Rise of AI-infused industrial systems with superhuman capabilities

Economists are calling AI a general-purpose technology – an innovation that does not serve a singular purpose but impacts all existing industries – that has ignited the 4th Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0.

With the ability to learn continuously from data to enable superhuman capabilities, AI is impacting all sorts of industrial applications – from design and manufacturing operations to supply chain and logistics.

“This might be the most impactful general-purpose technology of them all because it has the potential to learn, improve, and operate autonomously – which means it will get exponentially more powerful over time,” said Jerry Chen, Head of Global Business Development for Manufacturing and Industrials at NVIDIA, at the AIoT Forum on June 2.

Every industrial sector will be transformed by AI. The potential for value creation is enormous,” he added in his presentation entitled The Promise of Digital Transformation: How AI-Infused Industrial Systems Are Rising to Meet the Challenges.

AI systems are helping workers operate sophisticated machinery through natural language and conversational technologies. These are often coupled with augmented vision tools such as augmented reality or virtual reality to allow seamless and natural interactions to assist workers.

AI in manufacturing

Chen shared how NVIDIA is using AI-augmented inspection technologies for its manufacturing operations.

For instance, low-powered Jetson Xavier devices look out for surface mounting failures on the PCB assembly lines.

Setting up new production runs is tedious because every PCB assembly has unique components and configurations.

“Our AI system learns from every PCB assembly it sees, continuously building a catalogue of components. With every new production run, our AI agent also learns more about what defects look like. It also automatically learns more about how to use different camera perspectives and to adapt to different lighting conditions,” said Chen.

Tackling cybersecurity challenges

The trend towards integrating more complex and connected machinery in modern manufacturing may raise cybersecurity concerns, especially for high-tech companies with valuable IP. Every new manufacturing tool with computing nodes and network connectivity is a potential attack vector.

NVIDIA’s Morpheus is a cybersecurity solution that is embedded in the fabric of the communication network to protect against attacks. With Morpheus, manufacturers can immediately see the lines that leaked sensitive information.

While NVIDIA is committed to creating new markets for its technologies, its business model requires broad ecosystem support.

“We are available on every major computer platform – on the cloud, in data centres, and in edge devices. We support Power, Arm, and x86 Intel and x86 AMD platforms,” said Chen.