Robots thrive in the forest on jobs that world find too boring

By Jesper Starn, Bloomberg News

From observation pulp cook for hours on end and tracking parasite bugs on satellite photos to handling drawn-out legal documents, Swedish forest companies are creating new jobs they would never ask a human to do.

Packaging maker BillerudKorsnas has been an early adoptive parent of artificial intelligence by exploitation the technology to analyze thousands of diagrams to determine just how long it inevitably to cook its wood chips before they turn into pulp. piece that process could be done manually, it says it would be difficult to find any human who’d be willing to spend all day just looking at so much charts.

“A machine can review large information quantities and find patterns in shipway we world just find too boring,” Olle Steffner, director of intellectual property management, aforementioned. “Tasks so much as observation processes or analyzing diagrams will hardly be lost by anybody. Our staff is needed for other things.”

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The rewards from exploitation AI for so much mundane tasks could be plentiful. The biggest advantages include being able to replace costly manual labor with automation as well as reducing the time machines used in the manufacturing process are idle for maintenance, aforementioned Joakim Wahlqvist, who develops AI solutions at practice firm Sogeti. Companies can besides use AI to help them improve the manufacturing process, as BillerudKorsnas is doing, he aforementioned.

Sweden’s forest companies are the latest example of an industry embrace artificial intelligence to cut compensation and lift profits. The country’s Banks are developing robotic client proposal and employment so much as chatbots and fashion giant Hennes & Mauritz is exploitation AI and big information to foresee trends and optimize its provision chain. piece the forest industry still lags behind retail and manufacturing in exploitation AI, it still has the strongest drive to automatize among the traditional process companies, Wahlqvist aforementioned.

Sogeti has together with Sveaskog, Sweden’s largest forest owner, developed recursive rules that teach themselves to find signs of spruce bark beetle attacks on satellite photos of forests. With the bug threatening to destroy wood valued at 6 billion kronor ($622 million) in a worst-case scenario in Sweden this year, AI could become one of the most efficient defenses against the bug.

“You could gain the same knowledge by putt on a pair of boots and walking into the forest to check for yourself, but AI helps you to attain it without the cost for large amounts of manual labor,” Wahlqvist aforementioned.

Stora Enso, one of Europe’s largest paper and packaging makers, has found some other application for AI by taking pity over its legal department. It’s trying to teach an recursive rule to identify risk in the immense amounts of contracts it is handling, which would free up lawyers’ time. It has not yet complete its first trial comparison AI results with lawyers’ assessments and mulls taking the work further with a new project. It’s besides exploitation AI to analyze pulp at a Finnish mill.

A recent development with some cheaper computer-processing power and more advanced sensors is what is making the technology more accessible to the forest industry right now, according to Steffner at BillerudKorsnas. The company is stepping up efforts with a biennial long program that will look at all its processes and evaluate where they can be made more efficient by exploitation robots.

“Where problems demand AI to be resolved, we now have the knowledge to do so,” Steffner aforementioned.