As it incresingly cooperates with integrated rescue system
There are various ideas about what artificial intelligence is capable of and how people can use it for their good. In connection with the term “AI,” people often imagine a variety of abstract IT industries. Some even see AI as a potential threat to the future of humankind. But the opposite is closer to the truth so far since artificial intelligence quickly advances in protecting the safety and health of humans.
AI already keeps people safe in a variety of industries. For example, it cooperates with healthcare professionals helping to determine a patient’s diagnosis and possible treatment. During that, it relies on an enormous amount of data that the human brain wouldn’t be able to process. Artificial intelligence also protects human lives in criminology. It helps during investigations of human trafficking thanks to facial recognition tools, behavior prediction, and the ability to quickly process large clusters of information.
AI will also be used by firefighters in the future, even in the Czech Republic, where a research project is currently underway to create a digital voice assistant for the contact center of the Fire and Rescue Service.
A robot firefighter? Not quite
Czech startup Born Digital, which focuses on digitizing human conversation and develops voice and chat assistants armed with artificial intelligence, is one of the subjects involved in developing new voice technology to assist firefighters when their human operators are overloaded.
“For example, large-scale fires are a major strain on emergency services. We are developing a technology that can receive calls, obtain and evaluate important information and pass it on to the fire brigade,” describes Born Digital director Tomáš Malovec.
As the number of calls increases, the voicebot receives them and records what happened, where it happened, how many people are on the spot, and whether they are in danger or injured. Then he passes the obtained information to the intervening firefighters.
“Our current voicebot technologies are already at a very high level. But in this case, we have to go one level higher and minimize the error rate because real human lives are at stake. In the future, the solution will not help only during fires, but also during cases of various natural disasters,” says one of the Born Digital project leader Ondřej Ťupa.
During the process of creation, artificial intelligence has many things to learn. The solution has to be able to classify the object of fire, ask meaningful additional questions and respond adequately to the situation.
During the process of creation, artificial intelligence has many things to learn. The solution has to be able to classify the object of fire, ask meaningful additional questions and respond adequately to the situation. “A forest fire, a car explosion after an accident, or flames spreading through the apartment after a mishap in the kitchen are different situations and require different scenarios and additional questions,” explains Born Digital linguists Klára Vostřelová.
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Quickly and without misunderstandings
The Voice assistant already recognizes official Czech Republic addresses from the speech. The great advantage of artificial intelligence is its speed, with which it manages to check if the specified address exists. For example, if a caller from Brno reports a fire in Barunčina Street, the system quickly recognizes that there is no such street in the city, and asks another question regarding the address. On the contrary, for a caller from Prague, where Barunčina Street exists, the voicebot only makes sure with a confirmation question.
The speed of data verification is not the only advantage of involving artificial intelligence in the work of emergency operators. In addition to being able to handle several calls at the same time, the voicebot continuously assigns reports of the same event to each other and reduces duplicates. He is, therefore, able to constantly refine and update information for firefighters and other rescue services.
The whole project is financed within the grant program “Security Research Program of the Czech Republic 2015–2022“. On the research, Born Digital participates with the Technical University of Ostrava, Brno University of Technology, and SpeechTech and Phonexia companies.
Artificial intelligence vs. fire
The Czech digital voice assistant is unique, but there are more AI solutions to assist firefighters around the globe. In the USA, under the supervision of NASA, the Digital Assistant AUDREY (The Assistant for Understanding Data through Reasoning, Extraction, and sYnthesis) is also gaining shape. His task will be to help those firefighters who are already in action at the scene of the fire.
In the future, AUDREY should be able to obtain data from the immediate vicinity of intervening firefighters, compare them from its extensive database of knowledge about fires and then advise firefighters on how to proceed with firefighting. AUDREY learns to work with data about temperature, the presence of gases, the flammability of various materials, and many other types of information. Together with an assistant from the Czech Republic, these two technologies equipped with artificial intelligence could be an unbeatable pair that will save a significant number of lives daily.