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Intelligent Automation in the news

 

 

Study: Smart Robots are coming for (some of) our jobs
How robots and artificial intelligence will shape our future
6 August 2014 | Fast Company
by Chris Gayomali

A new study by Pew Internet Research takes a hard look at how innovations in robotics and artificial intelligence will impact the future of work. To reach their conclusions, Pew researchers invited 12,000 experts (academics, researchers, technologists, and the like) to answer two basic questions:

  • Will networked, automated, artificial intelligence (AI) applications and robotic devices have displaced more jobs than they have created by 2025?
  • To what degree will AI and robotics be parts of the ordinary landscape of the general population by 2025?

Close to 1,900 experts responded. About half (48%) of the people queried envision a future in which machines have displaced both blue- and white-collar jobs. It won't be so dissimilar from the fundamental shift we saw in manufacturing, in which fewer (human) bosses oversaw automated assembly lines. What careers are most in danger? X-ray technicians, legal clerks, and news writer jobs were among those mentioned--essentially anything that requires routine decision-making is in danger of becoming automated. (The Associated Press, for example, is already experimenting with having machines write short business stories.) Careers requiring creativity, empathy, critical thinking, and judgment calls, on the other hand, were thought to be safer from being taken by machines.

 

$4 Million To Improve Battery Performance
20 September 2012 | Hybrid Cars
by Philippe Crowe

"PARC announced yesterday it has signed a $4 million contract with the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) under the program for Advanced Management and Protection of Energy Storage Devices (AMPED).

This contract will have PARC, along with project partner LG Chem Power Inc. (LGCPI), a subsidiary of LG Chem, develop a fiber optic monitoring system capable of providing detailed information about the internal condition of batteries. The end goal is to allow batteries to perform better in applications such as electric vehicles (EVs)."

 

Sensors Are Key to Better EV Batteries
ARPA-E wants to get more out of lithium-ion batteries
7 September 2012 | IEEE Spectrum
by Prachi Patel

ARPA-E has awarded more than $4 million to PARC.

"The PARC team has developed a wavelength-shift detector about the size of a quarter. A single detector could handle optical fibers from many battery cells, and it should cost only a few hundred dollars, as opposed to $10 000-plus for conventional detectors, which require lasers and charge-coupled device arrays...

One of the project’s goals is to figure out the best set of internal variables to monitor in a battery, says Raghavan. The researchers are also developing intelligent algorithms that would read the raw data from the sensors and translate it into relevant numbers for a car’s battery-management system...Battery maker LG Chem Power, a partner on the project, will test the fiber-optic sensors in real batteries."

 

Healthcare's Often Missing Element - The Human Element
2 August 2012 | Forbes
by Dan Munro

"In an effort to help providers to maximize the value of an EHR, Xerox turned to researchers at the venerable PARC (a company that Xerox spun-off about 10 years ago) as a way to explore the landscape of innovation around EHRs...

These large scale connections (Xerox, ACS, Allscripts) combined with the innovation engines of companies like PARC and The Breakaway Group represent an exciting development. It’s where innovation – including the human element – meets scale – in healthcare. PARC’s influence is still relatively early – and most clearly represents the opportunity around that human element. [PARC CEO] Steve Hoover summarized it best..."

 

...Simplifying The Patient Care Process By Improving Electronic Health Record (EHR) Technology.
31 July 2012 | The Street

"Americans routinely use electronic files to manage their finances, communicate with friends and family and even take college courses – but when it comes to medical records – only 26 percent want them digital. The findings come from the third annual Electronic Health Records (EHR) online survey of 2,147 U.S. adults, conducted for Xerox by Harris Interactive in May 2012...

To help caregivers do more with this patient information, Xerox is working with researchers at PARC to explore EHRs as a gateway to a variety of healthcare innovation possibilities. The resulting technology tools will simplify back-office and front-line processes, reduce errors, and free up caregivers to spend more time and attention on day-to-day patient care."

 

...on Data Center Efficiency
30 July 2012 | Data Center Knowledge
by Colleen Miller

"Data Center Knowledge: What are things that can be done through virtualizing servers that can increase utilization and decrease cost?

Clemens Pfeiffer: The best and most efficient set-up is based on research and patents from PARC around shared reservation models and QoS (Quality of Service) levels of applications. Unlike static reservations, which do not respond to utilization and therefore are based on an allocation for peak demand, grouping critical and non-critical applications on the same cluster using a shared model will provide more flexibility and reliability by allowing critical applications to take over whatever they need from the cluster and non-critical applications to take the rest resulting in a much better consolidation than the typical 14:1 reduction."

 

The future will be printed in 3-D
24 June 2012 | GigaOM
by Ryan Kim

It’s a future coming sooner than people think, said Peter Weijmarshausen, the CEO of 3-D printing start-up Shapeways. Fresh off $6.2 million in new funding for Shapeways, Weijmarshausen spoke with GigaOM about where 3-D printing is going, how it parallels the software industry and how far the technology can take us into the future.

