Since the beginning of time, humankind has wanted to predict the future. Mediums, tarot card readers, psychic visionaries, palm readers – we’ve tried it all, and failed. There is no crystal ball, there is no way to peek ahead at what’s coming. Or is there? Enter the world of artificial intelligence and predictive modeling.
According to Netsuite, “predictive modeling is a statistical technique using machine learning and data mining to predict and forecast likely future outcomes with the aid of historical and existing data.” Basically, it is a form of artificial intelligence that takes information you have and makes assumptions based on present day scenarios to forecast potential future states. It is used in multiple ways, from TV ratings to corporate earnings.
And BagsID has its own resident soothsayer, so to speak. Meet Erik van Breusegem, our CTO and head of artificial intelligence and predictive modeling. Erik met Marlon van der Meer, our CEO, early in the idea stage for BagsID. Leading a private artificial intelligence platform company, Erik was hired to create a small demonstration to help explain the concept of using A.I. and photo recognition for baggage identification.
“The best way to convince investors is to show them,” explained Erik. “But the exercise also convinced me, too. I saw that this was an innovation that made sense, not just commercially but in the industrial sense and I wanted to be a part of bringing it to life. So, I’ve been involved since the beginning.”
Call it premonition, call it foretelling, whatever you want to label it, Erik Van Breusegem was able to see that BagsID had a lot of promise. He now oversees the team that is developing, testing and deploying the technology, as well as scaling it for global growth.
“The A.I. and deep learning with BagsID, it was clear to me immediately that this is going to be real,” he explains. “The technology was moving extremely fast. It is not like the 1990s with websites that were slow to grow, people don’t want to wait anymore – they want to stay ahead of the curve. You can build cool applications now and it doesn’t cost a huge amount of money comparatively. Artificial intelligence has grown beyond hype, beyond just a trend – it is here to stay. I can’t wait to see where the technology brings us.”
Speaking of where the technology could go in the future, and bringing that predictive modeling side of his psyche into the picture, Erik has to say:
“A.I. and deep learning are becoming more operationalized – getting out in the field and working. There will be new breakthroughs, you can’t predict where it is going to come from – it could be understanding language better or prescreening vaccine candidates in medicine, or anything really. The big challenge is getting that tech out of the door and scaled. Over the past two years, AI has been showing that it can be done but getting it to scale is a different discipline. Sure, you can get it to do something once, but how do you roll that out to multiple locations – or globally like BagsID aims to do.”
And while Erik has his sights set on that future horizon, only time itself truly knows.
“If you look more broadly, technology is marching on. Yogi Berra said, ‘it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future,’” Erik laughs at the dichotomy. “Since you can’t really predict the future, you have to create multiple scenarios. For example, self-driving cars – before deep learning algorithms, there were people driving the cars. Looking at it then, I thought we were 30 years out for the technology we needed, but then there were advances in deep learning that brought that horizon much closer.”
“We are putting more power in the hands of individuals, which means we can do a lot more using a lot less people. Internet was around in the 70s, but it really took off in the 90s. Same goes for mobile, with a sudden lift in usage. Now we can’t live without it. All we can predict is that there will be more things possible we can’t even fathom currently.”
“Today we’re editing genes with CRISPR, using organisms to create other designer organisms. We can’t imagine what this could be used for, but there will be a breakthrough and it will change our understanding of the future of humanity. It is impossible to predict which direction technology will go in. But because we are global and so connected, even small innovations can have huge impact. We’ll be able to do more with less, things are going to get better. You may not think it when you read the newspaper or see all the world’s pollution, but we are getting there. And the only way we will is by using technology.”
The future looks bright according to Erik van Breusegem, which is why he was the perfect person to become CTO and head of artificial intelligence for BagsID – because we feel the same way too. In fact, we aim to make the world a better place with our technology. Not just making it easier for passengers, airports, airlines and others in baggage handling, but reducing the enormous carbon footprint caused by the waste from physical tags. They’re not reusable nor renewable. But our solution could create a tagless future where no hardware needs to be affixed to baggage at all. It may be difficult to see into that glass ball and envision photo recognition being employed at every airport around the globe, but not for us. It’s coming, and it will be here sooner than you think.
To learn more about our innovative, futuristic new solution and its benefits, visit BagsId.com/solutions.