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Artificial Intelligence, which is neither artificial or intelligence, has been around for many years. We knew AI by machine learning (ML) or neural networks. I can remember some classes on those in the early-mid 90s. But AI has become a giant marketing buzz word in the industrial tech market.

I’m not downplaying AI as either the technology or the application. It’s just that so many marketers think of AI as a new and giant advancement instead of a maturing technology that has been, and will continue to have, useful to our applications.

Momentum has grown so much about the use of AI—as in no longer hidden under the covers but right out here in the open—that the A3 association has established a strategy board to guide its efforts in the area. Interesting…

The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) has created a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) Technology Strategy Board of leading AI experts, part of a major initiative to promote education and adoption of the applications of artificial intelligence in automation industries.

This new board places AI leadership at the same level as A3’s existing technology groups: robotics, vision & imaging, and motion control & motors. The AI Technology Strategy Board will be comprised of senior executives from leading AI and technology companies. This is the first time the global trade association has added a technology group to its leadership since adding motion control in 2006. A3 represents 1,100 companies from across the automation industry. 

Artificial intelligence is layering atop robotics, vision, motion control, and other automation technologies to create new solutions, great flexibility, and expanding opportunities. Big tech companies—once focused more on phones than factory floors—now view manufacturing, robotics, and industrial automation as key segments of their business.

“Artificial intelligence—in many shapes and forms—will be the stitching that weaves together a new age of industry,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of A3. “As the global trade group of the automation industry, we need to help prepare our members to seize this potential.”

The creation of the technology strategy board is the culmination of a three-year effort to educate and inform automation leaders about the growing importance of artificial intelligence. The board’s chairman is John Lizzi, Executive Leader-Robotics at GE Research, who has chaired and played a leading role in the A3’s AI efforts to date. Companies such as Amazon, GE, Google, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Siemens and others have helped guide A3’s initiatives. Robert Huschka, A3’s vice president of education strategies, will serve as the association’s liaison to the new board.

Last fall, A3 hosted its first virtual AI conference, the AI & Smart Automation Conference, with more than 1,600 virtual registrants. Last year, A3 released the whitepaper, “Intelligent Automation: 6 AI Applications That Are Changing Industry.” Focused on real-world use cases for AI, the 20-page paper has become the most-read whitepaper in the history of the association. The association’s new website, AUTOMATE.ORG, has devoted an entire section to artificial intelligence. A3 is also set to begin work on new industry-recognized certification programs on AI and autonomous systems.

AI technologies will play a central role at A3’s two major trade shows in 2022, The Automate Show & Conference, June 6-9, in Detroit, Michigan, and The Vision Show, October 11-13, in Boston, Massachusetts.

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