…Another big challenge is that there’s still a limited number of materials… But he said more of these materials are becoming available. And researchers at PARC are working on printable electronics for things like RAM, sensors and transistors. That, he said, could lead to consumers creating their own phones or MP3 players housed in cases of their own design."

 

The Empire Strikes Back
How Xerox and other big corporations are harnessing the force of disruptive innovation.
1 December 2011 | Technology Review
by Scott D. Anthony and Clayton M. Christensen

"As Burns plunged Xerox into the services business, she devoted R&D resources—at the storied PARC lab and elsewhere—to developing...

This is disruptive innovation—making the complicated simple, making the expensive affordable, driving growth by transforming what exists and creating what doesn't. And it appears to be working: profits in Xerox's services business rose..."

 

Digitized Decision Making and the Hidden Second Economy
Techonomy [invited/ guest contributed]
10 November 2011 | Forbes
by Stephen Hoover

"There’s something big happening right now. I’m not referring to any of the popular technology memes per se—big data, social, cloud, mobile, augmented reality, context, post-PC devices, consumerization, 3-D printing, etc. I’m referring to something behind, and beyond, all of these technologies: the digitization of decision making. This increasing trend is creating a 'second economy' underneath and alongside the physical economy we know so well, and on a revolutionary scale…

[PARC visiting researcher and Santa Fe Institute external professor W. Brian] Arthur argues that this second economy, which author Nick Carr in turn dubs the age of 'deep automation,' may represent the biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution, and lead to increases in productivity output as well as decreases in physical jobs.

...Since joining PARC, a Xerox company approaching its 10-year anniversary as a business for open innovation with multiple clients, I have been focused on the following question: just what will happen to invention and innovation in this second economy? More specifically, what will be the role of R&D and innovation organizations in a new global innovation landscape?"

 

NASA ARC Award
FRACSAT: An integrated Lifecycle Decision Support Toolkit for Fractionated Spacecraft Architectures
13 May 2011 | SpaceRef
by Ames Research Center

"PARC and its partners will design, develop, and deliver an integrated lifecycle decision-support toolkit for fractionated spacecraft architectures. When completed, the FRACSAT toolkit will enable space mission designers to rapidly generate feasible mission architectures, select optimal design solutions given programmatic uncertainty, justify the business case using mission-relevant cost and benefit metrics, and adapt to unforeseen events or changes during the program lifecycle for maximum mission impact."

 

Sensor robots to aid military in recon missions [video]
3 January 2011 | SmartPlanet

"PARC...developing robots to help soldiers in urban combat and civilians on rescue missions. The sensor robots are equipped with infrared bump and odometry sensors, which make it possible for the robots to create digital maps of any rooms they enter."

 

PARC Works with Startup to Save Data Centers Power
Project aimed at moving data centers from being “Always On” to “Always Available” by virtualizing the power consumption
29 January 2010 | Green Technology Journal
by Maureen O'Gara

"Power Assure Inc, a California fledging developing power management solutions company, and the great Palo Alto Research Center, a k a PARC, have gotten themselves a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to reduce data center power consumption without impacting quality of service.

Power Assure will commercialize the project. The work is described as "transformative." It better be. Data centers in the U.S. are supposed to be eating through 100 billion kWh a year by next year although server utilization will still be at only 10%-15%."

 

Power Assure Selected by U.S. Department of Energy for $5 Million Grant
Funds to be Used for Commercialization of Energy Efficiency Software for Data Centers
7 January 2010 | Business Wire

"The DOE award was granted to Power Assure based on its principal goal of transforming data center energy strategy from an 'Always On' to an 'Always Available' model, which dramatically increases the efficiency of data centers. ...Power Assure’s novel approach will leverage 'model-based' optimization technology from PARC (Palo Alto Research Center). Power Assure and PARC are working closely together to enable the 'always available' approach."

 

US feds kick in funny money for green data centers
Helping IT vendors help themselves
6 January 2010 | The Register
by Timothy Prickett Morgan

"Power Assure has created software tools that can put servers to sleep and wake them up just before they are needed to support changing workloads...[and] could cut power consumption of these devices by 50 per cent. Power Assure is working with Xerox's PARC lab on research and development and had secured venture capital money in addition to the DOE grant to extend its products from servers to encompass all the other gear in the data center."

 

Open Innovation for packaging: A must do
1 June 2009 | Packaging World Magazine
by Phil McKiernan

"In a global economy, you need all the help you can get to stay ahead of the competition... How are leading organizations like Procter & Gamble and Kraft improving the odds? Both organization have created new innovation models... In both cases, the goal is collaboration with outside entities...."