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22 August 2022

The Artificial Intelligence Act Will Lead to Better Warehouse Automation

By Bobby Carlton

Warehouse automation systems may seem like they’re a dime a dozen, however, each approach is different with some focusing on humans to manage them, many others relying on robotics and automation, and of course we’ve seen a blended approach with automation, robotics and humans working together. 

One solution is using AI to help drive automation along with other technologies such as robotics and XR. Data shows that we can improve work environments through automation, but getting everyone around the world to adapt the approach isn’t that easy. 

However, a new global initiative to create global efficiencies is a hot conversation at the moment. AI and automation are about to drastically change the way businesses (large and small) and even how governments operate through a push that will include cutting-edge technology such as natural language processing, machine learning, and autonomous systems through robotics and XR solutions.

The objective of the Artificial Intelligence Act will be to create a safer and more efficient work process that can help organizations explore “what if” scenarios and be more predictive, explore recommendations and different paths to success, and even help company leaders make important company-wide decisions.

One thing to keep in mind is that regulating the approach varies in different parts of the world from China, the European Union, and the U.S., and that as businesses invest their resources into AI and automation, they will have to ensure they comply with all of the regulations in place.

For example, the Chinese government is being a bit more forward thinking by moving AI regulations beyond the proposal stage and has already passed a regulation that mandates companies must notify users when an AI algorithm (or avatar) is involved. This means that any business in China must adopt AI and automation compliances which will impact both customers and the workforce. 

While the European Union has a much broader scope than China’s approach. For the EU, the focus of their proposed regulation is more on the risks created by AI and sorted into 4 categories. Minimal risk, limited risk, high risk, and unacceptable risk. Using AI with automation applications would help companies through human oversight and ongoing monitoring of facilities using robotics and XR solutions. 

Those companies will be required by law to register stand-alone high-risk AI systems such as remote biometric identification systems. 

Once passed, the EU would implement this process by Q2 of 2024 and companies could see hefty fines for noncompliance ranging from 2% to 6% of the company’s annual revenue. 

Here in the United States, it’s a bit more of a fragmented approach with each state creating their own idea of the AI and automation laws, which as you would guess, could end up being pretty confusing for anyone. Especially with companies having warehouses or offices in multiple states. To help create a more unified approach the Department of Commerce announced the appointment of 27 experts to the National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee (NAIAC). This department will advise the President and the National AI Initiative Office on a range of important issues related to AI and other technologies such as robotics, XR, and their use in automation that would be used across all states, and help tighten up the AI and automation goals in the U.S. 

They would also provide recommendations on topics such as the current state of the United State’s AI competitiveness, the state of science around AI technology, and any AI workforce issues. The committee will also be responsible for providing advice regarding the management and coordination of the initiative itself, including its balance of activities and funding.

What all of this means is that governments want their businesses to embrace and adopt new technology as part of their workforce solutions. They are very aware of the benefits with AI, XR, robotics, automation in the workforce, and how those benefits have a global impact on business, consumerism and the overall economy of a country.

At the heart of all of this is manufacturing and warehouses.

Manufacturing companies could use AI, warehouse automation, and XR to access information such as  anomaly detection and real-time quality monitoring that are latency-sensitive and then be able to create an ultra-fast response. This would allow manufacturers the ability to take action immediately to prevent undesirable consequences, streamlines productivity, increases workforce safety, and automates warehouse processes so companies are able to maintain their equipment in a timely manner to prevent any type of shut down or dangerous environment.

AI and automation would provide real-time prediction capabilities that lets you deploy predictive models on edge devices such as machines, local gateways, or servers in your factory and plays a role in accelerating Industry 4.0 adoption.