Nokia unveils AI assistant for industrial workers

By Thomson Reuters Feb 14, 2024 | 3:01 AM

By Olivier Sorgho

(Reuters) -Technology company Nokia on Wednesday unveiled an AI-powered tool that generates messages for industrial workers, including warnings about faulty machinery based on real-time data and recommended ways to boost factory output.

The tool, “MX Workmate”, will expand on Nokia’s existing communications technology used by industrial clients by harnessing generative AI large language models (LLMs) to write human-like text, the company said in a statement.

These could include early warnings about machine failure along with recommended actions for repairs, solutions to boost production quality and rates, or dealing with accidents at factories, Stephane Daeuble, Head of Enterprise Solutions Marketing at Nokia, told Reuters.

The Finland-based gear maker already supplies 4G and 5G technology that allows in-house communications or helps industrial companies connect to data from machine sensors, among other uses.

“Now the idea is we have an assistant that’s there to help the worker make sense of all this data,” Daeuble said, adding that Nokia is rolling out the tool as manufacturers grapple with a shortage of qualified staff.

Made popular last year by ChatGPT, generative AI can create human-like content, and while its regulation is in its early stages, many experts say it can raise legal or ethical concerns.

Nokia’s tool is compliant with operational technology (OT) regulations, but it may take time for companies to trust the “forward-looking” tech, which first needs proper testing and fine-tuning to work across industries, Daeuble said.

While some aspects are still in the research phase, including tackling AI hallucination, the tool “needs to be accurate, clear and right. And it needs to be traceable and moderated,” he said, adding there would be initial safeguards such as a person validating the AI prompts.

“Maybe a year, a year and a half, before we see first real implementation,” he said.

Nokia will showcase the tool’s first versions at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in late February.

(Reporting by Olivier Sorgho; editing by Miral Fahmy)