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Catching up to AI

My Take | February 12, 2024 | By: Janet Preus

The development of artificial intelligence (AI) and its potential influence on virtually every aspect of our lives is now upon us. Exactly what it can do is understood by relatively few. What it will do in the near future and beyond is understood on a continuum with optimists on one end and those sounding the alarm on the other. 

Given the need for regular folks to try to absorb a wealth of complicated technical information that’s emerged in a unnervingly short period of time, most of us are wobbling somewhere in between, just trying to wrap our heads around the possibilities. 

Of most concern, to my mind, is how (once again) technology has leaped ahead of the need for regulation and now we are forced to try to catch up. That AI is capable of performing wonders and accomplishing things we are just now imagining is not in doubt. But what do we want it to do, and, perhaps more importantly, what do we not want it to do? One might also ask, what do we actually need now, and what are we capable of making optimum use of now and in the near future? Dr. Seshadri Ramkumar’s feature, “AI’s promise for the textile industry,” addresses that question and urges all of us to be part of the conversation. 

AI is, of course, already finding its way into the textile industry. Supply chain and inventory issues, smart robotics in manufacturing, market research and evaluation are among the “ins” for early adopters. At some point, as the advantages of using AI’s capabilities become more evident, there will be more industry participants. 

It seems reasonable to expect implementation to be incremental, as AI and other existing technologies meet, and  as we learn and accept AI’s contribution to efficiencies and evaluative capabilities. We also need to simply gain an understanding of the nature of AI/human partnerships. It’s not so much that AI has to develop more and faster, it’s AI’s willingness to wait for us to catch up. 

Janet Preus is senior editor of Textile Technology Source. She can be reached at

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