In the world of manufacturing, there is still an ongoing debate about the intersection between industry and technology. While AI is considered more helpful in so many different sectors. The fact is that factories are being increasingly perceived as having the upper hand. Factories are often considered traditional spaces, but how are they demonstrating resilience in the face of artificial intelligence?
Modern manufacturing facilities have the ability to cater to diverse product lines. This means that the sheer volume of variability on offer is more in tune with human approaches to working.
Practices like metal fabrication benefit far more from human interaction as they can swiftly accommodate sudden changes or transitions between tasks. AI is a very useful tool; however, in the current environment, it is not as versatile or adaptable as humans.
Problem-solving capabilities in manufacturing
There are a number of problems in the factory environment that require real-time problem-solving. AI is incredibly useful as long as it has proficiency with certain tasks. However, manufacturing processes can struggle with AI at its core. This is due to the unpredictability or complexity that is rife within manufacturing processes.
Human expertise is perfect for addressing unforeseen problems with the naked eye. This means humans can then optimize their workflow accordingly or make swift judgments to increase efficiency. Problem-solving with AI is only as useful based on the information it has to draw from. This means it can be a very limited set of solutions from the perspective of any computerized system.
AI exists in factories to optimize certain processes, but AI is not necessarily the groundbreaking tool for creativity that many proclaim it to be. Humans can benefit from AI in terms of creativity by using it as inspiration, but humans still need to have that analytical eye that can create groundbreaking ideas or envision products to fuel continuous improvement.
AI’s weakness is that it can draw on the past rather than use previous information to predict the future. We can always look to what is on the horizon and potentially create a new way of working.
If there’s one benefit of human input in any setting, it’s the use of experience at play. In a factory setting, the older generations have deeper knowledge and a sixth sense with regard to certain equipment to ensure that it functions optimally, which contributes to efficiency in the factory.
AI needs to be “plugged in” to the existing framework, which means there is a longer period of adaptation and can result in downtime as the current factory tools and the technology learn to “speak each other’s language.”
There is a narrative that factories are losing the battle in terms of modern sophisticated equipment. AI can certainly bring about automation and efficiency, but we can all underestimate the impact of human input.
AI will slowly coalesce into an effective symbiotic relationship between man and machine. But as the fourth Industrial Revolution unfolds, factories are serving as a reminder that despite the onset of computers and technology in general, serving to make life easier, human input is invaluable.