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Artificial Intelligence of Things

Mapping Your Home and Spinning the Spatial Web

In this article you will learn more about a few new collaborations within artificial intelligence of things (AIoT); applications of AIoT; mapping your home; and the spatial web. Billions of dollars are being bet on smart homes to best understand how to deliver these specific products and use aggregated behavioural data to sell you other products. Which large company will know your home best?

We know applications within the field of AI may be in your home through smart speakers or smart phones already. Yesterday I wrote an article about new smart speakers; I have written about the AI contextual Awareness Engine; and how we increasingly may be using microprediction in everyday life. This changes our lifestyle, and thus the brands promoting products in this segment seem somewhat obliged to follow up.

The largest smartphone manufacturer in China named Xiaomi seems to have made a deal with IKEA last year (2018) to make smart lighting devices. The deal is as far as I know IKEA’s first partnership with a Chinese technology company. Xiaomi did around the same time announce its $14,4 million investment in the Xiaomi AIoT Developer Fund. This fund will be supporting the development of technology both hardware and software within the field of artificial intelligence.

The Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) is the combination of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies with the Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure to achieve more efficient IoT operations, improve human-machine interactions and enhance data management and analytics. AI can be used to transform IoT data into useful information for improved decision making process, thus creating a foundation for newer technology such as IoT Data as a Service (IoTDaaS).

  • AI adds value to IoT through machine learning capabilities
  • IoT adds value to AI through connectivity, signalling and data exchange

There is an increasing amount of data and this may need data analytics solutions that can create value (or mine) this data. The field of AI can embed techniques into infrastructure components to optimise the system and extract value.

According to TechCrunch Xiaomi’s announced its five year plan in January with a $1.5 billion bet on smart homes. This was announced by founder and chief operating officer Lei Jun.

“We see a future where all home devices will be connected to the internet and controlled by voice. A wave of home appliances will be replaced by smart devices. There will be an AIoT network that infiltrates every second and scenario of people’s lives, collecting mountains of users, traffic and data,”
Lei Jun quoted from TechCrunch 11th of January 2019.

On the surface it looks like these applications are oriented mainly towards retail with cognitive machine learning in consumer appliances, however as the new lighting collaboration with IKEA and Xiaomi may prove there are other ways to conceive of AI Awareness Engines that combines the sophisticated individual tracking of the user with smart home appliances that can learn from response and interaction.

With a smart lighting device a phone can understand when you are home. This is however nothing new, and you could argue energy companies might know. Heck, even your smart vacuum cleaner knows, and it can easily map your home to do a better job.

The Avast blog wrote an article with the funny title: Is your vacuum cleaner spying on you? Because that would suck. This was prompted by iRobot which made Roomba, a smart vacuum cleaner, talking of reaching a deal to share its maps for free with customer consent to one of the largest tech companies. There was talks of integrating Roomba with Amazon Alexa to better understand you as a customer.

There was a huge uproar and iRobot said they would not sell the data to retailers, rather give it for free after you accept it in their terms and conditions. The scandal happened in 2017, and after that settled down a partnership was reached between iRobot and Google in 2018, you could say this is tech business as usual.

So-called simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) helps the higher end vacuum cleaners to return to its dock to recharge. The robot uses light and dark points in its field of view with a low-resolution camera to build up a map within a home. However as an example a vacuum cleaner can now be hacked and the camera can be used for other purposes. It seem with every invention comes a new risk, although this one may be low.

By mapping your home large companies such as IKEA and large online retailers can suggest what you need through an impression of your home. Either that or Google can strategically monopolise the information, then quantify the data about homes and sell it to retailers who want the most efficient and effective advertisement to target their customer.

In late 2018 Peter Diamandis wrote on Singularity Hub about what he described as the Spatial Web. According to him it combined three aspects.

  • Spatial computing technologies, like augmented and virtual reality;
  • Physical computing technologies, like IoT and robotic sensors;
  • And decentralized computing: both blockchain — which enables greater security and data authentication — and edge computing, which pushes computing power to where it’s most needed, speeding everything up.

“Geared with natural language search, data mining, machine learning, and AI recommendation agents, the Spatial Web is a growing expanse of services and information, navigable with the use of ever-more-sophisticated AI assistants and revolutionary new interfaces.”
Peter Diamandis

The first thing that I found when I started looking was Winnow, learning about the trash that is being thrown away in IKEA kitchens with cognitive machine learning. It seemed so naive and optimistic, so I decided to dig deeper.There may be far more positive cases angle towards sustainability initiatives such as cutting food waste, yet it seems the far greater focus by the industry is on this more commercial aspect of the applied tech.

I am rather glad I did so to discover the intricate ways AIoT is being used to keep building the web I find myself within.

This is day 34 of #500daysofAI, follow me for daily updates on AI.

Thank you so much for reading!

What is #500daysofAI?

I am challenging myself to write and think about the topic of artificial intelligence for the next 500 days with the #500daysofAI. This is a challenge I invented to keep thinking of this topic and share my words with you.

AI Policy and Ethics at Student at University of Copenhagen MSc in Social Data Science. All views are my own.