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Artificial Intelligence, the New Electricity - Makes an Entry into Factories

Artificial Intelligence will soon be used in factories. Andrew Ng, co-founder of Google Brain project launched a new venture with Foxconn, Apple manufacturing partner, this week to implement artificial intelligence in factories.

Artificial Intelligence, the New Electricity - Makes an Entry into Factories

Artificial Intelligence will soon be used in factories. Andrew Ng, co-founder of Google Brain project launched a new venture with Foxconn, Apple manufacturing partner, this week to implement artificial intelligence in factories. Google Brain is a deep learning artificial intelligence research project at Google co-founded by Andrew in 2011, which combines open-ended Machine Learning research with system engineering and Google-scale computing resources. The project’s mission is to improve people's lives by making machines smarter. To do this, the team focuses on constructing models with high degrees of flexibility having capability to learn their own features, and use data and computation efficiently.


Strategic Partnership of Andrew's Startup Landing.ai with Foxconn

Andrew was a Stanford professor when he joined Google in 2011 to work on a project that created software capable of recognizing cats. Also, Andrew was responsible for a new corporate emphasis on AI at Google. He later led AI research at Chinese search engine Baidu in the role of Chief Scientist. He exited Baidu earlier this year after leading its AI team of 1300+, which is working on AI technology in both China and Silicon Valley. Andrew is also a co-founder of online education company Coursera, where he still serves as co-chairman. On December 14, Thursday, 2017, Andrew disclosed his first major project since striking out on his own in March. It’s a startup called Landing.ai aimed at helping manufacturers make use of AI technology. Andrew’s Landing.ai has not yet accepted outside capital, but investors have shown interest, according to Reuters. Based at Palo Alto, the startup has nine open positions, which includes streams such as machine learning, computer vision and automation & robotics engineers. According to Andrew, Landing’s initial clients will be in China and Japan.

 

Foxconn, globally known for assembling iPhones, is Landing.ai’s first strategic partner and has been working with Andrew’s company since July 2017. Foxconn employs more than One Million professionals and tens of thousands of robots making iPhones and other electronics. It has a reputation for cost cutting, including at the expense of its workers. Now, it’s partnering with an Artificial Intelligence researcher who helped trigger Google’s reorientation around Machine Learning in order to make its own factories more efficient. Foxconn, the only client named so far, is a smart team-up. Besides its mammoth size and strong relationships with top brands like Apple, the company has shown an intense interest in using automation to cut costs.

Impact and Mitigation Strategy - AI to Benefit People and Society

Andrew is enthusiastic about AI advances, but at the same time he is aware that his efforts are likely to replace human workforce handling machineries and equipments: “I would love to help displaced workers gain the skills they need to succeed,” Andrew said, reported Reuters. The impact AI will have on the job market is a major issue for tech executives working with machine learning. One solution to the anticipated displacement of human jobs that many Silicon Valley leaders agree on is the concept of the Universal Basic Income (UBI), paying every person a monthly stipend large enough to cover their living expenses with no strings attached. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Tesla CEO Elon Musk have come out in support of a version of UBI.

To mitigate the impact of AI, Google parent company Alphabet recently joined Apple, Facebook, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft in the Partnership on ‘AI to Benefit People and Society’. The group is aimed to guide AI research toward benefiting humans. Issues the tech firms are likely to address encompass ethics, inclusivity and privacy surrounding AI advances. Specific issues to be studied could include the economic impact of AI to avoid killing jobs, ethical questions when it comes to self-driving cars and human control over weapons systems.

Landing’s Role in Implementation of AI

At a recent press conference in San Francisco, Andrew reportedly demonstrated how AI could be implemented as part of a factory’s quality control process. He displayed a video that featured a worker inspecting a circuit board with a digital camera connected to a computer. Andrew claimed that while a classic computer vision system needs thousands of sample images to be trained as the one seen in the video, Landing.ai’s system requires only five training images. Andrew stresses that the manufacturing industry is not yet prepared to make use of recent advancements in machine learning, so his company is indispensable. Expertise in the field is scarce, and coveted by internet companies like his former employers. “Outside the IT world almost no one has access to the technology or talent,” Andrew says, wearing a varsity jacket flaunting “AI is the new electricity” in cursive script over his heart.

Landing will work consultant-style with clients to provide the expertise they lack—not unlike new services from Google and Amazon that have been availed by companies such as USAA and the NFL. Andrew says his team is building tools it can apply across many different clients. A company video shows software spotting flaws on circuit boards and camera lenses, a tedious task Andrew says is often done by humans. His team of around twenty is also tapping machine learning to adjust the configuration of equipment such as injection-molding machines to improve quality, or use of materials.

Artificial Intelligence certainly has the potential to create a society where people can experience everything much better, freeing up human mechanical labor. But for the society to accept high-end powerful computers and other intelligent devices, the most important necessity is proper and sufficient investment in education.


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