WASHINGTON — Artificial Intelligence for good is the subject of a new exhibit at the Embassy of Sweden in Washington, showing how Swedish companies and organizations are using AI for a more open society, a healthier world, and a greener planet.

Ambassador Urban Ahlin told an embassy reception that Sweden’s broad collaboration across industry, academia and government makes it a leader in applying AI in public-interest areas, such as clean tech, social sciences, medical research, and greener food supply chains. That includes tracking the mood and health of cows.

Fitbit for cows

It is technology developed by DeLaval, a producer of dairy and farming machinery. The firm’s Market Solution Manager in North America Joaquin Azocar says the small wearable device the size of an earring fits in a cow’s ear and tracks the animal’s movements 24/7, much like a Fitbit.

The ear-mounted tags send out signals to receivers across the farm. DeLaval’s artificial intelligence system analyzes the data and looks for correlations in patterns, trends, and deviations in the animals’ activities, to predict if a cow is sick, in heat, or not eating well.

As a trained veterinarian, Azocar says dairy farmers being alerted sooner to changes in their animals’ behavior means they can provide treatment earlier which translates to less recovery time.

AI helping in childbirth

There are also advances in human health. The developing Pelvic Floor AI project is an AI-based solution to identify high-risk cases of pelvic floor injury and facilitate timely interventions to prevent and limit harm.

It was developed by a team of gynecologists and women’s health care professionals from Sweden’s Sahlgrenska University Hospital to help the nearly 20% of women who experience injury to their pelvic floor during childbirth.

The exhibition “is a great way to showcase the many ways AI is being adapted and used, in medicine and in many other areas,” said exhibition attendee Jesica Lindgren, general counsel for international consulting firm BlueStar Strategies. “It’s important to know how AI is evolving and affecting our everyday life.”

Green solutions using AI

The exhibition includes examples of what AI can do about climate change, including rising sea levels and declining biodiversity.

AirForestry is developing technology “for precise forestry that will select and harvest trees fully autonomously.” The firm says that “harvesting the right trees in the right place could significantly improve overall carbon sequestration and resilience.”

AI & the defense industry

Outlining the development of artificial intelligence for the defense industry, the exhibit admits that “can be controversial.”

“There are exciting possibilities to use AI to solve problems that cannot be solved using traditional algorithms due to their complexity and limitations in computational power,” the exhibit states. “But it requires thorough consideration of how AI should and shouldn’t be utilized. Proactively engaging in AI research is necessary to understand the technology’s capabilities and limitations and help shape its ethical standards.”

AI and privacy

Exhibition participant Quentin Black is an engineer with Axis Communications, an industry leader in video surveillance. He said the project came out of GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation; an EU policy that provides privacy to citizens who are out in public whose image could be picked up on video surveillance cameras.

The regulations surrounding privacy are stricter in Europe than they are in the U.S., Black said.

“In the U.S. the public doesn’t really have an expectation of privacy; there’s cameras everywhere. In Europe, it’s different.” That regulation inspired Axis Communications to develop AI that provides privacy, he explained.

Black pointed to a large monitor divided into four windows, to show how AI is being used to set up four different filters to provide privacy.

The Axis Live Privacy Shield remotely monitors activities both indoors and outdoors while safeguarding privacy in real time. The technology is downloadable and free, to provide privacy to people and/or environments, using a variety of filters.

In the monitor on display in the exhibition, Black explained the four quadrants. The upper right window of the monitor displays privacy with a full color block out of all humans, using AI to distinguish the difference between the people and the environment.

The upper left window provides privacy to the person’s head. The bottom left corner provides pixelization, or a mosaic, of the person’s entire/whole body, and the immediate environment surrounding the person. And the bottom right corner shows blockage of the environment, so “an inverse of the personal privacy,” Black explained.

“So, if it was a top secret facility, or you want to see the people walking up to your door without a view of your neighbor’s house, this is where this can this be applied.”

Tip of the iceberg

“I think that AI is on everybody’s thoughts, and what I appreciate about the House of Sweden’s approach in this exhibition is highlighting a thoughtful, scientific, business-oriented and human-oriented perspective on AI in society today,” said Molly Steenson, President and CEO of the American Swedish Institute.

Though AI and machine learning have been around since the 1950s, she says it is only now that we are seeing “the contemporary upswing and acceleration of AI, especially generative AI in things like large language models.”

“So, while large companies and tech companies might want us to speed up and believe that it is only scary or it is only good, I think it’s a lot more nuanced than that,” she said.