For marketing intelligence to explore new frontiers and achieve its ultimate goal, chief marketing officers may find their CRM applications were once developed by NASA and tested in space.
Those indomitable words intoned by Neil Armstrong, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” when he set foot on the moon in July 1969 poignantly signaled a new era in the history of civilization. For card-carrying members of the baby boomer generation who huddled around their family TVs and watched in real time the images of two ghost-like humans kicking up dust on the lunar surface, that seminal moment inspired midsummer night’s dreams of one day becoming an astronaut.
As an 8 year old living in Amman, Jordan, and watching that historic moonwalk, AJ Abdallat had high hopes of becoming an engineer, not knowing then how closely intertwined his childhood ambitions would eventually be with NASA and the space program. Fast-forwarding nearly 50 years, “I’m an engineer by training and an entrepreneur,” Abdallat proclaimed. “I have a passion for technology and taking technology to the commercial space. I’m going to look for real pain in the market and then try to solve those kinds of problems.”
Real-world problems, out-of-this-world apps
Abdallat’s career has been largely devoted to creating AI for the enterprise by adapting and optimizing artificial intelligence projects and inventions spawned by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and its founder, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). For the past 20 years, Abdallat has collaborated with Caltech/JPL on commercializing smart sensors and AI applications. His latest venture as CEO of 4-year-old startup Beyond Limits continues his close and symbiotic relationship with R&D dedicated to the space program.
Applications developed by Caltech/JPL have a distinct advantage: Their software and devices have been tested and proven to withstand the harsh and unforgiving environments encountered during robotic explorations of the solar system. Under the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, universities, nonprofit research institutions and small businesses are permitted to own, patent and commercialize inventions or intellectual property developed under federally funded research programs within their organizations.
Over the course of six decades, NASA’s joint research and development for its space missions has yielded a wide range of well-documented, everyday commercial products to which it can lay at least partial claim, including LEDs, prosthetic limbs, scratch-resistant sunglasses, enriched baby food, fireproof pajamas and a technology near and dear to Abdallat, the tunable diode laser.
“JPL has a unique mandate,” Abdallat said. “Their focus is on the unmanned space program. It’s relevant because JPL and Caltech are trying to create autonomous operations where human beings cannot be present. So, in the absence of basically having human beings present, you need to create human-like reasoning to support these missions.”
Mars land rover missions over the past 15 years have involved testing the Martian soil for evidence of water and therefore signs of life. JPL developed the tunable diode laser for that purpose, Abdallat said, and “we applied it to the natural gas industry where the biggest contaminant is water vapor. [W]hen it exceeds certain levels, [water vapor] can create a dangerous environment where utility companies have to shut down pipelines — a very expensive, costly option. So that was one of the successful projects where we took a technology that was built for Mars, and we applied it for a real application here on earth.”
AI is a two-sided coin
In addition to heavy industrial applications, Abdallat is now setting his sights on applying AI for the enterprise to customer engagement strategies, especially in financial services. “Location, retail behavior, investment history, saving patterns, spending patterns, all converge to help forward-looking [chief marketing officers] match individual customers with individualized products and services,” his company’s literature reads. “The goal of an AI-driven offering is to reach the customer just before they need it, not after they’ve left the premises.”
In the era of big data, internet of things, social media, multiple communication channels and AI for the enterprise, “we take both the numeric and symbolic approach to solving common problems,” Abdallat reasoned. That involves sensor fusion, he added, to sift through large pools of unstructured data as well as situational awareness to assess the data and derive actionable intelligence in strategic marketing, sales and business planning.
This concept of cognitive computing and human-like reasoning has propelled Abdallat to take a giant leap beyond the limits of “conventional AI” to help solve complex problems and engage customers. “Machine learning or neural networks is what we call the numeric side of AI,” he explained. “The human brain is really not good at doing large calculations; a calculator can do that faster. But what we’re good at is that symbolic side. That’s where we are superior to machines. Beyond Limits takes the outputs from these numeric tools — machine learning, deep learning, neural nets — and we make actionable intelligence when the presence of human beings is not possible or when you want to automate that layer.”
CRM comes into view
Finding actionable insights by analyzing human behavior and ensuring that the data is credibleare key ingredients in formulating sound AI for the enterprise marketing intelligence and CRM programs. “[W]hen you’re operating in space,” Abdallat conjectured, “you’re operating in a dynamic environment. You’re not going to have all the rules, you may have missing rules or you may have missing or misleading information. Unfortunately, in the neural net world, if you have missing data, it’s going to stop [working]. Or if you’re going to tweak that information, you’re going to have to start all over again. You need that human-reasoning layer to basically take those labels, features and make actionable intelligence.”
Outer-space robotic exploration is taking on new life. NASA’s Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, or InSight, spacecraft is now one month into an approximately seven-month journey to the Martian surface and a subsequent two-year study of the red planet’s environment, interior, evolution and potential for human habitability. Only time will tell what resultant AI applications might be adapted for the enterprise and eventually find their way into future CRM programs.
Before giving the stamp of approval to an AI project in space exploration, NASA “wanted an audit trail, [and] they wanted an explanation of how you got your answer,” Abdallat acknowledged. “If you could not show NASA how you got the answer and provide an audit trail, it was not acceptable. So that’s what symbolic AI brings to the table.” He noted that Beyond Limits CTO Mark James, senior AI scientist at JPL, developed the building block technology from the ground up to provide an explanation and an audit trail that was “very important to NASA.”
