AI: Going Beyond Automation

AI helps us accomplish tasks beyond our human limitations, but with more data, comes the need for accelerated compute and scale-out storage resources.

In my previous blog, I talked about the “reality of virtuality” with artificial intelligence (AI). Today’s focus is the role of AI in automation and beyond.

A great deal of the focus of artificial intelligence (AI) is on automating tasks so a person doesn’t have to do them. At its simplest level, AI enables users to program systems to perform tasks. For example, a coffee pot can be programmed to automatically start early in the morning so coffee is ready when the alarm goes off. The AI is performing limited thinking along the lines of, “Is it 5:45 a.m. yet?”  

The more connected the system is, the more capabilities it can perform. Consider a coffee pot that can communicate with the alarm on a user’s phone. Instead of always turning the pot on at 5:45 a.m., the AI can adjust to whatever time the user has set the alarm for (and subtract ten minutes so the coffee is ready when the alarm goes off). An even smarter system could turn on the pot when the phone is first picked up by the user, just in case they’ve woken before the alarm.   

Similarly, the more complex the data set the AI has to evaluate, the “smarter” the system can beA smart sprinkler system, for example, could access the internet to check the local weather and conserve water if rain is predicted. A smart house could turn off lights as you leave a room so you don’t have to. 

Beyond Automation

AI gets really interesting when it goes beyond mere automation to the next level of capability: augmentation. Instead of doing things for us, AI helps us do things beyond our human limitations. 

AI gets really interesting when it goes beyond mere automation to the next level of capability: augmentation. Instead of doing things for us, AI helps us do things beyond our human limitations.

AI helps us be more efficientMany complex tasks cannot (yet) be performed by a computer. Consider a radiologist. It takes an experienced eye to read an X-ray. It also takes time to scan the image to locate potential areas that need in-depth analysis. AI-based systems aid radiologists by learning what these experts are looking for. AI may not be able to discern what a certain kind of mark is an indication of, but it can identify areas where a radiologist is going to need to take a closer look. The radiologist still makes the diagnosis, but AI helps reduce the scanning time required by human eyes. The result is shorter scanning times, leading to a single radiologist being able to evaluate more images. 

AI helps us be safer: There’s a lot for a person to track when driving a vehicle. Humans deal with all of this data by cycling through the data – view through the windshield, speedometer, rearview mirror, check instrument panel, repeat. With limited time and attention on the road, it can take drivers significant time to identify a potential problem, such as the car ahead putting on its brakes. Today’s advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) utilize AI to track all of the relevant data from multiple views and sensors simultaneously. AI can also extend a person’s senses by identifying cars in the blind spots or beeping an alert when a person is about to walk behind the car in a parking lot. Many ADAS systems are now able to highlight road signs and potential hazards on the windshield. With AI, drivers can be more informed, more alert, and, as a consequence, safer. 

AI helps us keep our autonomy longer: Getting old can be challenging. At some point, most of us can expect to lose our autonomy and require regular care and assistance just to perform everyday tasks. AI is at the core of modern senior care technology. These systems are tracking and learning the behaviors of seniors so that they can automatically verify their health and well-being. With AI’s tireless eyes and ears watching over our elders, they can extend the time where they can live on their own.  

Beyond Augmentation

And then there are kinds of the tasks that people simply cannot do, either because we don’t have the patience, the attention to detail, or the million years it would take for us to complete them. Currently, this is the realm of science fiction, but only just for a short while longer. AI technology is advancing at a dizzying pace. And as the Internet of Things (IoT) expands our connectedness and increases the amount of data we have access to, things are only going to get more interesting.  

With more data, however, comes the need for accelerated compute and scale-out storage resources, all the way from the cloud out to the edge. The journey to AI can take many paths, and choosing the right one begins with a thorough understanding of the relevant use cases combined with a well-thought-out plan 

For many companies, the best route to success is to begin with an affordable yet scalable AI prototype. For example, Dell Technologies can help you navigate the challenges ahead with its Dell Precision Data Science Workstation with Dell EMC PowerScale Starter Bundle. For organizations who have already begun their AI journey, Dell Technologies offer a range of production-ready AI solutions like Dell EMC Ready Solutions for AI. These solutions offer reference architectures complete with reproducible benchmark methodology, hardware and software configurations, sizing guidance, and performance measurement tools.  

AI promises to take us far beyond our human limits. With AI, you won’t have to think as much to do more and be more efficient. In turn, with Dell you won’t have to think about AI as much to build intelligent systems.  

Dell Technologies is at the forefront of AI innovation to help you make tomorrow possible. Learn more about how AI is changing the world here as well as from my NVIDIA GTC 2020 session on Platform considerations from Proof-of-Concepts to Large Scale Deployments. 

 

 

Chhandomay Mandal

About the Author: Chhandomay Mandal

Dr. Chhandomay Mandal is the Director of Solutions Marketing at Dell Technologies. He leads Storage and Data Protection Solutions for artificial intelligence, analytics, business applications, and VMware as well as industry-specific solutions for healthcare, media & entertainment, semiconductors and smart manufacturing. Prior to his current role, he led Dell’s all-flash storage solutions marketing efforts for desktop virtualization, server virtualization and private cloud. Dr. Mandal has been awarded 13 patents. He has a PhD from University of Florida, MBA from Indiana University, and BTech from Indian Institute of Technology.