What does automation mean for your industry?

Posted on: Thursday, 29 August 2019.

Automakers are betting on the future of self-driving automobiles, and as they become more common, whole industries will need to evolve or perish in the process.

Schools of mining are no longer offering training for certain types of heavy machinery driving; the roles simply will not exist in the next 5-10 years. In logistics, many are predicting that in-cab long haul truck driving jobs will be administered remotely. Amazon is investing in drone and other automated delivery methods, limiting the need for delivery drivers and couriers.

According to Emerj, in 2016, GM spent $581 million to acquire self-driving car start-up, Cruise Automation. This year, Ford announced they would be investing $1 billion dollars in Argo AI, a robotics company founded by former Uber and Google leaders.

While automated vehicles are not common on our roads yet, the technology is getting there but is cost-prohibitive.

Even still, Neil Jacobstein, Chair of Artificial Intelligence & Robotics at Singularity University, suggests that while autonomous vehicles currently are not perfect, they are still better than humans (in terms of avoiding errors causing injury or death).

Semi-autonomous technologies are already in use with some newer model cars, such as driver assist, which will self-brake in the case of a potential collision.

However, the stage many ‘automated’ cars are at means human error still has to be accounted for. A recent explosion and collision involving a Tesla 3 which was using the assisted driving system raises questions about who’s at fault when there’s no one behind the wheel.

It’s also the legislation that hasn’t caught up, and that’s likely to take a while. Governments are still trying to understand and legislate the Internet, which has been publicly available since 1991.

Despite the potential hurdles, large manufacturing companies the likes of GE are also working toward integrating Machine Learning into their processes in order to maintain market dominance.

Smaller companies do not need to fall behind in the AI revolution, though. Elon Musk and the team at Y Combinator joined forces to create an open-source AI platform –OpenAI – to “ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity.”

In conclusion...

As machine learning and AI become part of daily life, our businesses, industries, and culture are going to shift dramatically. It’s the responsibility of all businesses, all people, stay aware of those changes, who’s driving them, and the motivation behind them, to prevent being blindsided or left behind.

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