We are always happy to talk about Italian innovation and research, particularly at a time like this, when creative entrepreneurship can be instrumental in pulling our Country and society at large out of the crisis. Today we are happy to tell you about a young female entrepreneur who is using artificial intelligence to ensure safer working conditions for factory workers, using an algorithm to predict anomalies in the equipment, thus reducing the risk of accidents.
Artificial intelligence can and should work for humans and with humans, not against them
Many look with mistrust at artificial intelligence and algorithms, because they feel this kind of technology is too present in our everyday lives or because they are afraid automatisation will take away human jobs. Giulia Baccarin, however, always looked at this matter from a different perspective. Ever since she was a student, she was fascinated by artificial intelligence and, while still at university, she designed a predictive algorithm to be implemented in a high-tech t-shirt, equipped with airbags, to protect elderly people from incidents and falls. Hailing from Vicenza, Baccarin travelled abroad a lot, working in Belgium and Japan and helping in the development of algorithms to improve sustainability in several industrial processes, reduce waste and generally work towards a greener, safer future. She is currently the leader of Mipu, a group of companies that uses AI to make factory work more efficient, safer, and inclusive.
Technology is our ally
If we have learned one thing over the past two years, it is that we need technology in a crisis. Technology has helped us monitor and contain the pandemic, collate and study enormous amounts of data, stay in touch with our loved ones while locked inside our respective homes, share experiences with others, work, entertain ourselves, support good causes, play, eat, learn, teach. Giulia Baccarin is one of the minds that work on the kind of applications of technology – and especially of artificial intelligence – that not everyone gets to see in action, but that affects the lives of many. Using an algorithm to regulate the flow of water through a dam, for instance, deciding when to open or close it, can help make the whole mechanism more efficient and ultimately safer for the communities that depend on it for electricity production, protecting them from floods.
Preventing malfunctions can save lives
Giulia Baccarin’s and Mipu’s main focus is currently the use of artificial intelligence to prevent malfunctions in factory equipment. This does not only improve the company’s bottom line, by reducing downtime and optimising maintenance, but it also guarantees a safer working environment for factory workers, as it prevents incidents along the production line. Mipu’s algorithm can now predict malfunctions in machinery up to six months ahead, pinpointing the kind of problem that it is going to present itself, setting it into a precise timeframe, and allowing companies to sort it out before it affects either the production or the safety of the working environment.