Abdallat estimated that his company currently has about 45 intellectual property building blocks, “25% of which are licensed from CalTech, 25% inherent IP or derivative IP; the remaining 50% is brand new IP that we developed and created here at Beyond Limits.”
All of which might seem like light years since the first moonwalk a half century ago and the event that advanced Abdallat’s childhood desire to be an engineer.
Read full article here.
Job Losses and AI
For most workers, though, fears around AI and its impact on employee experiences are largely confined to concerns about losing their jobs and changes to work processes through new automation capabilities.
AJ Abdallat is CEO of Glendale, Calif.-based Beyond Limits, a company specializing in artificial intelligence and cognitive computing that came out of the Caltech deep space program. He believes the fears about AI in the enterprise and its impact on employee experience are unjustified.
“Looking at the dark side of AI is a pessimistic approach to a promising future. I think frankly, in some places, like any kind of automation you will see that some jobs go away, but the labor that was there before finds a new role, and I think those new roles, especially at the level of knowledge work, will be very interesting,” he said.
More to the point, as good as AI systems are, they are not going to set enterprise objectives. While they may be able to juggle multiple specific business problems, being able to deal with the nuances of those problems is still something humans excel at. “Finding things that are worth teaching to the AI, to learn and to figure out, that’ll still always be a job in the hands of humans. I imagine that’s also when it gets kind of cyclical,” Abdallat said.
An interview with AJ Abdallat, Founder and CEO of Beyond Limits
Posted on Monday, May 28th, 2018 by Ton Dobbe
Listen to the full podcast here: Value Inspiration: New Ways AI Helps Scale Human Talent to Solve Global Problems
My guest on the podcast this week is AJ Abdallat, founder, and CEO of Beyond Limits
He’s is on a mission to make life better for all of us by changing the landscape of artificial intelligence so that it can achieve its unfulfilled potential.
He’s a serial entrepreneur with more than 19 years of experience of bringing high-tech start-up’s to fruition, specializing in artificial intelligence, reasoning systems, and smart sensors.
He founded Beyond Limits in 2014 to drive new innovation and IP by commercializing AI programs from the NASA Deep Space program to solve challenging problems for companies on Earth.
The company’s technology is an evolutionary leap beyond conventional AI to a human-like ability to perceive, understand, correlate, learn, teach, reason, and solve problems faster than conventional AI solutions. In other words, their solutions can magnify human talent, enabling people to apply their attention, experience, and their passions to solving problems that truly matter.
This inspired me, in particular, to understand how their products could help to solve the challenge of capturing and scaling unique skills and expertise, in a world where the working population is shrinking rapidly. Hence, I invited AJ to my podcast. Here are some of his quotes:
“What we’re trying to do with Beyond Limits, we feel that those same conditions and problems that exist in space, we can apply those to some of those complex problems here on earth, in energy healthcare.
We’re caputuring that human knowledge in AI in what we call cognitive agents.
We’re actually are taking the knowledge of a highly skilled individual and scaling that across the organization where we’re allowing less skilled individual to be able to utilize that.
…in the space business, you really have very experienced and seasoned scientists.
A lot of them they love their job. Quite of them are close to retirement. You really want to capture that knowledge and experience, and you can transfer that to the younger generation.
This is where we believe there is a significant collaboration between man and machine to do that.”
By listening to this podcast, you will you will learn three things:
- That a key element to crack for AI to be truly valuable in dynamic situations is to deal with situations where the data does not exist, is missing, or corrupt.
- Why we need to focus more on solving the growing human intelligence scarcity challenge that many organizations face (which goes beyond just freeing existing capacity from non-value adding repetitive tasks)
- Why every company will fare well by making a conscious decision to focus on those complex, harsh, zero tolerance problems where it can make a unique impact.
Cognitive AI in edge devices will enable the Internet of Things (IoT) to become more than a collection of sensors. AI on a Chip promises a revolution in IoT applications because it delivers actionable intelligence at the edge, where it previously was impossible.
We live in a digital world where everything can potentially be connected to everything and generate data. Data is a core resource and we need to capitalize on it. Instead of simply sensing our environment, we can transform it into something that is safer, more profitable, and insightful. The key is actionable intelligence, which is data and information that can be immediately acted upon without further processing by man or machine.
In its varied forms, from the mysterious brain of the octopus and the swarm intelligence of ants to Go-playing deep learning machines and driverless vehicles, intelligence is the most powerful and precious resource in existence. Despite recent advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) that enable it to win games and drive cars, there are countless untapped opportunities for intelligence to have a significant impact on making the world a better place.
Cognitive AI is not about chatbots, talking virtual assistants, or playing chess against a machine. It’s about powering the next generation of commercial and industrial IoT edge devices, making it possible to apply them in scenarios that we can only dream about right now.
Businesses are eagerly embracing the Internet of Things and its potential to make new product offerings possible, provide actionable business insights, lower costs, and increase productivity and safety. BI Intelligence predicts that 34 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020, up from only 10 billion in 2015, with businesses being the top adopters of IoT solutions. A recent study by International Data Corporation (IDC) projected worldwide spending on the IoT to reach $772.5 billion in 2018, up from $674 billion in 2017, and surpassing $1 trillion in 2020.
Leading the pack in IoT spending this year will be the manufacturing ($189 billion), transportation ($85 billion), and utilities ($73 billion) industries. Healthcare is also a bright spot for the Internet of Things. The global market for wearable connected medical devices is projected to reach nearly $19.5 billion in 2021, up from $5.5 billion in 2016.
