Will the NSW government's tech investment make beaches safer this summer?
With summertime on the horizon, the New South Wales government will begin using drones, sonar and helicopters in an attempt to protect travelers and Aussie residents from shark attacks at the beach.
The world’s first shark strategy is a $16 million project recently announced by Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair. Previously, Business Review Australia reported how local shark attacks are affecting beach businesses and tourism.
This year, there have already been 13 unprovoked shark attacks with one death in NSW compared to only three in 2014, according to the Australian Shark Attack File.
Instead of killing sharks through a process known as culling, the government will invest in up to 20 4G listening stations to monitor sharks, and will also set aside $7.7 million in order to test new technologies and types of water surveillance. About $3.5 million will go into aerial helicopter surveillance with an additional $1.3 million for public shark-smart educational programs.
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Some of the recent strategies implemented include sonar technology and barrier nets along the NSW coastline. Although Australia began installing netting to prevent sharks from getting too close to the shore back in the 1930s, the water’s conditions are often too rough to properly utilise it.
The primary sonar technology used is buoys, which use multi-beam sonar to identify objects underwater. The software was developed by UK-based underwater technology company Tritech International, and is designed to indicate a level of probability that a shark is close by and can be designed to text a lifeguard.
Although it continues to follow the advice of scientists and environmentalists, it is evident the NSW government is doing all it can to help alleviate concerns from local residents.
Beyond Limits: Cognitive AI in APAC
Courtesy of current estimates, it looks like Asia-Pacific AI will be worth US$136bn by 2025. Its governments and corporations invest more money than the rest of the world in AI tech, the data of its citizens is considered fair game, and its pilots are small-scale and, as a result, ruthlessly effective. This is why, according to Jeff Olson, Cognizant’s Associate Vice President for Projects, AI and Analytics, Digital Business and Technology, the APAC region ‘is right on the edge of an AI explosion’.
Now, startup Beyond Limits is pushing the boundaries of what AI can do, mirroring humans in its ability to find solutions with even limited information. As of this July, it’s partnered up with Mitsui, a global trading and investment company, to expand its impact in APAC.
How Does Beyond Limits Work?
Most AI companies claim that they can help businesses make better decisions. But many need astoundingly large stores of data to feed their information-hungry algorithms. Beyond Limits, in contrast, takes a different tack. Perfect data, after all, is largely a pipe dream kept alive by PhD students. In reality, systems must often make decisions from small, incomplete sets of intel.
But Beyond Limits’ AI is no black box. ‘When little to no data is available, Beyond Limits symbolic technologies rely on deductive, inductive, and abductive reasoning capabilities’, explained Clare Walker, Industry Analyst at Frost & Sullivan. While making these leaps in logic, however, the system also keeps track, ensuring that humans can review the AI’s ‘thought process’.
Why Partner With Mitsui?
Beyond Limits is built for specific applications such as energy, utilities, and healthcare—but lacks the extensive industry network of Mitsui. Partnering allows Beyond Limits to access a portfolio of firms specialising in minerals and metals, energy, infrastructure, and chemicals. ‘We’ve been working on this deal for several years’, said Mitsui’s Deputy General Manager Hiroki Tanabe. ‘Mitsui’s global portfolio and Beyond Limits’ AI technology will...deliver impact’.
In the first test of that dramatic statement, Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) will soon deploy Beyond Limits’ new system. If everything goes according to plan, LNG will optimise how it extracts and refines energy, making money for both itself and investors—including Mitsui. This, in fact, is Mitsui’s strategy: go digital and don’t look back.
Why Does This Matter?
Forty-five percent of Asia-Pacific companies surveyed in Cognizant’s thought leadership ebook consider themselves AI leaders. Positivity bias, that oh-so-common tendency of humans to position themselves as above average as compared to others, strikes again. (Most small companies fail to launch successful AI projects on their own.) And partly, this is because firms fail to integrate AI with industry expertise.
‘A large part of the focus on talent for AI today has been getting the people who are strong in mathematics, AI, and technologies’, said Olson. ‘But where you make your money out of AI projects is when you apply them to your business’. In short: APAC nations looking for ways to bridge the gap might follow Beyond Limits and Mitsui’s playbook—coupling startup AI with a corporate network.