Should we replace humans by robots in an industrial setting?
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Written by admin

Feb 24, 2020

February 24, 2020

The decision between employing a human or a robot to undertake a certain task in an industrial environment might vary depending on the type and nature of the industry. For example, car manufacturing robots are extremely useful for a production line of identically designed cars, but they may fall short at producing tailor-made luxury cars. Similarly, textile robots may be very useful at producing a whole line of affordably jeans for the high-street market, but they are no replacement for the accuracy and precision provided by human hands; necessary for sewing custom-made gowns or bespoke handmade shoes. Hence, the nature of the industry greatly affects this decision.

In heavy, capital-intensive industries, such as mining, shipbuilding, steel, chemical manufacturing, machinery and car manufacturing, the following factors are the decision makers for the use of robots:

• cost – a machine can run for 24 hours replacing 4 human work-shifts
• automation – robots are not psychologically affected by doing the same task over and over again
• precision – a robot arm is more precise at aiming for targets invisible to the human eye, e.g. in surgical procedures
• safety – e.g. rescue robots used in disaster recovery and bomb dismantling robots
• health – e.g. digging machines used in mines and tunnels filled with high-toxin gases
• arithmetic – computers are able to compute at speeds far greater than humans

However, in industries driven by human interaction, it is imperative to consider the following factors:

• creativity – especially in design
• communication – human telephone operators are more capable of understanding the issue at hand
• empathy – particularly when considering the role of managers and supervisors
• quality – hand-made pralines are of greater quality than mass produced chocolate bars
• decision-making – a computer may be able to work out the best options available, but a skilled team of experts are required to make a final decision.

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