Connectivity, Intelligent Analysis Abilities Remain Stumbling Blocks
As the number of commercial and industrial IoT devices proliferate, connecting them and getting them to behave intelligently are among the biggest challenges to IoT realizing its full potential. An industrial facility might have 20-30,000 sensors monitoring status of thousands of machines and processes. But they often reside in silos that do not communicate. Some AI solutions are dependent on a cloud service architecture. Essentially a mainframe approach with centralized computing.
But in many industrial locations, sufficient bandwidth or even connectivity cannot be relied upon. Sensor data needs to be collected, correlated with historical performance data, and analyzed to provide actionable information and make decisions in real-time. There’s no time to reach out to the mother ship for answers. One important strategy for obtaining timely actionable intelligence is embedding intelligence at the source of the sensing. This development enables decisions to be made at the sensor rather than “phoning home” to headquarters or a cloud service for “what to do next”.
Since many IoT applications have operational control, making decisions quickly is essential. Unfortunately, the latency inherent in data processing and decision support far from the edge is too slow for many applications.
In some cases, IoT devices must be controlled within milliseconds by intelligence that resides within the control loop. A good example is military aircraft, where sensor data needs to be acted upon constantly, on the spot. If the thousands of sensors were wired to a central computer onboard the aircraft, the wiring and the computer could weigh more than the entire aircraft. This necessitates the use of edge computing architectures and equipping smart IoT devices with artificial intelligence.
AI on a Chip Unlocks Intelligence to Operate Complex Systems and Makes it Tamper Proof
Today, 25% of organizations with established IoT strategies are also investing in AI. However, what commonly passes as “AI” these days – conventional software approaches designed to handle very large, complex data sets, or chatbots that possess rudimentary contextual awareness – are not sufficient.
Some chip companies are working on incorporating AI software on their chips. One software company, Beyond Limits, is doing the reverse: building advanced cognitive AI that can be embedded in off-the-shelf inexpensive chips. When edge devices are equipped with cognitive intelligence and are able to act without moving all the data to remote data centers for analysis, the number and type of new smart IoT applications is virtually limitless.
Consider These Real-World Industrial Applications
• Mesh networks, such as swarms of industrial drones or remote facilities filled with smart sensors and actuators, need to be able to communicate and coordinate with each other to accomplish tasks without being connected to a mothership.
• An offshore oil rig may have thousands of sensors that need internet connectivity to provide data to the land base. Meanwhile, rigs don’t have fast internet connections, so cloud service AI is not feasible.
• In the energy industry, determining where to site a well is an expensive decision. Expert human decision-making must be augmented and backed up by data from geological, geospatial, seismic, weather, historical production performance, and subsurface sensors that must operate in remote areas and under extreme conditions.
Cognitive AI: Intelligence at the Edge
Cognitive artificial intelligence – truly intelligent symbolic AI software with bio-inspired, human-like reasoning ability – will take IoT technologies to the next level and allow enterprises to make full use of their IoT investments. Using cognitive AI, IoT devices can work together to not only analyze time-sensitive data at the point of origin but also diagnose and solve problems in real-time, even when the devices cannot communicate with their operators.
More futuristic applications of cognitive AI in the IoT sphere include:
• Currently, large fleets of ships are largely unmonitored and un-instrumented, especially compared to other modes of transportation, such as jets and smart cars. If we imagine supertankers as nothing more than larger-than-average IoT devices, they can be connected, tracked, and coordinated through networks of satellites powered by cognitive AI.
• Cognitive AI can take smart medical devices to the next level by making it possible for two completely independent systems – one inside the body, the other attached to the body – to work in sync. Imagine an intelligent spinal alignment implant that communicates with an intelligent prosthetic limb to coordinate strategies to give a patient balance, allowing them to walk confidently, increasing their stamina and reducing their strain, all while providing actionable data to physical therapists. Currently, IoT medical devices are not much more than dynamic alarm limits.
Sounds like science fiction? These scenarios are not so different from empowering semi-autonomous rovers on Mars that make decisions, from great distances and in the most extreme conditions imaginable – which has already been done by Caltech and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In 2012, AI technology was used to support the landing of the Curiosity Rover on Mars and operate it 150 million miles from Earth. Advanced AI technology has also been employed by NASA to monitor the Voyager 2 deep space probe and search for water on Mars.
The vision of the future for AI includes cognitive systems that can do what machine learning systems can’t: intelligently and fluently interact with human experts and provide articulate explanations and answers, even at the edge of the network. Across the board, you will see, and work with, systems endowed with rare and valuable intelligence.
About the Author:
AJ Abdallat is CEO of Beyond Limits, an artificial intelligence and cognitive computing company that is transforming proven space and defense technology from NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense into innovative solutions to address large and emerging markets.
By Shazir Mucklai
I’ve been keeping track of small business technology trends for five years. I’ve used automation, data analysis, and consumer applications to help increase productivity because nowadays, it’s almost impossible to follow all the new technology updates. Plenty of companies are racing to create the next self-driving car or talking smart speaker. And it’s hard to keep track of trendy blockchain companies that launch almost daily.
However, one artificial intelligence (AI) might just be the biggest technological breakthrough in this era. We’ve heard about chatbots and machine learning, but one organization is charting its own course as it takes AI to the next level: Beyond Limits. It’s an appropriate name, since the company is producing AI that just might have a bigger effect in the world than conventional AI approaches you may have heard of. After all, there’s no other AI company on earth whose technology has been to Mars – helping the Rover navigate 150 million miles away – and deep underground, helping visualize 15,000 feet below the earth’s surface for energy exploration.
