The German industrial behemoth Siemens wants robotics to augment human production, rather than replace it.
To that end, they have come up with a hybrid solution that will theoretically bring out the best of both artificial and biological workers, and it all starts at the management level. An A.I. “reasoner” essentially serves the function of a factory boss, analyzing the capability of both its meat and steel employees to organize tasks to the greatest strengths of each.
The Reasoner will understand both the task at hand, and the tools available for completion. It would know the finest details of the machines available for producing parts, and likewise that level of information for the available human workers. Everything from hydraulic weight capacities and carrying speeds, to whether someone is right-handed or color blind might have weight on the decision made, all to produce the optimal result. Siemens “Web of Things” Head Researcher Florian Michahelles believes that “when it comes to creativity and complex, intelligent tasks, [humans are] superior.”
McKinsey and Company’s Mehdi Miremadi strongly endorsed the approach, saying “I think the human-robot interaction is the name of the game. It will be the most important trend in the near- to mid-term…the next 5 to 15 years.”
It’s a hopeful sign in a world that is moving swiftly toward automation, and too often leaving mortal laborers behind in the process.
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