Automation is the process of performing tasks with reduced human assistance using technology. Goods are produced automatically through the use of robots, control systems, and other appliances with minimal direct human operation.
The growing popularity of robotic automation across various sectors might continue over the next few years, as businesses take advantage of the many benefits it offers.
While automation can lead to increase labor productivity, as fewer workers are needed to produce the same number of manufactured goods, there’s a perception that it also leads to job displacement in traditional areas of work.
I recently had a chat with Akinbo Akin-Olugbade, M.D of Kawai Technologies, on the Tech Trends show where he shared his insights on bridging the skills gap left by automation and other disruptive technologies of our time.
CFA: Akinbo, welcome to Tech trends.
Akinbo: Hi, CFA. I’m glad to be here.
CFA: When automation is talked about what should come to the average person’s mind?
Akinbo: To the average person, you should be thinking about how things get done automatically, either by computer software, or by some sort of tech, either in the home, office, and public spaces as well.
CFA: Okay. What are some of the use cases of automation that are available now and what we expect to see in the coming days?
I think we have to break that down first into what we expect to see abroad. And then what do we expect to see in Nigeria, because there’s a little lag for our own local market. But all in all, you can even simplify it by looking at simple things like elevators and escalators.
Those are early examples of automation. Before, you had to climb the stairs at the train station and airport, but today, you just step on a machine and it takes you where you need to go.
Jump forward to 100 years or so where we’re now talking about robots for manufacturing and putting things together; talking about injection molding for making plastics, instead of carving or assembling with rivets and things of that nature.
CFA: We’re in the era of automation. Are there disadvantages of technologies like this?
Akinbo: Yes. If you’re relying on computers to get things done to get the job done, the disadvantage is that you are centralizing control. If a mistake is made in the programming, or in the architecture, then that mistake is magnified.
Think of a factory floor, where you have different people performing different tasks. If one person makes a mistake, it will be fairly quickly realized. It’s simply a matter of getting that person off the project production line, and either replacing the person or having that person correct their error.
If a computer or system is used in, for instance, a beer factory, where the process is automated and a mistake is made, it might not be caught very quickly, thereby ruining the entire production line for that period.
So, I think over-centralization is one definite downside of automation.
You can watch the full interview here.