From identifying plant pests to picking fruit, AI is reinventing how farmers produce your food


These Indian subsistence farmers know just what to do: Pull out their smartphones and take their picture. The farmers then upload the images with GPS locations to a cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) app named Plantix. The app identifies the crop type in the image and spits out a diagnosis of a disease, pest or nutrient deficiency. Plantix also aids farmers by recommending targeted biological or chemical treatments for ailing plants, reducing the volume of agrochemicals in groundwater and waterways that can result from overuse or incorrect application of herbicides and pesticides. "Nearly every household in India has a smartphone, and many want to see how Plantix works," says Srikanth Rupavatharam, a digital agriculture scientist with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Hyderabad, India, which is collaborating with Plantix's developer to adapt the tool for Telugu and Hindi languages.

Analytics And Machine Learning: Catalysts Of Change In Marketing Arena


Marketing typically has the largest discretionary budget in any organization because of the variety of activities we do, but now it also has the largest discretionary technology budget. That shift of dollars away from IT has been causing tensions for some time, but marketers now must be at the head of the table when purchasing everything from CRM, to business intelligence and analytics tools, to ecommerce platforms, and of course the website. Just like technology, customer experience budget and planning will move more towards marketing--as will customer satisfaction KPIs. The entire customer journey from pre-sale to customer advocacy is part of the overall brand experience. "Predictive analytics driven by AI and machine learning are going to change the way we do just about everything" One of the biggest obstacles marketers still run into is resistance to change.

Robots are helping researchers work to end world hunger


At a time when many people are concerned about the potentially negative impact of robotics on individuals' lives and livelihoods, researchers at the University of Missouri are relying on robots for a project that's decidedly pro-human: fighting world hunger. Robots are helping scientists track crops and how they grow in drought situations. Knowledge gained from the 3D images and data the robots create and collect could help agriculturists develop corn that is more drought resistant. An executive guide to the technology and market drivers behind the $135 billion robotics market. To develop 3D images of corn plants in the field, the research team developed a combination approach of a mobile sensor tower and autonomous robot vehicles equipped with three levels of sensors and an additional robotic arm.

Leveraging machine learning to get more out of CRMs


You might think that you have the best CRM product on the market and best overall customer engagement, at least the best-maintained CRM as it relates to quality of data, right? However, what if you could apply machine learning to that CRM copper mine and turn it into a gold mine? Essentially, you could predict outcomes and close times, discover opportunity insights, automate certain customer service tasks, possibly suggest next steps in the sales process. While the list could go on, these are just a few areas where machine learning could be leveraged to capture more opportunities and help prevent service recovery situations. We've already mentioned a few ways that machine learning can improve your sales predictions and improve customer engagement, but harnessing its true power you can do so much more.

Optimizing carbon nanotube electrodes

MIT News

Using electrodes made of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) can significantly improve the performance of devices ranging from capacitors and batteries to water desalination systems. But figuring out the physical characteristics of vertically aligned CNT arrays that yield the most benefit has been difficult. Now an MIT team has developed a method that can help. By combining simple benchtop experiments with a model describing porous materials, the researchers have found they can quantify the morphology of a CNT sample, without destroying it in the process. In a series of tests, the researchers confirmed that their adapted model can reproduce key measurements taken on CNT samples under varying conditions.


AI Magazine

Editor: Jerome Feldman's "Essay Concerning Robotic Understanding" (AI Magazine, Fall 1990) shows a remarkable naivete about humans. Although he admits to some limitations on human understanding (understanding/h): "We actually use understanding/h loosely, normally excluding infants, idiots and so on. We acknowledge that there are strong limitations on the extent to which we can convey understanding/h across barriers of gender, race and culture." If we are using understanding/h in Locke's sense, to mean reason, with all its eighteenth century freight, including the exclusion of women and blacks from the category of reasoning beings, there are, strangely enough, no barriers to this category for machines. After all, Boole later invented his logic to help mechanize the process of jurisprudence.


AI Magazine

Moreover, the system was designed from the beginning to be maintained on an ongoing basis without the involvement of senior knowledge engineers. In the manufacture of paper, wood is first pulped to separate its fibers. One of the predominant pulp processes is done in a kraft pulp mill and consists of cooking wood chips at elevated temperature and pressure in the presence of certain chemicals (alkali and sulfide), washing the resultant brown pulp, bleaching to make the pulp white, and drying the pulp for shipment to a paper mill. Pitch, or wood resin, is the material in wood that is insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents. It usually makes up 14 percent of the weight of wood after the bark is removed and is often a sticky material.

Optimal Crop Selection Using Multiobjective Evolutionary Algorithms

AI Magazine

Soil characteristics are extremely important when determining yield potential. Fertilization and liming are commonly used to adapt soils to the nutritional requirements of the crops to be cultivated. Planting the crop that will best fit the soil characteristics is an interesting alternative to minimize the need for soil treatment, reducing costs and potential environmental damages. In addition, farmers usually look for investments that offer the greatest potential earnings with the least possible risks. Regarding the objectives to be considered, the crop-selection problem may be difficult to solve using traditional tools.

Using Case-Based Reasoning to Support Health and Safety Compliance in the Chemical Industry

AI Magazine

Implementation of the case-based reasoner in rules and objects using a commercial knowledge-based system shell is described. Although some refinements remain, the performance of the case-based reasoner has met its design goals. The chemical industry is heavily regulated. Every hazardous chemical product must have a set of shipping descriptions that conform to strict regulations issued by the Department of Transportation (DOT), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Shipping descriptions provide a concise characterization of the hazards a chemical can present during transportation (figure 1). Failing to comply with transport regulations can result in penalties ranging from delayed shipments to heavy fines or even incarceration of corporate officials. In addition, each chemical product has a material safety data sheet (MSDS) that conforms to Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards. Unlike shipping descriptions, MSDSs are lengthy documents of 8 to 10 pages that provide a detailed description of the health hazards a product can pose in the workplace (figure 2). They also contain information on procedures for storing, handling, and disposing of a chemical. Inadequately prepared MSDSs can lead to substantial product-liability lawsuits against the company if the product is involved in an industrial accident. The ultimate goal of these regulations is to ensure proper communication of health and safety information for the protection of the public. Air Products is committed to the initiative of the Chemical Manufacturers Association (CMA) known as Responsible Care. This initiative focuses on the safe manufacturing, distribution, use, recycling, and disposal of chemicals. Proper communication through accurate shipping descriptions and full disclosure of hazard information in the MSDS plays a key role in fulfilling obligations under Responsible Care. Maintaining shipping descriptions and MSDSs requires a major effort. Most corporate systems are intensely manual.

Applying Case-Based Reasoning to Manufacturing

AI Magazine

CLAVIER's central purpose is to find the most The use of composite materials, especially in aerospace applications, is on the increase because of their unique weight and strength qualities. Depending on the orientation of the graphite fibers, a part can be extremely flexible in one direction but rigid in another. In addition, a part made from composite material is both lighter and stronger than aluminum. The increased use of graphite parts, as well as the high cost of a spoiled part (as much as $50,000 for a single part), has put greater reliability and efficiency demands on a relatively new and complex manufacturing process. Composite part fabrication requires two major steps: layup and curing.