Data centre issues, digital twin technology, who says no to AI

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To round up the year of AI and data analytics developments, let’s see how the market has grown and if there are new projects that bring valuable results.

A new prospective

A recent forecast from IDC shows that the worldwide artificial intelligence software market is set to grow from $64 billion in 2022 to nearly $251 billion in 2027 at a compound annual growth rate of 31.4%. The forecast for AI-centric software includes AI platforms, AI applications, AI system infrastructure software, and AI application development and deployment software. However, it does not include Generative AI platforms and applications, which IDC recently forecast will generate revenues of $55.7 billion in 2027.

Vendor news

Qlik announced the acquisition of Mozaic Data, an innovative AI-driven data management technology. This acquisition means integrating Mozaic into Qlik’s portfolio to bring a transformative approach to managing data as a product. Mozaic enabled organizations to build, secure, govern, deploy, and manage domain-centric data products in the cloud. These data products can be discovered through a data product marketplace, and accessed through a broad spectrum of consumption patterns, enabling diverse business use cases.

Another data analytics vendor, Alteryx, has been acquired by private-equity firms Clearlake Capital Group and Insight Partners. The deal is valued at approximately $4.4 billion, marking a significant shift in the data analytics landscape. Challenges in expanding its customer base and the competitive market dynamics have led to a suppressed valuation of Alteryx, making it an attractive target for acquisition.

Saving the Planet

A new study called «The state of food systems worldwide in the countdown to 2030», published by The Food Systems Countdown to 2030 Initiative (FSCI), is a science-based monitoring to guide decision-makers as they seek wholesale transformation of the global agriculture and food systems. The FSCI is filling the lack of data, having identified an indicator framework composed of 50 indicators that monitor agriculture and food systems at a global level, using existing data to enable immediate action. Using existing data, rather than carrying out time-consuming new research, means policymakers have quicker access to relevant information. The FSCI is planning to track agriculture and food systems annually until 2030, updating the framework as needed where new indicators or better data emerge.

In South America large data processing companies face new challenge. These firms are currently among the largest consumers of power and cooling systems. With the anticipated growth as AI gains traction globally, their sites must ensure uninterrupted operations to guarantee the continuous functioning of the internet and the supply of services. Datacenters are highly energy intensive, with a large facility typically consuming more than 30GWh per year. The largest colocation company in Latin America in terms of number of sites, with 34 projects including datacenters either in operation or under development, Ascenty created a "taskforce" to deal with these issues and is carrying out preventive maintenance on a more frequent basis. The company has invested in automation tools to manage its systems and is reusing rainwater to cool the external part of its air conditioning piping, which is more exposed to high temperatures. Ascenty's air conditioning systems are based on closed-water circuits, which means there is no increase in water consumption.

A word from Pope

Pope Francis delivered a compelling message for World Peace Day 2024, underlining the need for artificial intelligence to serve human potential and promote peace, development, and the end of conflicts. He highlighted the ethical issues and implications of AI, calling for responsible action and respect for fundamental human values. The Pope’s message also addressed the urgent need for regulation of AI, particularly in areas such as surveillance systems, lethal autonomous weapons systems, and the concentration of resources in the hands of a few entities. Pope Francis urged that all forms of AI should be used to alleviate human suffering, promote integral development, and help end wars and conflicts.

Who says no to AI?

Rite Aid, one of the largest pharmacy chains in the US, misused an artificial intelligence facial recognition system that mistakenly tagged customers -- often African Americans, Latinos, and women -- as shoplifters. The complaint says that from 2012-2020, Rite Aid used flawed facial recognition technology to identify potential shoplifters based on security camera images. Rite Aid failed to take reasonable measures to protect innocent consumers, many of whom were falsely accused of wrongdoing after AI software flagged someone as a shoplifter or “troublemaker” based on previous security images. The technology was deployed without customer knowledge in stores in several major US cities. Rite Aid has agreed to settle the charges by implementing comprehensive safeguards to prevent similar future AI failings. The settlement also requires Rite aid to discontinue using such technology.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Irish shoppers also seem to be wary of AI being used in retail spaces. Accenture survey says that just 16% of consumers say they are excited by the technology. New research found that shoppers in Ireland become less comfortable with AI the more personal it gets. Based a survey of more than 1,000 consumers, the research found that while some 70% have heard of generative AI. When it comes to AI being used to offer personalized item recommendations using the technology to analyze their previous purchases and other data, about half of the survey respondents said they would not welcome assistance from the technology. Some 63% would be open to recommendations on products that suit their budget, 60% would like to receive suggestions on gifts tailored to their recipient list, and 56% would be open to recommendations of products that pair well with their current or previous purchase.

