Lighting Matters: The fourth industrial revolution – blurred talk

March 22nd, 2019, Published in Articles: Vector

Philip Hammond

Last month’s column started a journey into the reality of the Fourth Industrial Revolution which served as an eye-opener to many of the readers who perhaps never even noticed its beginning and progress.

Many of you will remember the famous chess master, Gary Kasparov. Some may even remember that he was pitted against an IBM chess super-computer in 1997 which could calculate all possible options with incredible speed. At the time, it wasn’t able to analyse the game but it highlighted the speed of development of computers, which would eventually lead to artificial intelligence (AI) as we know it today. Where it will all lead to is anybody’s guess!

In 2004, the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) held its first “Grand Challenge”: a race for autonomous vehicles over 100 km of off-road terrain in the Mojave Desert. No cars were able to complete the course. Two years later, during the second Grand Challenge of 2006, five vehicles completed the course. By 2007, an “urban environment” was constructed which included other moving vehicles and traffic regulations for autonomous vehicles to deal with.

Last year, Google launched its self-driving taxi service in Phoenix, Arizona – the first commercial autonomous vehicle-hire service in daily use by 400 members of the public who pay to be driven to their schools and workplaces within a 260 km² area. Human operators still ride with every vehicle to monitor their performance and to override the controls, for emergencies.

Many people still don’t grasp the power of artificial intelligence and modern computing within commerce and industry.

In 2011, IBM used a cognitive computing engine named Watson to participate in the television quiz show Jeopardy! where answers are given and contestants must supply the questions.

Watson competed against humans and defeated them, winning a $1-million prize. Yes, eight years ago, a computer beat humans in a language-based, creative thinking game! Mind-blowing!

Philip Hammond, BHA Lighting and BHA School of Lighting.


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