Is the installation and execution of work and production processes that occur without direct, human intervention.

One criticism often voiced is that this makes human labor superfluous. In the past, ideas – even horror scenarios – were sketched out of the self-organized, fully automated and human-empty factory. Studies and market surveys today indicate that Industries 4.0 will be as people-less “as the office is paperless,” as is ironically noted.

So humans are still needed: After all, smart machines are superior to us when it comes to computing power. Or when we want to implement activities that requires strength. They outperform us when it comes to implementing routines up to 24 hours a day – without grumbling or taking a vacation.

Automated processes do not replace humans – they support us. For companies, given the shortage of skilled workers, automating routines is necessary to keep operations running. Credits: Shutterstock

However, they lack the human brain: machines lack the connection between computing power and observable actions, they lack self-awareness and self-motivation.

But one thing is clear: Even if machines will not replace us entirely, our work is changing. It is becoming more digital, more multidisciplinary, and there is a shift to a higher skill set. Likewise, digitalization and technological development are giving rise to new business models for which companies need employees with different skills than before.

Automation also helps companies to replace unattractive jobs that are no longer in demand on the labor market. After all, digitization and technological development are also making jobs more attractive again: for example, it is almost impossible to get applicants for a janitorial job. Today’s facility managers, however, are technicians who help companies operate a building in the most energy-efficient and resource-saving way possible. This makes these jobs exciting and thus more attractive again.

Anja Herberth
Author: Anja Herberth

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