In the air

American airlines developed a new technology, Smart Gating in order for aircrafts to spend less time waiting on the tarmac and for customers to have more time to make their connections. The tool was developed by American’s Information Technology and Operations teams to reduce gate conflicts, ease ramp congestion and shorten taxi times. It helps prevents gate conflicts and last-minute gate changes. Smart Gating reduces taxi time by 17 hours a day, saves 1.4 million gallons of jet fuel each year and decreases carbon dioxide emissions by more than 13,000 metric tons annually.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that insights from enhancing the analytical capabilities of the IATA Global Aviation Data Management (GADM) program have been powering informed decisions to improve safety, operational efficiency and sustainability. The data comprises data from 15 million flights performed by 7,500 aircraft. It is captured from each flight monitors hundreds of parameters per second, thus making GADM the most comprehensive source of global aviation operational data in the world. Currently 198 airlines contribute data to GADM, and this database will grow daily as additional data is collected. To support its increased focus on data, IATA is staffing-up a newly established a division responsible for data management, strengthening the GADM team and expanding its team of data scientists significantly.

Out of Africa

The National AI Policy for the Republic of Rwanda is a new development to serve as a roadmap to enable Rwanda to harness the benefits of AI and mitigate its risks. It promotes and fosters Rwanda’s inclusive and sustainable socio-economic transformation. The Rwanda AI policy aims to achieve the following national objectives: positioning Rwanda as Africa’s AI lab and responsible AI champion, building 21st century skills and AI literacy, creating an open, secure, trusted data ecosystem as an enabler of the AI revolution, driving public sector transformation to fuel AI adoption and accelerating responsible AI adoption in the private sector.

In Uganda more down-to-earth tasks are to be tackled. Scientists at Makerere University are testing a new AI tool that can help labs quickly and accurately diagnose malaria. The technology, which combines a smartphone with a microscope, is currently undergoing testing and has received a 1.5 million US dollar grant from Google for further development. This new technology has the potential to assist in timely malaria diagnosis which affects 13 million people in Uganda every year costing the government around 1.8 trillion shillings in health interventions.

Holiday Shopping Spree

Lowe’s announced the integration of Big Data into their operations by unveiling their industry-first digital twin technology. Powered by NVIDIA’s Omniverse, Lowe’s digital twin is a virtual replica of a physical home improvement store, synthesizing spatial data with product location, historical order information, and other key metrics into a visual and interactive model. Associates, equipped with advanced tools such as Magic Leap 2 augmented reality headsets, can visualize and interact with nearly all of a store’s digital data, effectively giving them ‘superpowers’ to optimize operations and better serve customers. The digital twin enables the analysis of sales performance and customer traffic data to optimize the in-store experience. Lowe’s is also taking significant strides to enhance safety and reduce the risk of injuries within its stores. The digital twin technology has the potential to greatly impact how the company manages in-store safety by offering enhanced visualization for safer environments, predictive analysis for injury prevention and AR training for employees.

Now showing

If you are eager to go to the movies during holiday season, feel safe that it will be real actors, not AI who performs on the screen. The revolt against using AI in this area manifested themselves in 148-day strike by the Writers Guild of America (WGA), which hinged on protecting Hollywood’s scribes from being overrun by the march of AI. The Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, joined them on the picket lines, together forming an uprising against the perceived threat of AI. Writers wanted to make sure AI couldn’t be trained on their work or manipulate it without their say-so; actors wanted guardrails on how the technology could be used to recreate their performances. Both parties ended up setting a tone for how labor movements in the future could push back against encroaching automation. Hopefully, these Hollywood strikes stopped AI from taking roles from Robert De Niro and Julia Roberts. We will see how it will develop in 2024.

Artificial intelligence technologies have been developing for decades, but only in the last few years have neural networks "smartened up" to a level that allows them to be used as assistants or even to replace human labor.

The winners of the Project of the Year 2023 competition are IT leaders from India, Malaysia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Iraq and Brazil. 

The beginning of the year was marked by a flurry of activity by various legislators to deal with artificial intelligence. The New York Times filed a lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft, and the UAE created an AI council to accelerate the adoption of AI systems in critical sectors of the economy.

What should a business solution be, so that it is chosen by young people, but at the same time not rejected by older professionals? Maybe beauty will save the peace in the team, because everyone wants to work in an application that looks beautiful? It is true, but User Interface (UI) is good when it is based on User Experience (UX). If harmony between UI and UX is achieved, the product will be both beautiful and user-friendly.

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