Japanese Company Creates Artificial Intelligence Air Conditioner

Category: Technology/Innovations

Listening

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. join forces with (someone/something) / dʒɔɪn fɔːrsəz wɪθ / (idiom) – to work together with someone or something to achieve a goal
    Example:

    The car company joined forces with a technology developer to make an artificial intelligence car.


  2. up-and-coming / ˌʌpændˈkʌmɪŋ / (adj) – likely to gain success
    Example:

    The company spent a lot of money on up-and-coming artificial intelligence technology, which is expected to become popular in the near future.


  3. rouse / raʊz / (v) – to wake someone up
    Example:

    This new computer-powered heating system can rouse employees who are beginning to fall asleep.


  4. stimulating / ˈstɪmjəˌleɪtɪŋ / (adj) – causing someone to be more active and attentive
    Example:

    Research shows that employees work better in offices with bright lights, which are stimulating.


  5. doze off / doʊz ɑːf / (phrasal) – to fall asleep unintentionally
    Example:

    I dozed off at my work desk because I got tired.


Article

Read the text below.

Japanese company Daikin Industries is currently developing an artificial intelligence (AI) air conditioning system.


Daikin recently joined forces with NEC Corporation, another Japanese tech giant, to create an air conditioning system that can wake people up when they start feeling sleepy. The two companies hope to offer the up-and-coming AI technology to businesses by 2020.


The new air conditioner will be integrating Daikin’s automatic temperature adjustment system. It will also be equipped with NEC’s facial recognition technology, which can determine if a person is beginning to feel sleepy.


Initially, Daikin and NEC conducted a research on the most effective way of fighting off sleepiness at work. The study established that a few minutes of cold temperature could rouse employees better than bright lights and stimulating scents. The two companies are convinced that this smart air conditioner can efficiently keep workers from dozing off, therefore improving businesses’ productivity.


Although the air conditioner presents promising features, some critics have expressed their doubts. Some commented that the technology might not work for employees who work long hours. Additionally, one research suggested that letting workers take a short nap is still the best way to keep employees highly productive.


Despite criticisms, Daikin said that it is committed to creating innovative products that will be useful to a lot of people. In fact, the company has produced several smart air conditioners in the past. For instance, in 2017, Daikin launched a range of air conditioning products that used the latest energy-saving technology. The company applied this technology in both its residential and commercial air conditioners.


Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Would you invest in Daikin’s AI air conditioner? Why or why not?

• In your opinion, what technology can Daikin create to address criticisms about the AI air conditioner? Explain.


Discussion B

• If you were to develop a technology that could improve work productivity, what would it be? Explain.

• What are the possible advantages and disadvantages of this technology? Discuss.