Several years ago, the technology that enabled connections between different devices led to the idea of the Internet of Things (IoT). It is a connected world where information is transmitted and processed via the Internet. The revolution 4.0 of today is being spearheaded by Artificial Intelligence (IA), a branch of computing that allows machines to perceive their environment, think, learn and act to achieve a result.
IoT and IA form a perfect tandem that can unleash the full potential of industries and businesses. Besides analysing data and identifying patterns, machines can also think, take decisions and create self-correcting analytical models, making them essential tools for optimising the potential and economic impact of various sectors.
Ricardo Santos, CEO of Heptasense and speaker at the IOT Solutions World Congress, considers that adding artificial intelligence to the Internet of Things will take business to a new level: “Without artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things is just a huge mass of data with no structure or meaning. It is artificial intelligence that gives business the tools to see how it can take full advantage of all this data.”
The testbeds area of the fair, show that the adoption of IA has been led by the ICT and telecommunications, automobile and financial services sectors so far, but it will be expanding its application to other areas in coming years. By 2030, according to PwC eartificial intelligence will have added 14% to GDP through its effect on productivity and consumption. Similarly, the consultants at Gartner have published that over 80% of business projects with IoT technology in 2022 will include AI, compared with 10% at present.
Therefore, according to the ACCIÓ Competitive Strategy and Intelligence Unit study (Generalitat de Catalunya) the 8 sectors where AI will be decisive in the short and medium term are:
- ICT and cyber security: improving data processing and augmented reality techniques, developing proactive cyber security and the deployment of the 5G technology that drives AI.
- Defence and security: facial and voice recognition for public order, monitoring of traffic lights, roads and patrols, automated and more accurate anti-aircraft systems.
- Health: closer analysis of the human genome, early diagnosis of illnesses, precision surgery and the fight against aging.
- Tourism and leisure: customized holidays to take advantage of the services available, accurate demand forecasts and efficient bookings.
- Industry and agriculture: automation of administrative tasks, robots for production work, optimisation of farm production.
- Automotive: energy efficiency for vehicles, improved safety and the introduction of autonomous vehicles, where drivers become passengers.
- Banking and finance: Fraud detection and prevention, accurate analysis of investment risks and convergence with other technologies such as blockchain
- Retail: smart changing rooms, virtual bots as personal shoppers, smart inventory management, shops without assistants and payment with facial recognition.
Not everything will be easy. The new avenues opened by technology force us to look again at our ethics and feelings in relation with the decisions we make: Should machines decide and act entirely automatically? Can we teach them the criteria of right and wrong? What is the limit between the human and the artificial?
Artificial intelligence and SDG
As a disruptive and multi-disciplinary technology, artificial intelligence has a vital role in achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals as set out in its Agenda 2030. This programme consists of 17 goals to achieve a better world.
These are the 10 AI applications that can contribute to reaching these SDG:
- Early detection of poverty and illness
- Optimisation of the distribution networks for renewable energy
- Improving urban planning and accessibility in cities
- Facial recognition at borders to improve security
- Access to education and raising educational standards
- Improving the distribution of food and vital materials
- Identification of victims of gender violence
- Support systems for the treatment and processing of wastewater
- Responsible manufacturing and use of resources through efficient productive processes
- Robots to improve selective recycling and measuring CO2 levels.