Artificial intelligence: intelligent machines for a new era

Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing medicine, the management of cities and art. It is a technology that will transform the postindustrial era and the relationship between people and machines. The development, application and ethical aspects of this technology are also rare at the Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña (UPC), which maintains diverse lines of research in the field of artificial intelligence.

Encontrar la cure de enfermedades como la de Alzheimer puede parecer hoy en día una utopia. But, what if the first symptoms appeared? Así, they could design early intervention strategies and minimize the impact of illness. This is what the Image and Video Processing Group (GPI) of the Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña – BarcelonaTech (UPC) is trying to achieve, in collaboration with the Barcelona Beta Brain Research Center (BBRC), which develops a tool that, with techniques de intelligence artificial (IA), combines data from magnetic resonance images with demographic and genetic data. Con estos datos y los algorithmos adecuados se pueden encontrar personas con riesgo de sufrir la enfermedad de Alzheimer. It is a technology that is designed in the framework of the AIMING project and that wants to be applied also for the diagnosis of melanoma and breast cancer, and to help in the selection of the best chemotherapy. This is an example of how the application of artificial intelligence can improve diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

Mediante las technologies de visión artificial, también se potencia el trabajo en red y mejora la asistencia a los pacientes. This is the manifesto of the DigiPatICS project, with IDEAI at the front, focused on optimizing the anatomopathological diagnostic process in the network of hospitals of the Catalan Institute of Health. From the most accurate medical images and diagnostics to the most rapid and effective analysis and management of data, artificial intelligence becomes a key tool to support medical practice and, ultimately, to contribute to improving health.

But the applications of artificial intelligence in the field of medicine are much more. In the UPC, several research groups design robotic arms for additional support during surgical interventions. This is the case of the SARAS project in which the Centro de Investigación en Ingeniería Biomédica (CREB) has taken part. Artificial intelligence also helps to make it easier for hospitalized children to stay. Con los mascota robots creados como compañeros de habitación se reduce the suffering of children and girls interned in centers like el Hospital Sant Joan de Déu de Barcelona. The project that drives the Intelligent Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Research Center (IDEAI), from the UPC, has received the name of a child, the fantasma CASPER.

Through algorithms that analyze video images and detect patrons, it will be possible to prevent suicides in trains. This has been demonstrated in the project Anomaly Phase O, in which researchers from the Engineering Group of Knowledge and Automatic Learning (KEMLG), IDEAI and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center-Centro Nacional de Computación (BSC) are participating.

As explained by the director of IDEAI, Karina Gibert, “artificial intelligence represents one of the most important engines of the change of paradigm towards digital transformation and allows the shift towards a digital society, which from the European vision we want to be centered on the person , orientada al bien común, alineada con la Agenda 2030 y los ODS. Advances in knowledge, detection and treatment of diseases, promotion of healthy lifestyles, personalization in consumption proposals and direct participation mechanisms open the doors to a society that we wish was more just. and egalitarian”.

La intelligentia artificial no es el futuro, sino el presente, con technologías que se han ido introduciendo en nuestro day a día de forma progressive y otras que todavía están por explorar. Since in 1950 the British mathematician Alan Turing opened the debate on the capacity to reason of machines, until today, we have assisted a revolution in the development of these technologies, which are found in such everyday and diverse applications as the systems of corrección automatica de los telefonos inteligentes, los virtual assistants o los sistemas de assistance a la conducción. A todo esto se le sumarán every time more los hogares inteligentes, con sistemas domóticos que regulan el confort térmic o que realize la compra de manera automatizada. The final result is the totally connected cities, where services like messaging, mobility and electric networks are managed with artificial intelligence.

The digitalization of the industry, through connected factories where the processes will be automated, and people and robots will work in a coordinated way, is the immediate future for which the Center for Research in Control of Movement and Industrial Applications (MCIA) is working. The group coordinates the strategic project Looming Factory.

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The strategic project Looming Factory, in which MCIA works, focuses on the digitalization of the industry. (Photo: UPC)

In the industrial environment, one of the great needs is also to flexibilize the energy demand of the productive processes to accelerate the energy transition to a more sustainable model and reduce the cost of the price of the energy integrated into the planning of the production. In this sense, the Centro de Innovación Tecnológica en Convertidores Estáticos y Accionamientos (CITCEA), which is a reference in research in this field, investigates the technology necessary to further respond to these problems, within the European project FLEX4FACT, of which it is the coordinator scientific

This same center participates in the digital transformation of the European energy system, through artificial intelligence and blockchain, in another large European project that bears the name BEYOND. An initiative focused on implementing mercados locales de electricity para maximizar el despliegue de energías renovables, haciendo uso de mechanisms de flexibility como la respuesta a la demanda o las batteries.

Artificial intelligence is also increasingly present in artistic creation. Artists, scientists and other professionals explore the interrelation between both worlds in platforms such as the AI ​​and Music S+T+ARTS Festival, which has been jointly organized by the Sónar advanced music festival, the UPC and the Betevé television channel. This is the objective also of the Thinking Lab, an applied research laboratory led by IDEAI and the Center of Image and Multimedia Technology (CITM) of the UPC and coordinated together with Sónar, in the framework of the same project.

The technologies of artificial intelligence also help to achieve rare sustainability issues. In line with the Sustainable Development Objective (ODS) for the conservation of marine biodiversity, various groups of the UPC develop high-performance algorithms and use satellite images, remote detection techniques and automatic learning to detect humpbacks and gray whales in the waters de California, dentro del proyecto ‘Detectability of humpback and gray whales in satellite imagery off California’.

The artificial intelligence is accelerating the transformation of the industry and the society in a process that is not exempt from risks, as those that can affect the security of data. How can you guarantee access to network services without risking personal data? En este campo tienen mucho que decir proyectos como COMPROMISE, en los que participa el grupo de investigación Smart Services for Information Systems and Communication Networks (SISCOM), utilizando técnicas de aprendizaje artificial (machine learning, a modality of artificial intelligence) para mejorar los protocols de comunicación y proteger la privacidad. In this context, an application is developed to analyze data from the sensors of smart phones and predict the type of transport that citizens will use. The objective is to improve the management of urban mobility.

La democratización del accesso a los datos es otro de los retos en inteligenia artificial. In this line, the Integrated Software, Service, Information and Data Engineering (inSSIDE) research group designs a shared platform to improve access to the data ecosystem of Barcelona and the management of the city from the point of view of public services. Una taska que se desarrolla en el marco del proyecto ‘An Automatic Data Discovery Approach to Enhance Barcelona’s Data Ecosystem’.

Otra de las questiones que preocupa a la comunidad científica es cómo evitar que la inteligenia artificial reproducca los sesgos presentes en la sociedad. ¿Cómo hacer posible, por ejemplo, que los traductores automáticos sean inclusivos y tengan en cuenta las lenguas minoritarias? The Centro de Tecnologías y Aplicaciones del Linguaje y el Habla (TALP) is involved in this project, which creates systems for automatic translation that are more efficient and fulfill these requirements. (Fuente: UPC)

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