I participated recently in several debates discussing what people would be doing if they were unable to become professionally incorporated in modern firms with integrated 4.0 industry systems.
I often heard views that these “useless“ people will obtain social security benefits, minimum wages, or will care for the “competent“ ones. Therefore, if you were lucky to belong to the community of experts in computers, robotics and automation and held the position of an enterprise manager, then such “useless“ people will wash your car, mow your garden, take care of your children and your dog, etc. This means that two classes will be formed – a certain type of caste system – the rich who have enough money but not enough time, and the poor who have a lot of time but much less money. This is already a reality in some countries, for eg., in India, where such people live in hovels and slums, separated from the rest of the world by high fences and by the police. I detest this and absolutely disagree with it.
When I want experts to tell me what actually Industry 4.0 is, they begin to explain how things and people will be mutually interconnected. If I object to them that many things are already interconnected today, they speak about artificial intelligence, enormous amounts of data continually downloaded and administered in our smartphones and tablets and showing an extended reality, co-operation of robots and human beings or products of 3D printing. It is quite obvious that the steam engine or line production was great progress for mankind and that the internet and digitalisation gradually interconnected and accelerated all realms. A characteristic of the industrial revolution was technology, which dramatically raised the productivity of labour, many jobs were lost and people transferred into other sectors of labour – from agriculture, over industry to services. But all was, still is, and will be a question of mutual co-operation and partnership. For this reason we need empathy, heart, respect and confidence. This a new oncoming phase of development and here we will be searching for a higher sense of our activity, finding our new way and traces we would like to leave. And this is the essence of our revolutionary behaviour.
This article appeared in www.maschinenmarkt.international.