By Martin Cloake
In my line of work, I talk to a lot of manufacturers. While I have a background in manufacturing, I still learn from each site I visit. Every company is different, but there are some common misconceptions and questions about artificial intelligence and how it can affect the manufacturing industry.
If you’ve ever been to a corporate team-building session, or even a summer camp as a kid, you might remember an exercise called “Two Truths and a Lie.” In this one, here are the most common myths about artificial intelligence… and one truth.
- AI is a thing.
This is a tough one to understand for those of use who remember AI as a futuristic concept, usually featuring demonic robots. AI is not a thing. It’s a theory or concept that, when developed, can help us do things. On its own, AI is just an idea. It needs human beings to develop it, guide it, and use it.
- AI will replace human beings.
It’s a human nature to protect our own relevancy, not to mention our jobs. However, even the most advanced AI technology can never replace the complexity of the human mind. Only a human being can show empathy, humour, or encouragement. A robot can never be a critical or creative thinker. The most AI can do is help us do some aspects of our jobs faster and better.
- AI is complicated and hard to use.
The best technology is something that integrates intuitively and seamlessly into our lives. Look at the app Waze, for example. While the technology is complicated and took countless hours of coding, the user experience is so easy my six-year-old can use it. You don’t need a machine learning expert to use AI – it should easily integrate into existing systems.
- AI + humans is the future.
If you made it this far, you know this is one is the truth. With AI, the capacity of human beings is endless. AI tools allow us to do our work more efficiently, make better decisions, and use data to complement our natural talents.
This is what we call Augmented Management. Augmented Management is the intersection of technology and human potential. It’s where we’re headed, not only in manufacturing but in the world as a whole. Augmented Management has slowly changed the way to do even the simplest things – cooking (Joule), dating (Tinder), watching TV (Netflix), driving (GPS), talking to friends (Facebook), or biking (Strava). None of those apps, based on AI technology, are useful without human interaction.
Forward-thinking businesses are using this kind of technology to harness the potential of their teams. And it means only good things for the future of manufacturing.
About the author
Martin Cloake is Raven’s CEO and Co-Founder. With a background in manufacturing, he also holds a degree in mechanical engineering and business from McGill University. In 2017, he won Ottawa Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 award.