Artificial intelligence is one of the most intriguing technologies that has come down the pike. For the small and medium-sized business, it may seem more like science fiction than a solution to their business’ operational problems. Today, AI is more accessible for the SMB than ever, and today, we thought we would share with you a situation where the technology—designed to help out in a bakery—is being used to diagnose cancer.
Why Would a Bakery Use AI in the First Place?
In Japan, where the technology was developed, they have a lot of cafeteria-style restaurants. An AI-aided software was developed to automate the role of cashier. Instead of having a human cashier on staff to count out the shopper’s selections at checkout, an attendant simply instructs customers to place the baked goods they want to buy out on the counter. Once they are ready to check out, the whole process takes seconds. The AI effectively identifies the pastries, calculates the price owed and calculates a total for the customer. This allows each customer to be rang up much more quickly.
By streamlining the process with automation, these Japanese bakeries, which usually carry large selections of items, were able to check out more people and it increased their revenue. It also cut down on the packaging required as the AI would identify each individual pastry. The development of this AI-integrated application was spearheaded by BRAIN Co. Called BakeryScan, it is now in over 400 retail establishments in Japan and costs around $20,000 to deploy.
By the way: if you’re worried about the prospect of unwrapped baked goods being sold in the past year or so, the technology has since improved to recognize pastries through protective wrapping just as accurately.
This technology has obvious benefits for retail organizations, but what you won’t expect is that nearly the same software could find another use: Diagnosing cancer.
A doctor at Kyoto’s Louis Pasteur Center for Medical Research saw a segment on TV and the connection was made. Turns out that some baked goods look similar to some cancer cells observed through a microscope. Making an association with the utility of the BakeryScan AI, it was repurposed as AI-Scan, a medical tool.
AI-Scan can spot differences in cancerous urinary cells with its Cyto-AiSCAN offshoot (with accuracy measuring over 99 percent), and has been adopted for many other purposes. Today, organizations are using it to distinguish pill types, one company uses it to identify bolts and other fasteners that may have some problem. Toyota has also started using the technology to help design more effective airbags.
This gives you a good idea about how AI is being adopted to further the technology used to improve the outlook for humanity, but it can also be used to help your business. Today, there are a number of software solutions that have integrated an AI or machine learning system that can help you streamline processes or, like AI-Scan, change the way you view your business.
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