The company’s technology is an evolutionary leap beyond conventional “machine” AI to a human-like ability to perceive, understand, correlate, learn, teach, and reason to solve problems that can’t be addressed by conventional AI solutions. The company’s solutions can handle situations where data is nonexistent, missing, damaged, or unreliable, and yet decisions still need to be made. This means Beyond Limits can solve problems that conventional machine learning or deep learning approaches alone cannot. Unlike “black box” machine learning solutions that cannot explain their results, Beyond Limits redefines AI because its technology provides clear explanations of its cognitive reasoning in transparent, evidence-based audit trails.
I’ve seen robots make decisions and solve simple problems. You probably see them too, but don’t realize it. Every day, technology helps people spellcheck sentences, categorize emails, and predict traffic. However, Beyond Limits is producing AI software solutions with something new: cognitive intelligence. These advanced systems mimic functions of the human brain to think like you or me. This AI foster situational awareness, hypotheses generation, and human-like reasoning to make informed decisions. Unlike some AI companies that focus on playing games or serving ads, Beyond Limits blends deep learning and machine learning techniques together with symbolic AIs that emulate human intuition. The company’s goal is to create automated solutions that can truly think like humans and magnify human capabilities to help companies stay competitive or transform their business for the future.
Because of the company’s close ties to Caltech and JPL, Beyond Limits has a deep well of specialized software that can be applied to solve complex problems. So if a major container port needs AI to plan and schedule all the traffic in and out of the harbor, or manage their fleet of robotic cranes, Beyond Limits can apply the same scheduling technology that powered autonomous Rover operations on Mars.
- “Our AI can work with unknown or missing data and figure out hypothetical scenarios and fill in the missing pieces — much like humans with experience do,” said AJ Abdallat, Beyond Limits CEO. “Exploring space is about being able to handle the unknown. Real-world, industrial-grade AI needs to do the same to handle business issues at scale, across different industries — that’s exactly what we’re doing at Beyond Limits.”
Beyond Disruption to Transformation
I’ve seen firsthand how AI can dramatically change businesses for the better. Its impact is becoming evident as it helps transform niche market segments and global industries alike — including energy production, logistics, and finance.
Beyond Limits has partnered with BP to help transform the energy industry. BP Ventures, the investment wing of the energy leader, signaled its faith in Beyond Limits with a $20 million Series B in the company in 2017. BP plans on using cognitive computing to optimize the way the company manages reservoirs and produces oil and gas.
Large enterprises aren’t the only ones that benefit from AI. Complex AI systems aren’t simple products like packaged software applications. Most solutions are custom-engineered to solve particular problems, mainly for large enterprises. As a result, AI may not be purchased directly by small or medium business owners, and may in fact be invisible to most people. For example, AI helps me and many other filter spam, automate messages, and track costs. More advanced AI might help me make complex decisions about spending, strategy, and hiring. It’s easy to overlook these minor tasks, but behind the scenes they are producing results that help people and companies in many ways.
When things work better, everyone benefits.
I’ve talked before about how technology helps my business run smoothly. Automating social media saves me 25 hours a week. Blockchain ensures my workers get paid on time. As nice as these are, one can only imagine how AI might help accelerate my company.
When AI helps major container ports work more efficiently, unloading container ships in a more timely fashion, small and medium businesses get their shipments on time, the entire value chain is more reliable, and everyone saves money.
When AI helps energy companies wring new production out of mature subsurface reservoirs, or identifies accurately where to drill, the cost of energy production drops, so oil and gas cost less, benefiting everyone who delivers goods, heats or cools their business.
By Charlotte Edwards
From AI-powered diagnosis to robotic surgery systems, the march of automation is undeniable in the medical industry. But how far will it go, and could technology ever replace the human element altogether? Here, medical industry experts tell us to what extent they think automated technology could replace human professionals in healthcare in the future
Could automation replace human professionals? Credit: Fort Belvoir Community Hospital.
It’s a question of complementing, not replacing
At Beyond Limits, we believe the role of AI is to complement, not replace, people by delivering actionable intelligence to human experts. Like many technology optimists, we believe AI could create a world where human abilities are amplified as machines help mankind process, analyse, and evaluate the abundance of data that creates today’s world, allowing humans to spend more time engaged in high-level thinking, creativity, and decision-making.
One serious problem is that of expectation of what AI can really do. At the end of the day, an AI system is educated and trained to solve a particular problem and that is pretty much its entire universe. These systems are not humans, who can freely interact with their environment. They are machines, not people. The question is no longer whether AI will fundamentally change the workplace. It’s happening. The true question is how companies can successfully use AI in ways that enables, not replaces, the human workforce, helping to make humans faster, more efficient and more productive.
AJ Abdallat, CEO, Beyond Limits
You can’t replace the human touch in healthcare
In order to break through, new medical technologies must fit into a more patient-centered model of healthcare. They must empower patients – at its best, technology can do that. But in order to have positive patient experiences, they must also feel safe and supported, and that’s what human caregivers will always do best.
New technologies will provide more agency to patients and free up the bandwidth of clinicians and practitioners, so they can provide more personal, meaningful care.
