With technology becoming an integral part of business operations, several organizations are investing in robotics and automation to streamline their processes, create a safe work environment, and boost profitability. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in particular, are increasingly relying on automation to gain a significant increment in their process-and-workforce efficiency.
Using robotics in a limited set of environments is not new, with well-known brands adopting and implementing elements of robotics as part of their everyday manufacturing processes. However, with the field of robotics advancing rapidly, can the use of robotics be broader than manufacturing environments and can SMEs use them to achieve the same benefits at various scales?
The 10th quarterly SWMAS Manufacturing Barometer included a ‘special focus’ exploring the attitudes of UK SME businesses towards robots, revealing where manufacturers are successfully using automation, where they are not, and what we can learn from them. The headline finding is that just 16% of SME manufacturers are already using robots and, worryingly, more than 70% either do not plan to or do not know if they will utilise robots in their operations.
Losing a job can be stressful and demoralizing. Seeing your role replaced by automation is an additional stressor that more workers will have to contend with and worry about in the future. Robots are already replacing people in some jobs.
‘Intelligent automation’ is the automation of business processes using artificial intelligence (AI) and related technologies. It’s also known as intelligent process automation or hyperautomation. It has the potential to eliminate tasks for people and create new ones (good and bad), and there have been many attempts to quantify its impact on jobs.
A recent report from the World Economic Forum predicted that by 2025 the next wave of automation – turbocharged by the pandemic – will disrupt 85m jobs globally.
Artificial intelligence is approaching critical mass at the office, but humans are still likely to be necessary, according to a new study by executive development firm, Future Workplace, in partnership with Oracle.
Future Workplace found an 18% jump over last year in the number of workers who use AI in some facet of their jobs, representing more than half of those surveyed.
It’s easy to get an impression of the way robots are changing our daily lives: simply think of the self-serve pump next time you stop for gas. Such progress was hard to imagine when gas stations began. Now, even residents in rural counties in the U.S. have access to such robots. That’s just one example of how artificial intelligence affects the way we live.
Business owners are swamped with decisions, tasks, and responsibilities. With all these stressors, it is important to keep certain elements of the business as simple and streamlined as possible. This may include the use of technology, and even artificial intelligence to support operations. (Gloria Martinez - firstname.lastname@example.org)
The idea of robots as important elements in the business world may conjure a science-fiction view of the future.
In 2020, women represented roughly 47 percent of the US labor force. Furthermore, in 2019, women received the majority of graduate certificates, master’s degrees, and doctoral degrees from US institutions. A 2020 World Economic Forum report, however, found that women make up only 26 percent of data and AI positions in the workforce, while the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI’s 2021 (June 2021)
At PwC, we’ve been using AI to redesign our offices with optimal, socially distanced spacing and alternative uses for office space as we strategize our return to work. Yet, less often have I seen AI build and guide emotional support at companies. Thinking ahead to employees’ needs as many transition back to office life, it might go without saying, but there will be a massive opportunity to do so. (July 2021)
One kind of robot has endured for the last half-century: the hulking one-armed Goliaths that dominate industrial assembly lines. These industrial robots have been task-specific — built to spot weld, say, or add threads to the end of a pipe.
‘…In a Korn Ferry Institute study where 800 leaders shared their views on people’s place in the future of work, two-thirds of respondents said that technology will create greater value than people will...’ (30th July 2020)
Alarm over the rise of artificial intelligence tends to focus too much on some distant point in the future, when the world achieves Artificial General Intelligence. That is the moment when — as AI’s boosters dream — machines reach the ability to reason and perform at human or superhuman levels in most activities, including those that involve judgment, creativity and design. (Washington Post, Opinion by Daron Acemoglu 21 July 2021)