When will advanced technology make people obsolete?

Industry 4.0. - AI as our colleague of tomorrow

The term Industry 4.0 is now ubiquitous and the industrial revolution is in full swing. With Industry 4.0. Not only are production processes and production lines changing, but also the role of people. The entire world of work is changing and we are continually confronted with new challenges. Exponential technologies such as artificial intelligence, advanced robotics and cognitive automation, advanced analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) are becoming daily companions in everyday work.

There is no doubt that automation and AI will change the future of work in the manufacturing industry. But contrary to some predictions, the technology will very likely create more jobs than make it obsolete.

The new role of humans

Modern production in the sense of Industry 4.0 is digital and automated, but it cannot do without us humans. But what will jobs look like in the digital age, which skills will become “must-haves” and which training programs will help us to develop these skills?

Both managers and workers must create a work environment where advanced technology and digital skills are combined with unique human skills to achieve the highest levels of productivity. The fact is: the ability to continuously adapt and further develop is increasingly becoming the most important competitive factor for the manufacturing industry and employees alike.

Put people first

The role of employees in smart factories is changing - work processes and content are evolving. Employees have the opportunity for more self-development and personal responsibility. Flexible working time models create more time for continuous training. Our strengths lie in quickly detecting sensory gaps, exceptional situations and complex relationships, analyzing them with support and making qualified decisions based on them. Although the digital transformation is changing the way we work, people will continue to be the focus of production, but will act more as decision-makers.

As Deloitte's Global Human Capital Trends 2018 report shows, leading organizations are working hard to rethink work architecture, retrain employees, and transform the organization to use technology to transform the business. The overriding goal is not only to eliminate routine tasks and reduce costs, but also to create added value for customers and meaningful work for employees.

Work Skills 4.0

Soft skills are in demand and decide the digital future. A recent study by the World Economic Forum found that human skills such as critical thinking, creativity, and leadership are among the top 10 skills for the next decade. Learning these skills will therefore be essential, because “being human” cannot be automated. Companies therefore need employees who can demonstrate both these skills and the necessary digital skills to find their way around an automated work environment.

HR departments in particular have to jump on the bandwagon and change their recruiting process. Recruiting solely on the basis of specialist skills will in future no longer be sufficient to find the best staff.

Deloitte digital impulse!

Monthly trends from marketing, sales & service

Use of the digital toolbox

With the trend towards automation, robotics and artificial intelligence, manufacturing workers increasingly rely on digital tools to do their jobs effectively. As the study Global Human Capital Trends 2018 shows, tools such as collaboration platforms, work-based social media and instant messaging can increasingly improve the communication that is a prerequisite for higher productivity.