Uptake Fusion Now Available on Microsoft Azure Marketplace
Uptake, an industrial artificial intelligence (AI) software company, has announced the availability of Uptake Fusion Cloud Datastore for Ignition by Inductive Automation on the Microsoft Azure Marketplace.
Operators in industries such as chemicals, oil and gas, renewables, manufacturing, and mining can purchase Uptake Fusion from the Marketplace and install it directly into their enterprise tenant in Azure. Users are able to transfer their OT data in Ignition to Azure for greater enterprise access and usability, at a minimum of 20,000 events per second throughput.
Uptake Fusion establishes a connector with Ignition and then transports OT data to Azure for long-term storage. Once in the enterprise tenant, internal and third-party consumers have access to the data with an open format for visualisation, analytics, and orchestration, allowing them to use Microsoft Power BI, PowerApps, and Azure Time Series Insights or their preferred tools to derive data insights. There is an offline datastore that secures the stream against loss, with built-in recovery features.
“Better business decisions that optimise costs, mitigate risks, and enhance revenue assurance all begin with the elevation of high-fidelity operational data to the cloud,” said Dr. Dave Shook, Chief Data Officer at Uptake. “With Uptake Fusion, companies can now cost-effectively scale the development of context-rich advanced applications across their organisation. That way, individual decision-makers have the frontline intelligence they need, whether that is operational monitoring, reporting, or planning.”
Protecting critical underlying plant systems from cyber-threats, Uptake Fusion reduces the number of connections between data collection systems like Ignition and the SaaS platforms operators already have in place.
“The out-of-the-box collection and cross-platform compatibility that Ignition users know and leverage on a day-to-day basis are extended to the cloud by Uptake Fusion,” shared Don Pearson, Chief Strategy Officer at Inductive Automation. “This integration empowers Ignition users with the data-centric, cost-effective approach to industrial intelligence for rapid use across their organisations.”
Uptake also recently announced the availability of Uptake Fusion for OSIsoft PI users, as well as its partnership with Wipro, a global information technology, consulting, and business process company. Uptake also recently acquired ShookIOT, an industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions provider.
Chinese Firm Taigusys Launches Emotion-Recognition System
In a detailed investigative report, the Guardian reported that Chinese tech company Taigusys can now monitor facial expressions. The company claims that it can track fake smiles, chart genuine emotions, and help police curtail security threats. ‘Ordinary people here in China aren’t happy about this technology, but they have no choice. If the police say there have to be cameras in a community, people will just have to live with it’, said Chen Wei, company founder and chairman. ‘There’s always that demand, and we’re here to fulfil it’.
Who Will Use the Data?
As of right now, the emotion-recognition market is supposed to be worth US$36bn by 2023—which hints at rapid global adoption. Taigusys counts Huawei, China Mobile, China Unicom, and PetroChina among its 36 clients, but none of them has yet revealed if they’ve purchased the new AI. In addition, Taigusys will likely implement the technology in Chinese prisons, schools, and nursing homes.
It’s not likely that emotion-recognition AI will stay within the realm of private enterprise. President Xi Jinping has promoted ‘positive energy’ among citizens and intimated that negative expressions are no good for a healthy society. If the Chinese central government continues to gain control over private companies’ tech data, national officials could use emotional data for ideological purposes—and target ‘unhappy’ or ‘suspicious’ citizens.
How Does It Work?
Taigusys’s AI will track facial muscle movements, body motions, and other biometric data to infer how a person is feeling, collecting massive amounts of personal data for machine learning purposes. If an individual displays too much negative emotion, the platform can recommend him or her for what’s termed ‘emotional support’—and what may end up being much worse.
Can We Really Detect Human Emotions?
This is still up for debate, but many critics say no. Psychologists still debate whether human emotions can be separated into basic emotions such as fear, joy, and surprise across cultures or whether something more complex is at stake. Many claim that AI emotion-reading technology is not only unethical but inaccurate since facial expressions don’t necessarily indicate someone’s true emotional state.
In addition, Taigusys’s facial tracking system could promote racial bias. One of the company’s systems classes faces as ‘yellow, white, or black’; another distinguishes between Uyghur and Han Chinese; and sometimes, the technology picks up certain ethnic features better than others.
Is China the Only One?
Not a chance. Other countries have also tried to decode and use emotions. In 2007, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) launched a heavily contested training programme (SPOT) that taught airport personnel to monitor passengers for signs of stress, deception, and fear. But China as a nation rarely discusses bias, and as a result, its AI-based discrimination could be more dangerous.
‘That Chinese conceptions of race are going to be built into technology and exported to other parts of the world is troubling, particularly since there isn’t the kind of critical discourse [about racism and ethnicity in China] that we’re having in the United States’, said Shazeda Ahmed, an AI researcher at New York University (NYU).
Taigusys’s founder points out, on the other hand, that its system can help prevent tragic violence, citing a 2020 stabbing of 41 people in Guangxi Province. Yet top academics remain unconvinced. As Sandra Wachter, associate professor and senior research fellow at the University of Oxford’s Internet Institute, said: ‘[If this continues], we will see a clash with fundamental human rights, such as free expression and the right to privacy’.