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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.

Updated 6 mins ago - World

Blinken to meet with Russian foreign minister after visit to Ukraine

Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva on Friday, following a trip to Kyiv to reinforce U.S. support for Ukraine in the face of a possible Russian invasion, according to a senior U.S. official.

Why it matters: The meeting with Lavrov suggests a diplomatic resolution to the crisis may still be on the table, despite the collapse of security talks between Russia and the West last week.

Updated 41 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Transplants rebound from COVID lull — CDC director says COVID-19 messaging should have been clearer — Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines.
  2. Vaccines: Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — America's vaccination drive runs out of gas.
  3. Politics: Joint Chiefs chair Gen. Mark Milley tests positive for COVID-19 — Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health."
  4. States: America struggles to keep schools open — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers.
  5. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — French parliament passes COVID vaccine passport legislation.
  6. Variant tracker