In the Sci-Fi thriller I Robot, Will Smith plays a cop distrustful of robots, and when an A.I. takes over the world, it’s up to him to stop it.
Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, one of the first movies about AI, which premiered in 1968, warned about what could happen if any artificially intelligent computer gained too much power. In the end, the ship’s computer, HAL, decides to kill all members of the crew after a glitch.
In Her, Joaquin Phoenix’s character Theodore develops a relationship with Samantha, played by Scarlett Johansson, an artificially intelligent virtual assistant with a soothing female voice. When Theodore learns that Samantha is simultaneously in love with hundreds of people, Samantha insists that this only strengthened her love for Theodore.
There are twists and turns everywhere AI and robots take us, but not everything is black and white. Even as critics proclaim the death of millions of jobs given how fast robotics and AI are advancing, like the latest flurry over ChatGPT and other generative AI programs, there is a hybrid truth emerging – and that is “co-botting.” Co-botting refers to manufacturing robots on factory floors that work alongside people to build things in a safer, more efficient, more profitable, and for many, a more enjoyable environment.
Human-Centered AI (HCAI) is trending as it paints what is probably the most realistic picture of the interaction between humans and machines, including in industrial settings, by combining AI automation with productive user experiences.
“The HCAI framework bridges the gap between ethics and practice with specific recommendations for making successful technologies that augment, amplify, empower, and enhance humans rather than replace them,” writes Ben Schneiderman, whose book on Human-Centered AI was published by Oxford University Press in February 2022. “This shift in thinking could lead to a safer, more understandable, and more manageable future. An HCAI approach will reduce the prospects for out-of-control technologies, calm fears of robot-driven unemployment, and diminish the threats to privacy and security. A human-centered future will also support human values, respect human dignity, and raise appreciation for the human capacities that bring creative discoveries and inventions.”
Artificial Intelligence and Industry 4.0
Impressive results from Artificial Intelligence (AI) have triggered intense reactions and fears but have also stimulated massive investments in manufacturing, IT, medical, public safety, military, and other innovations, and with the increasing adoption of Industry 4.0 digital transformation, every leading business is exploring how to generate better outcomes and retaining their relevance.
With the combination of more powerful and affordable devices, bigger and better networks, more pervasive access through cellular, WiFi, mesh, and innovation at the edge, the potential of Industry 4.0 is unlimited. Our customers in the manufacturing world are instrumenting their factories to improve safety, yield, and profitability, doing so with a mix that connects not only machines but brings the best out of humans and machines.
Historically, manufacturing has always been on the slower side when it comes to adopting technology, but the potential of Industry 4.0 has changed that notion. The success of factory automation by pioneering companies is driving every industrial and manufacturing company to invest and re-invest in robotics and Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
Digitized shop floors that continuously collect and share data through connected machines, devices, and production systems are growing around the world, and with networking and cloud, large industrials are now aware of productivity gains, especially in distributed footprints.
Now, these companies can support hundreds of locations remotely, lowering costs for field service and extending the life of their equipment while also improving their understanding of where improvements can be made.
Companies like ServiceNow have completely transformed how manufacturers connect, control, and optimize expensive equipment and robotics on production lines.
Field service describes situations in which authorized technicians perform essential tasks at specific locations. Often, these technicians visit customer-owned properties to install, repair, maintain, or remove systems or equipment, and the associated truck rolls are expensive and often inefficient. This is where human and machine communications and collaboration are making a huge difference.
To ensure the longest-possible operational life of all offsite equipment, technicians perform maintenance tasks and audits while in the field. When a machine can collect and send data into a software platform that analyzes that data in real-time, then alerts the right person or group, problems can be detected proactively and remediated with zero downtime.
Popular collaboration applications, for example, Microsoft Teams, are being adapted beyond typical virtual meetings and are being used to immediately organize the right experts to assist in resolving problems in real time when machines signal risk.
Many businesses employ hundreds of field technicians to handle growing demand, especially when it comes to expensive and complex equipment, which keeps manufacturing lines going in the appliance, automotive, consumer electronics, and other industries.
The challenge is to remain competitive with responsive service while also controlling costs. When more tasks can be automated, fewer technicians are needed, giving them more time to work on strategic tasks. When technicians are able to connect in real time with a product expert using a collaboration platform, they can provide faster and more successful remediation on the first visit.
The combination of people, experience, knowledge management systems, easy to use collaboration tools that can bring in an expert using text messaging, voice sessions, and live video and screen sharing is what will define modern industrial operations and lead to happier customers and greater profitability.
Contact us to find out how you can get uplevel connectivity and collaboration with AI – you can schedule a meeting here. Smart factories are even smarter when machines and people work together, whether in the factory or virtually, remotely assisted by experts.