-Vered Tomlak, Vecna Robotics
Last week leaders from various industries descended upon Boston for LiveWorx 2019, showcasing the newest disruptive technologies and discussing the unmasked potential of robotics and AI.
The glitz and glamour of robotic exhibits, virtual reality demos, and big-name speakers (two Games of Thrones Actors got in on the fun!) is a great way of keeping AI relevant and exciting. But sometimes this commotion blinds us to challenges our industry faces and hinders progress.
During his LiveWorx presentation, The Collective Workflow: The Benefits of Human and Robot Integration, Matt Cherewka laid out the main challenges facing the robotics industry and how to resolve them.
People fear robots. They are afraid robots will push them out of jobs and therefore fight their adoption. Truth be told, robots will take roles currently performed by humans. However, they will also create new ones – 2.3 million to be exact. These new roles will require a different set of skills, and it’s our industry’s responsibility to educate the public on these new skillsets. If we give the workforce the right tools to thrive in the modern economy, fear will subside.
The supply chain is being automated from production to last yard delivery. Companies require a diverse array of automation to succeed in the digital era. Our technologies need to work together because our customers need them to work together. This means building software and systems that interface with one another. The more seamlessly companies can integrate our technologies into their organizations, and with each other, the faster they will be adopted.
At times people get caught up in the allure of what robotics can be or rather what the movies have made them out to be, and we forget where the technology is at the current state in time. We are far from robots having original thoughts no matter what the latest episode of Black Mirror tells you. We have to remind ourselves – and the world – that there is still a lot of work left to do. If not, we create unattainable expectations for our customers and slow down innovation.
Every industry has its own set of challenges, and robotics is no exception. We’re lucky to be at the forefront of the next industrial revolution, but we need to recognize and overcome these challenges to continue our advancement.
LiveWorx is an annual event attended by 6,500 of the world’s digital leaders. This year’s conference featured speakers from Microsoft, Deloitte, PTC, and Rockwell Automation among many others. It also featured Game of Throne’s Theon GreyJoy and Robb Stark, because apparently a love of technology and a love of medieval fantasies go hand-in-hand. Their actual contribution to our digital transformation is still unknown.