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Much of the discussion around artificial intelligence has been around how many jobs will be lost as a result of automation rather than any discussion about the ways AI will improve our ability to work safely and effectively.
A good example of this comes from research undertaken by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory that looked at how AI can be used to collect building data to help keep firefighters safe when they enter an inferno.
They developed a system called AUDREY, which stands for Assistant for Understanding Data through Reasoning, Extraction and synthesis, in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security.
AUDREY is capable of tracking the team of firefighters as they enter a building, all the time sending them data that is personalized to their location in the facility. It is even capable of giving them recommendations on where and what to do next.
“As a firefighter moves through an environment, AUDREY could send alerts through a mobile device or head-mounted display,” the team say.
They suggest that sensors built into the firefighters clothing could pick up everything from their location to the heat in rooms and the presence of any chemicals or gasses.
“When first responders are connected to all these sensors, the AUDREY agent becomes their guardian angel,” they continue. “Because of all this data the sensor sees, firefighters won’t run into the next room where the floor will collapse.
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