Tag Archives: AI

Robots at the gate: Humans and technology at work

Barclays – Humans have often had a cautious relationship with new technology, particularly when it causes widespread disruption in the workforce. Yet historically, technological advances have not resulted in fewer jobs available to humans, but rather have led to the creation of new opportunities. Farriers and saddlemakers were hit hard when cars replaced horse carriages, but the petrol stations, mechanics, motels and related industries that sprung up created new, yet different, types of jobs.

More recently, the smartphone is a great example of technological advances creating new forms of work. Twenty years ago, mobile app developer was not a job; today, millions of such developers are at work around the world.

One of the most influential economists of all time, David Ricardo, flip-flopped on the issue. In 1821, he stated that while was a general good, he was now more worried about the substitution effect on labor. And the discussion was not always academic – the Luddite movement was an early example of workers resorting to violence to protest the use of technology in textile factories.

As the decades passed, the Industrial Revolution led to a visible, massive improvement in living standards. But the debate – on how technology affects work and whether it is an unequivocal positive – continued to wax and wane.

Machine learning represents a fundamental change. It is a subset of the much-abused term ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and is grounded in statistics and mathematical optimization. The computer is fed vast data sets and a few general parameters to point it in the right direction. Then, the machine executes simulations of how biological neurons behave, uses that to recognize recurring sequences in the data, and writes its own rules.

Suddenly, it is no longer limited to applying algorithms that
a human wrote; the machine is designing its own. more (pdf)>

Updates from GE

The Fix Is In: AI Is Solving The Riddle Of Smarter, Faster Maintenance
By P.D. Olson – It might seem like a cushy job to be the man or woman who works out of the carpeted offices of a power plant, coordinating field service crews who traipse out into the elements to fix, say, an idled wind turbine. But it’s far from elementary. “It’s still a judgment call,” says Scott Berg, chief operating officer of ServiceMax from GE Digital. “Dispatchers probably can’t consider all the historic factors and track record of the individual. Your ability to dispatch might be dependent on your personal knowledge of 20 people.”

But starting this year, artificial intelligence will help make some of those decisions less complex. “We call it intelligent dispatching,” Berg says.

ServiceMax leads the global industry of field service management software — an estimated $25 billion market worldwide. The ServiceMax research team is now developing algorithms that will help dispatchers pick the right repair person by scanning each individual’s work history and predicting which technician would be the quickest and most reliable at a particular task.

The new AI-driven suggestions will offer details that most people wouldn’t be able to remember, never mind calculate together with all the other parameters to consider, such as a field worker’s skill set, time available and distance to the site. “We’re running a proof of concept now,” Berg says. more>