The 2020 presidential election in the United States is just around the corner. This year, the election has been particularly controversial in part because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions the virus has placed on in-person gatherings. In a world in which connected devices and IoT (Internet of Things) technologies have enabled everything from autonomous vehicles to robotic surgery, it seems like there should be other options for casting votes besides sending paper ballots in by mail or turning them in by hand. However, concerns (both legitimate and overblown) about election-outcome accuracy and voter privacy have held the election process back in many ways from the digital revolution that has permeated almost everything else. Will 2020 be a pivotal year in changing how the American people and "the powers that be" feel about advancing the voting process?
LONDON (Reuters) - When banks were flooded with loan requests from businesses struggling with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, hastily built robots helped several lenders cope with the deluge. The bots were one of many quick technology changes deployed across the industry during the crisis, a contrast to the slow progress it's made in the past two decades to improve technology in the face of increasing competition from fintech rivals. Now the jolt from the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the process even though banks globally are having to cut IT spending this year for the first time since 2009, based on data from research company IDC. "Bots allowed us to process a much higher volume of applications than we would have been able to do before. It meant the timelines didn't get longer with the massive volume," said Simon McNamara, chief administrative officer at Britain's NatWest, which has granted more than 13 billion pounds ($16.90 billion) of state-backed loans.
Also a cross-disciplinary scientist, entrepreneur & author, recently relocated from Hong Kong to rural Seattle area. Eventually, Covid-19 will be beaten -- vaccines and therapies will be found and widely deployed. However, that doesn't mean the jobs that the pandemic has taken are coming back. Of course, some will return. For instance, restaurants will return to in-house dining and hire more waitstaff. But the rethinking and reorganization that Covid-19 has induced will have longer-term impacts.
If we didn't have enough to worry about--Covid-19, a nation divided, massive job losses and civil unrest--now we have to be concerned that robots will take our jobs. The World Economic Forum (WEF) concluded in a recent report that "a new generation of smart machines, fueled by rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, could potentially replace a large proportion of existing human jobs." Robotics and AI will cause a serious "double-disruption," as the coronavirus pandemic pushed companies to fast-track the deployment of new technologies to slash costs, enhance productivity and be less reliant on real-life people. Millions of people have lost their jobs due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and now the machines will take away even more jobs from workers, according to the WEF. The organization cites that automation will supplant about 85 million jobs by 2025.
After a successful pilot program to test a robotic fry cook this summer, White Castle will expand the automated cook concept by ten times. The pilot, which began this summer, and the newly announced expansion both come as COVID-19 shakes up the restaurant industry and drives new automation technologies to increase efficiencies and sanitation. The robot, which we've covered since it came out of stealth, is built by Miso Robotics. It's called Flippy, Robot-on-a-Rail (ROAR), which is an update to an earlier autonomous fry cook concept. During the pandemic, a huge market opportunity has emerged for automation in food preparation.
AI Daily Roundup starts today! We are covering the top updates from around the world. The updates will feature state-of-the-art capabilities in artificial intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotic Process Automation, Fintech and human-system interactions. We will cover the role of AI Daily Roundup and their application in various industries and daily lives. Global, cloud-led, data-centric software company NetApp unveiled a groundbreaking serverless and storageless solution for containers from Spot by NetApp, new autonomous hybrid cloud volume platform, and cloud-based virtual desktop solutions.
The companies announced their collaboration back in July, just as restaurants were forced to limit staff to ensure social distancing while keeping up with the increasing demand for delivery and take out orders due to the coronavirus pandemic. Back in September, they formally started a pilot program to test Flippy at one White Castle location, and the machine has helped serve 14,580 pounds of food and over 9,720 baskets since then. The burger chain will install the commercially available version of Flippy ROAR that was launched earlier this month into its kitchens. It expects Flippy to free up time for human staff members, so they can take care of logistics and customer service, and to help keep 24-hour locations running. The ChefUI software that powers Flippy can also be integrated with delivery apps to sync an order's completion with its pick-up time. Meanwhile, the machine's sensors and cameras can keep eye on inventory and recommend bulk orders for supplies when needed.
Mining is a traditionally analogue business. After all, the industry's symbol worldwide is a hammer and pick. Yet, despite the sector's antiquated reputation, some major mining companies are taking a progressive stance and proving digitisation and automation can achieve much better operational outcomes. Known as Mine 4.0, the industry is seeing digital transformation creep into everything from trucks, drills and trains to back-office processes, such as procurement and supply chain logistics. Miners have very little control over the revenue side of their business, as the global commodities crash of 2014 to 2015, when prices plunged by more than 30 per cent, and indeed the coronavirus epidemic demonstrate.
The nasal test for Covid-19 requires a nurse to insert a 6-inch long swab deep into your nasal passages. Now, imagine that your nurse is a robot. A few months ago, a nasal swab robot was developed by Brain Navi, a Taiwanese startup. The company's intent was to minimize the spread of infection by reducing staff-patient contact. So, here we have a robot autonomously navigating the probe down into your throat, and carefully avoiding channels that lead up to the eyes.
A lasting legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic is that work will never be the same. Thanks to the two As, automation and artificial intelligence (AI), expect to see significant growth and changes in 2021. "The'great lockdown' of 2020 will make the drive for automation in 2021 both inevitable and irreversible,'' according to Forrester's Predictions 2021. "Remote work, new digital muscles, and pandemic constraints will create millions of pragmatic automations in 2021; document extraction, RPA (robotic process automation) from anywhere, drones, and various employee robots will proliferate; and, as expected, the mad dash to automate will bring trouble." At the same time, while AI didn't predict the pandemic, it will help businesses rethink the future of work; drive more efficiency, elasticity, and scale in operations; and reimagine customer and employee experiences, Forrester said. AI is driving the growth of automated processes, helping them become smarter. Companies that adopt machine learning, a subset of AI, "will massively multiply their number of AI use cases, including for employee augmentation and automation,'' the firm said.