Emerson Dameron, content marketing manager, Neoteryx
Empathy can’t be automated
I do not believe AI and tech will have the ability to replace humans any time soon and perhaps never. I see AI best used as an adjunct or helper to medical professionals and not a replacement. There are things an artificial intelligence or robot just can’t do and understanding the nuances of human interactions is one of them.
Patientcare is not all science. It is art and empathy and emotions as well. Treating patients should not be left to machines since they have no emotions, make decisions based on their own logic, are not creative and can make mistakes. Also it can never truly understand “first do no harm”. We tend to put too much faith in smart technology, either because we were exposed to it in Star Wars or have grown up using it or believe all the hype. The goal of AI and robots should always be working with humans and not replacing them.
Dr Tim Lynch, CEO, Psychsoftpc
Tech will help free up doctors’ time
At Enola Labs Software we do not believe technology will ever fully replace humans in healthcare. However, technology will absolutely be utilised to take care of patients with lesser healthcare needs and allow human doctors to spend more time with patients that need the attention. For example, we have seen health tech devices that can “check in” with patients, increasing medication compliance and compliance to post op care plans. This not only gives doctors more time with patients in need of direct care, but also increases outcomes for patients.
Alexandra Bohigian, marketing coordinator, Enola Labs Software
Replacing humans would be detrimental
Technology can do a lot in assisting with medical care. However, I believe there is something to be said for individual human contact and attention. To completely replace healthcare professionals with machines would be detrimental, in my opinion. Patients would lose the emotional benefit of care and concern from another human being. Also, there are limitations in what a machine can do. Although technology is wonderful and can do so much, it is not the same as a human being.
Sister Christina M. Neumann, St. Anne’s Guest Home
Automation is already essential for the delivery of quality healthcare
In healthcare, automation is already having a major impact and further digital transformation is all but a certainty. When you look at some examples of AI currently in use, it’s evident that medical professionals are already relying heavily on automation for the delivery of quality healthcare. Smart beds automatically monitor health statistics that are then sent to nurse stations. Robotic carts use their own sensors and WiFi to deliver meals, surgical equipment and supplies to the hospital floor. Robotics assist surgeons in the operating room and wearable devices for those with chronic conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension, are linked to care centres for communication and assistance should the need arise.
The digitisation of healthcare doesn’t mean that medical professionals will become redundant. Human professionals and AI actually work in synergy to deliver quality service to patients – safely, swiftly and securely. Healthcare specialists have certainly come to rely on AI in their profession and processes have certainly become streamlined as a result, but these technologies also require a proper thought process behind ensuring the quality and delivery of these services. As they are fast becoming essential to quality patient care, the need for constant monitoring of these automated services and their environment mustn’t be overlooked and is why automation won’t replace human professionals in healthcare.
Eileen Haggerty, senior director enterprise business operations, Netscout
Automation can save time and costs
It seems highly likely that the amount of automation in health services is set to increase overall. Healthcare is under considerable pressure to deliver more and better care at a lower cost, and greater automation provides a path to addressing these issues. However, it is unlikely that this automation will supplant significant numbers of skilled professionals, who are, after all, in short supply. Instead, it will allow organisations to make better use of available resources by reducing repetitive labour and freeing up highly-skilled staff for more valuable tasks.
An example of how automation can free up staff is patient care devices such as connected pill boxes. An IoT Connected pillbox knows when it has been opened, helping to identify whether or not the patient has taken their medication. If the box has not been opened, automated reminders can be sent via phone or text – if there is still no response then it can be escalated, so that patients are only called by a clinician or visited at home when an issue arises. As well as reducing noncompliance – a problem that costs the NHS over £500m a year – and helping to identify vulnerable individuals, this kind of monitoring frees up clinical staff to devote more time to frontline care.
Ashish Koul, president, Acqueon
Jobs will be significantly impacted
Population aging and increasing demand is putting an ever-increasing pressure on most countries’ healthcare systems by demanding more and more of the medical staff. From that perspective, the recent arrival of automation brings about some very interesting features: In diagnostics, it is the promise of screening a larger number of patients earlier on. In surgery, it is the promise of simplifying complex operations, and enlarging the patient pool. In pharmaceuticals, it is the promise of designing more efficient treatments. In other words, it is the promise of increasing the efficiency and productivity of healthcare overall.
There is no doubt that jobs will be significantly impacted: GPs will become consultants, nurses will become data analysts and surgeons will become pilots. Yet, healthcare is not just a matter of data. The human factor is, and will always remain, capital. Clinical data shows, for example, that patient experience is strongly correlated to clinical outcome and can lead to complication improvements by up to 50%. Medical decisions are not just rational. I believe automation is a huge opportunity that will definitely disrupt healthcare as we know it. But, in my opinion, we will always need a medical staff to pilot the treatments and interface with the patients.
Silvere Lucquin, CEO, Aditlys
All jobs will be disrupted, but admin level jobs will be the first to go
Technology is mainly going to replace low level health workers and health workers who don’t have direct contact with patients, or who do the exact same task over and over. This includes lab workers, billers and coders, and so on.
Almost every country in the world has a health worker shortage and global aging will exacerbate this problem. As a result, technology won’t put many people out of a job. Instead it will make their jobs more pleasant (health can be a very high stress occupation and physicians have the highest suicide rate of any profession) and improve the quality of care. Technology will enable many patients to receive a tentative diagnosis and the health worker will confirm this diagnosis. Advanced practice nurses will replace many physicians and the physicians will start to practice “at the top of their license” and provide higher levels of care. Nursing care will also be extremely hard to replace because part of their role is technical and part is compassion/emotion-based. When a loved one is dying or near death, you want a compassion person to be by your side and get you through it.
