Sign & Digital Graphics

November '17

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6 • November 2017 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S __________________________________________ Publisher James "Ruggs" Kochevar – Executive Editor Ken Mergentime – Managing Editor Matt Dixon – Digital Content Editor Tony Kindelspire – __________________________________________ Art Director Linda Cranston Graphic Artist Iveth Gomez Multimedia Producer Andrew Bennett __________________________________________ Advertising Account Executives Erin Geddis – Diane Gilbert – Sara Siauw – Sales Support Dana Korman – __________________________________________ Contributors in this Issue: Mike Burke; Matt Charboneau; Maureen Damato; Vince DiCecco; Scott Franko; Ryan Fugler; Paula Aven Gladych; Charity Jackson; Bob Ponzini; Stephen Romaniello; Bill Schiffner; Andy Stonehouse; Shelley Widhalm; Rick Williams ___________________________________________ Vice President/Events Sue Hueg CEM, CMP – Show Sales Damon Cincotta – Exhibitor Services Lawrence Stern – ____________________________________________ National Business Media, Inc. President & CEO Robert H. Wieber Jr. Vice President/Integrated Media John Bennett Vice President/Finance Kori Gonzales, CPA Vice President/Publishing and Markets Dave Pomeroy Vice President/Audience Lori Farstad Director of IT Wolf Butler B Y K E N M E R G E N T I M E The Long View I f you've been to a sign industry trade show lately you likely noticed a strong tilt toward more automated printing and fabrication pro- cesses. At the last few shows I've attended, I've seen print and finish- ing equipment companies displaying robotic arms and other devices performing the repetitive job of unloading finished sheet substrates and stacking them onto pallets. This level of robotic sophistication in machinery is unprecedented in the sign industry, and it is made possible through highly adaptable computer technologies that allow the machine to interact with and react to real world conditions. All of this is possible because of the development of artificial intelligence. Today AI generally serves to make advertisements online more personalized—"Suggested for You" links that appear with your online search results. But it's become much more than that. Artificial intelligence is basically machines that exhibit cognitive capabilities— intelligence if you will. Self-reliant, highly autonomous software is rapidly being interwoven into the fabric of our lives. AI is used extensively in manufacturing and in IoT systems used in smart cars, smart houses and other smart objects. Already the learning algorithms employed in AI systems are being applied in the fields of medical diagnosis, market analysis, credit risk assessment, robotic control, driver safety, portfolio management and many other areas. AI is also being applied to some of the social problems of the world. The University of Southern California has established a Center for Artificial Intelligence in Society, with the goal of using AI to address socially relevant problems such as homelessness. None of this is bad, per se, but the trajectory of AI technologies can be worri- some. For example, it has already been weaponized. The Pentagon and Israel developed a software program called the "Stuxnet" virus, and in 2010 it was deployed against the Natanz uranium enrichment plant in Iran where—on its own—it circumnavigated heavy hacking defenses and caused centrifuges there to fail. But, scary military applications aside, where is all this artificial intelligence head- ing? Well, some say robots will soon reach human intelligence and beyond. Ray Kurzweil, an inventor and futurist who is currently director of engineering at Google, predicts that AI entities (robots) will reach human intelligence by 2029— meaning that an intelligent machine could actually pass a Turing Test—a test of a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human. Kurzweil further postulates that by 2045 intelligent machines will reach "Singularity"—a point where machine intelligence and humans actually would merge. Once the Singularity has been reached, Kurzweil says, machine intelligence will be infinitely more powerful than all human intelligence combined. Uh-oh... Meanwhile, the sign industry continues to improve itself and come up with more and more computerized labor-saving systems. But now I'm not so sure I'm comfort- able with where all of this intelligent automation will end up. Okay, back to work. The Singular Future of Automation Got something to say? Join the S&DG Discussion Group at:

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