After all, what is artificial intelligence and why is it important for our mining operations?

3/14/20232 min read

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a branch of computer science that focuses on developing systems that mimic human intelligence and learning capabilities. AI involves creating algorithms and mathematical models that enable a system to "learn" from examples, recognize patterns, make decisions, and even "think" autonomously. These systems are trained with a large volume of data (and mining generates a lot, doesn’t it?) and then apply these models to perform specific tasks, identify patterns, and make decisions.

Despite differing views on the concept of artificial intelligence, there is a common thread among them: the use of algorithms and computational techniques to simulate or perform tasks that require human intelligence. All concepts involve the use of advanced computing technologies such as artificial neural networks, machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, among others, to perform tasks autonomously or semi-autonomously. Additionally, all concepts recognize the importance of developing intelligent systems capable of learning and adapting to new situations based on data and feedback from the environment.

There are several different approaches to implementing AI systems, including supervised learning, unsupervised learning, reinforcement learning, and artificial neural networks. In supervised learning, systems are trained with a labeled dataset, where each example is accompanied by a label indicating the correct response. The goal of the system is then to learn to map these examples to their correct responses so that it can make accurate predictions on new data.

In unsupervised learning, the system is trained with an unlabeled dataset, without information about the correct response. The goal is to find hidden patterns or structures in the data that can be used to categorize it or make predictions. In reinforcement learning, the system learns through trial and error, receiving rewards or penalties for its actions and adjusting its decisions to maximize the reward.

Artificial neural networks are a particularly powerful approach to AI, inspired by the functioning of the human brain. They consist of layers of artificial neurons that communicate with each other, passing information back and forth through the network. Each neuron in an artificial neural network is a small processing unit that makes decisions based on its input, and the decisions are propagated through the network until a final response is produced.

AI has many practical applications, including speech recognition, image and video processing, data analysis, process automation, and robotics. In recent years, AI has been increasingly used in the industry to optimize operations, improve efficiency and safety, and reduce environmental impacts. Here at Beyond Mining, we can see how to apply these techniques in our mining world, with that “boots-on-the-ground” approach, and for this, we created GAIA (and we are very proud of this name). GAIA can, for example, optimize rock fragmentation during blasting or increase the metallurgical recovery of a flotation column. The benefits and application examples span the entire production chain and are numerous.

AI is essential to help us handle this large amount of data and evolve our mining operations! There’s always a corner in the mine that can benefit from AI. What do you think?

Let's embrace mining!