This being said, almost all health professions and jobs will be disrupted. For example, with tele-radiology and artificial intelligence reading of images, we won’t need as many radiologists per population, but no radiologist will be unemployed because they will shift into interventional radiology.
Kate Tulenko, physician, health workforce expert & CEO of Corvus Health
Automating admin will improve efficiency
Before I get into business process automation, it is crucial to understand that successful organisations know they need real people behind their technologies. This is especially true in the healthcare industry where the human touch cannot be substituted. That being said, an increase in automation tools allows healthcare professionals to be more efficient as well as tackle more complex jobs.
There are people in the tech department of every major medical company whose sole responsibility is to report any changes in system application performance. While the task is necessary, it causes these people to spend the majority of their day staring at a computer screen. These types of tasks can be fully automated, saving companies millions of dollars. Rather than replacing their employees altogether, the most successful companies invest these savings into employee career development so their employees gain skills that will increase their impact in the medical field.
Dylan Max, head of growth, Foglogic
Ai has great potential in audiometry
Andrew Ng, a renowned computer scientist and former CSO at Baidu, once told me that tasks a typical person can do with no more than one second of thought may be automated with artificial intelligence now or in the near future. This suggests that in hearing healthcare, some tasks may be ripe for automation.
In fact there have already been attempts to automate routine audiometry. In the case of air-conduction hearing aids, we have already transitioned from manual program changes to adaptive signal processing that detects and automatically adapts to the dynamic listening environment. Advances like these have not replaced human professionals, however. In fact some of them have helped hearing healthcare professionals be even more successful.
Counseling is one crucial aspect of hearing healthcare that seems beyond the near-term reach of automation. While virtual personal assistants may leverage language models and acoustic models to function in simple use-cases, and emotion detection may mature to reliably recognise extremes, the empathetic counseling provided by hearing healthcare professionals ensures their job security. Complex decision-making based on subtle cues among a highly variable spectrum of patients will keep hearing healthcare professionals in business for years to come.
Dr Aaron Jones, director in-clinic success, Unitron
Award recognizes “Beyond Conventional AI” company for breakthrough work in advanced artificial and cognitive intelligence
Beyond Limits, a developer of advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive computing solutions, announced today that the company was named the winner of a Silver Stevie® Award in the Best New Product category in The 16th Annual American Business Awards®. Nicknamed the Stevies for the Greek word meaning “crowned,” the awards will be presented to winners at a gala ceremony at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York on Monday, June 11.
The American Business Awards are the U.S.A.’s premier business awards program. All organizations operating in the U.S.A. are eligible to submit nominations – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small.
More than 3,700 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted this year for consideration in a wide range of categories, including Startup of the Year, Executive of the Year, Best New Product or Service of the Year, Marketing Campaign of the Year, Live Event of the Year, and App of the Year, among others. Beyond Limits was nominated in the Best New Product category for Artificial Intelligence.
Launched in 2014, Beyond Limits is a pioneering artificial intelligence company leveraging advanced technologies developed at NASA’s famed Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the company offers cognitive AI and reasoning systems available for the first time to improve the performance of industrial and enterprise systems.
Beyond Limits is the only AI company in the world with advanced technology proven in extreme environments from space exploration to oil and gas exploration. Today, Beyond Limits goes beyond conventional AI, applying pioneering cognitive AI inventions with proven technologies from the space program to solve complex mission-critical business, industrial and medical problems for companies here on earth.
“It is an honor to be selected as the Silver Steve Award Winner in this year’s annual American Business Awards,” says AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond Limits. “This recognition highlights our continuous effort to go beyond the capabilities of conventional artificial intelligence and deliver significant transformation for our customers. Our goal is to magnify human talent by solving down-to-earth problems for industries with great scale that touch millions of people such as energy, healthcare, logistics and finance.”
More than 200 professionals worldwide participated in the judging process to select this year’s Stevie Award winners.
“The nominations submitted for the 2018 American Business Awards were outstanding. The competition was intense, and those recognized as Stevie Award winners should be immensely proud of this accomplishment,” said Michael Gallagher, president and founder of the Stevie Awards.
Details about The American Business Awards and the list of 2018 Stevie winners are available at www.StevieAwards.com/ABA.
Beyond Limits was also selected as a nominee for the 2018 Edison Awards, and has been covered in the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Forbes, Fortune, Entrepreneur, ZDNet and the International Business Times. The company closed a Series B with BP Ventures in mid-2017 for $20 million, and since then has rapidly expanded staffing with some of the most talented minds in the AI industry.
About Beyond Limits
Beyond Limits is a unique AI company, with proud Caltech/JPL heritage in our leadership team, and advanced technology developed for the NASA space program. Founded in 2014, Beyond Limits is transforming proven technologies from Caltech and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab into advanced AI solutions, hardened to industrial strength, and put to work for forward-looking companies on earth. Beyond Limits leverages this unparalleled innovation portfolio, along with the company’s breakthrough cognitive technology, to go beyond conventional AI, blending deep learning and machine learning tools together with symbolic AIs that emulate human reasoning. For more information, please visit www.beyond.ai.
About the Stevie Awards
Stevie Awards are conferred in seven programs: the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, the German Stevie Awards, The American Business Awards®, The International Business Awards®, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the Stevie Awards for Great Employers, and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Stevie Awards competitions receive more than 10,000 entries each year from organizations in more than 60 nations. Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide. Learn more about the Stevie Awards at http://www.StevieAwards.com.
