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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A startup is employing AI to streamline and perfect manufacturing.

Why it matters: As valuable as machine learning has been in software, the next phase could be even more disruptive: bringing AI to the often messy process of making things.

What's happening: Nanotronics, a Brooklyn-based science technology company, has developed a platform that combines AI, automation and computer imaging to identify anomalies in the manufacturing process.

  • Quality control is usually the province of workers, but Nanotronics is able to automate much of the process, leading to an "autonomous factory that can change parameters and create alerts, doing things that humans just wouldn't be able to do," says Matthew Putman, the company's founder and CEO.
  • For Nanotronics' partners — which include biotech and semiconductor companies — "AI becomes a great partner in being able to build a factory," he says.

By the numbers: A report published last year from the research firm Technavio estimates that the size of the broader automated industrial quality control market is expected to grow by 7% a year between 2020 and 2024.

  • That growth will likely be accelerated by the effects of the pandemic, which disrupted supply chains and put a premium on the ability to automate manufacturing as much as possible.

Situational awareness: On Thursday, Nanotronics announced a partnership with chemical manufacturer Solugen to use its technology to ensure clean water and safety in Solugen's autonomous chemical plants.

"I don't want the next big tech idea to be a social network. I want it to be a factory."
Matthew Putman, Nanotronics

Go deeper: AI is industrializing

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Mar 26, 2021 - Technology

ACLU to FOIA information about national security uses of AI

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The ACLU will be seeking information about how the government is using artificial intelligence in national security, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The development of AI has major implications for security, surveillance, and justice. The ACLU's request may help shed some light on the government's often opaque applications of AI.

Super typhoon Surigae explodes to Cat. 5 intensity

Super Typhoon Surigae seen on satellite imagery Saturday morning east of the Philippines. (CIRA/RAMMB)

Super Typhoon Surigae surged in intensity from a Category 1 storm on Friday to a beastly Category 5 monster on Saturday, with maximum sustained winds estimated at 190 mph with higher gusts.

Why it matters: This storm — known as Typhoon Bising in the Philippines — is just the latest of many tropical cyclones to undergo a process known as rapid intensification, a feat that studies show is becoming more common due to climate change. It weakened slightly, to the equivalent of a strong Category 4 storm, on Sunday.

4 hours ago - World

Biden adviser warns "there will be consequences" for Russia if Navalny dies

The Biden administration warned the Russian government "that there will be consequences" if jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny dies, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN on Sunday.

The big picture: Sullivan also defended President Biden for not mentioning Navalny in a Thursday speech about Russia or in a Tuesday call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying the White House aims to deal with the issue "privately and through diplomatic channels."