Technology Vs. Human: Diamond Insiders Weigh In on AI Grading
Here’s what others in the industry have to say about prevailing AI grading myths.
David Block, CEO, Sarine Technologies:
“The big difference, in the end, is the consistency. The system will do the same action again and again, whereas human beings… maybe a mood impacts their ability to grade. The technology basically mimics the methodology of grading done by people, but in a much more accurate and consistent way. In fact, I’m so sure about that, I’m willing to challenge any entity or any grading lab to compare manual grading to technology. There is a dramatic difference in terms of consistency. Manual grading is [only] as consistent as the training of the graders, and the capabilities and processes within the lab.”
Andrew Rickard, Vice-President of Operations, RDI Diamonds:
“Feedback from our customers shows there were frustrations with the current state of grading, with the inconsistencies. The [lack of consistency] creates confusion. There is a need and a desire, not just from the consumer, but also from retail partners to say, ‘we want a more consistent product; we want a situation in which you send us a diamond, and the diamond matches the document.’ In a lot of circumstances today, that’s not happening. That’s really why we expanded into AI, and we see a bright future. We’re seeing tremendous growth with our brand as a result of the consistency we are able to deliver.”
TECHNOLOGY VS. HUMAN GRADING
David Block: “When you talk about technology, you can now start including evaluation of [different] parameters, which becomes very, very difficult doing by a manual process, because it becomes time consuming and very complex when you do it manually. With technology, you can start adding additional parameters and really narrow down what…you are looking for.”
Nitin Kumar Dhadda, Chief Manufacturing Officer, KGK:
“The manufacturing industry needs something which is automated, and if you see the evolution, quality processes have been improved with AI grading. It improves your decision-making power. So, I see wider benefits coming from technology in the future.”
Andrew Rickard: “I don’t think the consumer cares if a diamond was graded by a human or a machine. I think the consumer cares that it’s accurate, and that the document matches the product. At the end of the day, [AI] can provide more consistency, so I think consumers are going to buy in to that story. We are seeing it happen.”
David Block: “I think the biggest revolution of automated grading is the ability to transfer that technology closer to the source and [make] it dramatically more efficient, both in terms of cost, and in terms of cycle time. Later this year, we will start seeing technology placed at the end of the manufacturing cycle, where today there are manual grading departments. At that point, you will be able to scan the diamonds for the large majority of the grading parameters and know the results without having to send them for grading. That will save cycle times that today are one to one-and-a-half months, sometimes longer, because of shipping. It will save on insurance costs.”
Nitin Kumar Dhadda: “There are around 96 steps a single diamond has to move through to become a finished product. If there’s an AI that can determine [things like] is this diamond an SI1 [clarity] or an SI2 [clarity], and that transformation happens within the factory, the decision level, right from the start of planning a stone, becomes more accurate.”
WILL AI USURP HUMAN JOBS?
David Block: “We see the human role [operating] alongside the AI in the grading space. In the near future, you will see an enhancement of skills when people that have low-level, repetitive jobs [are] introduced to technology that will enhance their skills. As they become computer literate, they will start working on advanced technology. I see a change in jobs: graders shifting to be technology graders, not necessarily
using their own grading skills but operating and interpreting the technology. I think there will be a lot more people involved in the grading space in five years, so I see the grading space growing due to technology, rather than shrinking.”
Nitin Kumar Dhadda: “If we lose a person in the grading department due to technology, we’re going to increase a person in the planning [division]. Losing manpower won’t be an issue as far as manufacturing is concerned. It will just be a shift of process… from grading to planning.”
Andrew Rickard: “I don’t think it’s going to be a complete abandonment of utilization of people. There’s an expertise there, there’s an intelligence there. I think certain aspects of grading can be done with technology, which will make it faster and more consistent, but I don’t think humans completely go away. I think it’s going to be a balancing act, honestly.”
These comments were shared by participants of Rapaport’s
‘Automated Grading and the AI Revolution’ webinar on May 17, 2022.