Sponsors of the 2018 American Business Awards include HCL America, John Hancock Financial Services and SoftPro.
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Beyond Limits, a developer of advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive computing solutions, has announced its participation in an event hosted by WomenHack, an organization that connects female talent to leading companies in technology. WomenHack’s goal is to create accessibility and transparency for women in the industry via recruiting events, strategic alliances, and anonymous workplace reviews. Their invitation-only events are geared toward data scientists, product/project managers, software engineers, and UI/UX designers.
As a pioneer of advanced AI solutions, Beyond Limits depends on access to top talent and aims to be at the forefront of gender equality in the workforce. This is especially applicable to the technology industry, where women continue to be underrepresented. According to US Department of Labor, 57% of the labor force is female, but only 26% of them are employed in computer and mathematical occupations. In addition, there is still a 21.4% annual wage gap for fulltime, year-round workers.
“Time and again, women have proven themselves to be not only competent but also highly competitive candidates in the technology workforce,” says Beyond Limits Recruitment Coordinator, Evan Jennings. She adds, “Beyond Limits is committed to creating an environment where women with technical skills can flourish. That’s why we’re thrilled to be a part of WomenHack’s initiative, and we hope that our relationship with them encourages women everywhere to pursue their passions in the tech industry.”
Beyond Limits specializes in AI systems that go beyond conventional artificial intelligence to new levels of cognitive reasoning, similar to human intuition. With a technology legacy from the US space program, the company synthetizes technologies from Caltech and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) plus its own innovations to create industrial-strength AI solutions to help transform companies worldwide.
“I feel fortunate to work for a company that encourages my strengths and furthers my career goals,” says Anamika Bir, Beyond Limits Software Developer. “I appreciate that the company is forward-thinking in our approach to workplace equality and diversity. Working at a company like Beyond Limits gives me the freedom to do what I do best.”
Other members of the company, including CEO AJ Abdallat and Marketing Producer Jessica Simm, share this view.
“Our goal is to hire top talent, regardless of gender, age, background or culture. We are changing the world with our technology, and we need the brightest minds working at Beyond Limits. Those minds come from all types of people, from all over the world,” says AJ Abdallat, CEO. “Here at Beyond Limits, we welcome the conversation that the industry is having about advancing gender equality in every aspect of the business.”
Simm adds, “This issue is particularly important to keep in mind when we communicate to internal and external stakeholders. We have to stop and ask ourselves, ‘Is this material pertinent for everyone? Is it unintentionally slanted toward one gender? How can we continue to create an equitable environment for everyone?”
Beyond Limits’ efforts to foster workplace equality won’t stop with one recruitment event. The company intends to continue pursuing outreach opportunities that promote female participation in the technology industry.
In Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story Silver Blaze, Sherlock Holmes is able to uncover the theft of a famous race horse by quickly grasping the significance of no one hearing the family dog barking the night of the theft. Since the dog was kept in the stables, the natural inference was that the thief must have been someone the dog knew.
This type of reasoning, which seeks the simplest and most likely explanation given a set of observations, is known as abductive reasoning, and it is the type of reasoning humans use most often. In fact, it comes so naturally to us, the conclusions so immediate and so often correct, that it’s mistaken for intuition. Abductive reasoning is useful even in the presence of incomplete or misleading details, making it ideal in real-world situations. It’s the type of reasoning that needs to be imbued in AI systems before trusted autonomy can be achieved — that is, the point where we trust AI systems to perform complex tasks that require flexibility and quick decision making, even with incomplete or inaccurate data input, and not harm us in the process.
When we hear about AI, it’s often accompanied by words like deep/machine learning and big data. The purveying weakness here is two-fold. There must be enough good data, and there must be enough (heavy and expensive) infrastructure to process all that data. It’s one thing to win a game of chess or go against a world champion, but it’s entirely another when you’re trying to land a rover on Mars. That’s the leap between an AI system that’s memorized a game with a finite set of rules and an AI system that is trusted to make quick decisions when the field of possibilities is endless and impossible to enumerate.
It’s the leap that some AI companies are attempting to make. Already, the more cutting-edge AI researchers and companies are producing bio-inspired AI platforms with human-like reasoning and problem-solving abilities. Researchers like those at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s (some of my company’s AI platform is based on research and technology from NASA/JPL research) space exploration program have been developing this type of AI platform for a while now. In space, where an additional ounce can determine viability and cost millions in R&D, fast, light and agile systems must sense, diagnose, predict and respond in situations with infinite unknown factors and many possible outcomes.
AI’s technology that combines inductive, deductive and abductive capabilities makes this type of human-like reasoning possible. It allows a platform to rapidly analyze a complex situation and come up with a solution much like humans would, even in the presence of missing, misleading or distracting information. What makes these AI platforms even more unique is that they can serve as a guardian angel of sorts, working in tandem with traditional AI systems to add an additional layer of supervision. An AI platform can be programmed to learn even abstract rules and concepts, akin to morality and ethics, and adhere to these rules no matter the scenario presented.
This function becomes more and more important as AI systems invariably take on more tasks in our society, often with minimal supervision. Luminaries, including Elon Musk and Steven Hawking, have expressed concern about the possible risk to humans should AI devices grow too far ahead of the users who control them. Facebook recently had to temporarily shut downone of its AI labs when chatbots began communicating in a language unintelligible to researchers.
