. Using these technologies, several pilot projects have reduced travel times by over 25 percent by stopping vehicles 30 percent fewer times, cutting both travel times and greenhouse gas emissions.

E) Smart City

A Smart City is a place where traditional networks and services are made more efficient with the use of digital and telecommunication technologies for the benefit of its inhabitants and business. A smart city goes beyond the use of information and communication technologies for better resource use and less emissions. It means more sustainable, more accessible, and more economical urban transport, upgraded water supply and waste disposal facilities and more efficient ways to light and heat buildings. It also means a more interactive and responsive city administration, safer public spaces and meeting the needs of an ageing population.

F) Smart Farming

Digitization and AI have already become an integral part of daily work in agriculture. Smart Farming is a management concept focused on providing the agricultural industry with the infrastructure to leverage advanced technology – including big data, the cloud and the internet of things – for tracking, monitoring, automating and analyzing operations. Automation, the use of robots, machine control for fertilization and weed control, use of renewable energies, control of feeding – the change in agriculture has begun.

G) Privacy Protection

AI systems also bring new challenges for privacy, data protection and security. Important infrastructures need to be protected because global networks are new gateways for criminal activities.

In summary, AI can do some very beneficial things already today that humans will simply never be able to. If we leverage that to augment what humans do well, AI could positively impact society, business, and culture on the order of magnitude of the internet itself.

Published by

Mathias Goyen, Prof.
Chief Medical Officer EMEA at GE Healthcare

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