AI Extends Human Capabilities and Helps People to Achieve More

November 27, 2018

Of the six technologies that will drive the next innovation wave, artificial intelligence (AI) is probably the most important one. (The other five: The Internet of Things (IoT), advanced robotics, blockchain, new materials and autonomous devices).

Robotic process automation is one of the broad categories encompassed by AI, and the topic has created a lot of conversation around the influence of robots on the way we work – and the jobs that will be created (or disappear) as a result of this innovation.

Research is proving that industrial robots have been a substantial driver of labor productivity and economic growth without putting jobs at risk. Just one example: Working with German carmaker BMW, scientists at the MIT found that robot-human teams were about 85 percent more productive than either alone.

So rather than debate human OR machine, let’s talk about human PLUS machine – what that interaction looks like, and what AI means for manufacturers around the world.

Which Path Will You Take?

We’re at a pivotal point in our acceptance and use of AI.  

I agree with authors Paul Daugherty and H. James Wilson. In their book, Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI, they make a compelling case for AI extending and augmenting (not replacing) human capabilities and empowering human achievement.

Those who forge ahead and smartly deploy technologies like AI can embrace its unique ability to sense, comprehend and learn to achieve breakthrough improvements in performance.  Adoption leaders will be capable of game-changing innovation.

Beyond The Linear

Here’s why this next wave is so important to companies. Each evolution of manufacturing has focused on automation improvements that enhance a workflow or process that’s linear, sequential, repeatable, measurable and optimized. 

If you’re looking to leverage AI and advanced robotics for incremental progress, you may be missing out on a lot of potential improvements. That’s because technologies like AI allow us to envision processes as fluid and adaptive – moving beyond assembly lines to flexible teams of robots and humans able to continuously adapt to new data and new market conditions to deliver new results.

Leave Your Comfort Zone

There will always be a place for incremental change. This is a familiar space.

Applying AI and advanced robotics for significant change can feel uncomfortable because this path requires different ways of thinking in territory that is new and evolving for most people.

At its core, AI allows us to find different ways to relieve people from tedious, repetitive tasks and free them to do more complex work – exercising judgment, making decisions, applying creativity and innovating.

It’s time to remove the veil from AI, automation and robots, and re-imagine what’s possible.

Related Articles

Editor’s Pick: Featured Article

Weidmüller’s u-control 2000: The Automation Controller

Weidmüller’s u-control 2000: The Automation Controller

Weidmüller’s scalable engineering software, u-control 2000, adapts individually to your requirements. And, the u-control is powerful, compact and fully compatible with Weidmüller’s I/O system u-remote. This article looks at what makes u-control the heart of your automation.

Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) are one of the main components of any automated system. A typical control system has inputs, outputs, controllers (i.e., PLCs), and some type of human interaction with the system, a human machine interface (HMI), for example.

Read More

Latest Articles

  • Ensure Food Safety With Clean Compressed Air

    June 11, 2024 Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP), which fall under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), stipulate the cleanability and cross-contamination standards that food processing plants must follow, ensuring food is safe for consumption. One easy way to meet cGMP and FSMA guidelines is to upgrade your pneumatic systems with proper air filtration systems…. Read More…

  • SmartD Challenges the Status Quo of Motor Control with Clean Power VFDs

    June 11, 2024 By Krystie Johnston SmartD’s Clean Power variable frequency drive is the next generation of motor control products. Using revolutionary power electronics and modulation algorithms, it maximizes energy efficiency and produces a clean sine wave. SmartD technologies is a Canadian startup that has developed what they say is one of the world’s first… Read More…