Additionally, AI systems are at risk of hacking and corrupt or incorrect data affecting their proper functionality. Take, for example, the Germanwings pilot who locked his co-pilot out of the cockpit and used the autopilot system to crash into a mountain. An AI system with trusted autonomy needs to be sophisticated enough to potentially override such a command, even if the correct overrides are imputed. Much like a human flight control officer would immediately flag a request to deter from the set flight trajectory as suspicious, even without knowing what was going on onboard, a guardian AI should be able to analyze the situation, play out various scenarios and determine if such a command is suspicious all within seconds. And if it is suspicious, it could refuse to change to the autopilot trajectory, hopefully avoiding any potential tragedy.
AI with trusted autonomy parallels Issac Assimov’s classic Three Laws of Robotics, but is flexible enough to be modified to fit whatever industry and application it is applied to. While Terminator-level AI threats are still very much in the realm of science fiction, it’s comforting to know that the creators of the next generation of advanced AI are keeping in mind that human-like reasoning should be coupled with a directive for human life and comfort.
June 28, 2017
Supermajor’s investment arm backs artificial intelligence start-up.
Artificial intelligence (AI), digitalisation and automation are all key areas of debate and innovation in the oil industry right now. That has also meant an increase in interest and capital flows outside the conventional arenas of oil and gas technology.
In early June Pasadena-based Beyond Limits, an AI-focused start-up spun out of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), announced that it had secured US$20 million in investment from BP Ventures. Leveraging technology from Caltech and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and from projects with NASA and the US Department of Defense, Beyond Limits is more used to finding ways of deploying its IP to interplanetary missions than managing resources on earth. However, the oil super-major’s corporate and technology investment arm is evidently keen to see if the start-up’s expertise can aid its own push towards smarter digital operations.
Reportedly, the Series B funding will accelerate delivery of industrial-grade AI software, and combine BP’s existing human knowledge with machine learning to provide “new levels of operational insight, business optimisation and process automation across all operations.”
According to the two companies, the partnership could enable a step change in the way BP locates and develops reservoirs, produces and refines crude oil, and markets and supplies refined products. The software is aimed at improving the speed and quality of decision-making and managing operational risks, as well as better harnessing and sharing some of the human expertise of BP’s team.
In a statement, BP’s chief digital innovation officer Morag Watson commented: “Our strategic co-operation with Beyond Limits is a perfect fit with BP’s vision of using digital technology to help transform our organisation. We believe artificial intelligence will be one of the most critical digital technologies to drive new levels of performance across the industry.”
In an interview with ZDNet, Beyond Limits CEO AJ Abdallat explained: “Whereas many popularised cognitive computing solutions in the marketplace are focused on deep machine learning applied to sensor fusion and computer vision, our cognitive computing focuses on human thinking and automates human decision processes.” This enables it to speculate, compute hypothetical scenarios and fill in data gaps using its experience – much as a human operator might do.
BP Ventures – America’s managing director, Meghan Sharp, will also join the Beyond Limits board.
As has been seen with other venture capital arms – last month, for example, InnovOil spoke with Statoil Technology Invest about its strategy and technology targets – BP’s investments are made with a view to enabling long-term gains for the organisation, rather than rapid technology development or financial return. BP Ventures’ portfolio is oriented towards E&P and downstream conversion process technologies, as well as a strategic focus on five key areas, including: bio and low-carbon products, carbon management, power and storage, advanced mobility and digital transformation.
Highlighting the diversity of this approach, in April 2016, BP Ventures acquired a stake in RocketRoute, a flight planning business. BP’s aviation business – Air BP – had co-operated with the company previously to co-ordinate its aviation fuelling network. The company’s cloud-based services help integrate flight planning, fuel purchasing, crew briefing, flight plan filing, dispatch and flight tracking into its proprietary app.
Neither is BP the first operator to embrace AI technology; GE is also putting weight behind its proprietary Predix platform, applying machine learning and AI elements to tasks such as predictive corrosion management, and has acquired a string of other AI-focused companies to help it expand its offering.
With super-majors like BP and services giants such as GE pushing the technology, AI has well and truly arrived in oil and gas. Beyond Limits’ interstellar-tested technologies may be the latest to benefit from BP’s backing, but they are certainly not the last.
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4. Energy and Mining
Oil and gas is one of the largest industrial segments and is a natural fit for AI, according to AJ Abdallat CEO of Glendale, Calif.-based Beyond Limits. Removing friction from port scheduling operations requires a rare form of machine intelligence called cognitive intelligence (or human-like reasoning). Cognitive AI is now being applied to track tankers to determine when they leave port, where they’re going, and how much petroleum or LNG they are transporting. Predicting what is being shipped, plus refinery destination and arrival times, will help traders make smarter decisions. This involves the fusion of the key cognitive capabilities of multi-agent scheduling with reactive recovery, asset management, rule compliance, diagnostics, and prognostics to ensure seamless autonomous operation.
The value an AI system can bring to the energy market is tremendous. When machine learning is applied to drilling, information from seismic vibrations, thermal gradients, strata permeability, pressure differentials, and more is collected. By analyzing this data, AI software can help geoscientists better assess variables, taking some of the guesswork out of equipment repair and failure, unplanned downtime, and even help determining potential locations of new wells. According to Abdallat, AI brings better predictive technology and efficiency to mining operations.
Related Article: 8 Examples of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Workplace