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Honeywell’s AI Expert: Think about AI as an Augmenting Tool, Not an Artificial One

The industrial sector has been slow to adopt artificial intelligence and machine learning, but having realized the error of its ways, the tech is now, in one form or another, being introduced to the factory floor. Daniel Davies from the Verdict speaks to Honeywell's vice president and general manager of Connected Enterprises, Stephen Gold, about what the future holds for AI in the industrial sector. 

As Gold points out, consumer-related industries - retail, health and financial services - have already shown an appetite for AI, but the industrial sector has so far appeared reluctant to embrace the technology. While we've seen the occasional robot working alongside humans, the real value AI can provide industry is in allowing for the real-time analysis of data. Imagine the power a swarm of sensors littered around the factory floor could have if the data they contribute allows intelligent predictions to be made.

"Largely the industrial sector has been performing and working well, so there's been relatively little change for an extended period, but it finds itself at a kind of inflection point where there's this interest to understand that physical-to-digital intersection," says Gold. "Physical things obviously have a purpose and perform a task and that's interesting; it turns out it's much more interesting if you start to make them intelligent and instrument them and make them interconnect; it tells a very different story.

For industry to really benefit from AI, though, it's not just about adding sensors to the environment; it's about 'sensorising' workers and then extending their physical capabilities. Gold himself doesn't solely think of AI as a quest to artificially engineer intelligence, but rather as a tool to augment intelligence. He argues that by thinking about AI in this way, it becomes very familiar and comfortable to us, rather than something to be feared.

Read the whole interview!

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