Robots, A.I., and Automation: Will Technology Destroy Businesses?
Mujin, a start-up out of Tokyo University, has developed robot technology that can fully automate warehouses and fulfillment centers.
Customers that use the system have the world’s first fully automated e-commerce warehouse in China equipped with Mujin robots.
The Japanese start-up wants to help bring the technology to the United States.
In this blog, we will look at some of the ways robotics, AI, and automation have impacted businesses.
Will The Robots Just Do All Heavy Lifting?
Manufacturing is one field that robots have probably integrated the most already. In 2020, it was estimated that over 80% of industrial robot installations were for manufacturing companies alone.
Tesla’s Gigafactory for example uses autonomous indoor vehicles to deliver goods from workstation to workstation without the need of humans.
In industries like healthcare, robots have been a lot slower to be integrated. A minor holdup is the use of robotics in healthcare needs to be approved by the FDA. The biggest concern is most tasks that nurses, janitors, or hospital administrators perform are too complicated or open-ended or require a human touch.
However, some surgeons have found a use for robotics. The CARLO robot arm can cut bone with a laser. Intuitive’s da Vinci Surgical System allows the surgeon to make hyper-precise incisions and reach difficult places. This robotic surgery system offers a minimally invasive alternative to open surgery.
The robots of today are not at the point of replacing humans full-time. These collaborative robots, or “cobots”, don’t replace workers – instead, they cooperate with workers by helping them with difficult or repetitive tasks.
Right now, programming a machine to do everything is simply too time-consuming, and expensive. Businesses would still rather go with the real-life person approach when filling their staff.
It is important for businesses to decide how formulaic they need the business to be: can they increase the workload of their staff, or is it easier to upgrade the conveyor belt and have the IT team keep up with maintenance?
Is Artificial Intelligence an Asset or a Liability?
With A.I., it is expected that there will be a boost of efficiency for a lot of businesses. One of the best advantages is being able to process and interpret huge amounts of data at the same time. Businesses can make critical decisions and act at a faster rate.
A.I. machines only sleep when they are told, so there will always be 24-hour support for the customer. AI-based chatbots can provide shorter response times and better interactions with customers.
The fewer people have access to sensitive data, the more secure it is, and AI can provide better security options. Meanwhile, it can also detect fraud attempts.
Even though AI software may have certain loopholes, overall, it can provide additional security precautions to prevent a data breach.
A big reason why these systems haven’t been fully implemented yet is that they are expensive. AI should be developed custom to business needs, and software development is costly.
Like with robotics, businesses need to combine the cost of AI with the cost of installation, maintenance, and repair.
Artificial intelligence is a double-edged sword that can be used as a practical solution or as a weapon by hackers.
Cyberattacks using AI technology are so sophisticated and unusual that traditional security tools can fail to recognize and eliminate these threats.
AI phishing attacks use chatbots to exchange emails and make the victim think a real person is communicating with them. AI-powered malware can use deep learning to bypass facial recognition.
Deepfake technology can seamlessly stitch anyone in the world into a video or photo they never actually participated in, or by creating people that don’t even exist.
Is the Future of Business Just Pressing a Couple Buttons?
With the advancements of robotics and AI, automation is creating opportunities for businesses to thrive. Manual, entry-level tasks are being replaced with just a few lines of code.
Businesses can cut costs and increase efficiency, even with less staff. If these systems are programmed correctly, they are less prone to error.
In some cases, automation will allow businesses to take their staff out of dangerous environments, like warehouses that store hazardous materials.
However, machines are just machines. They are less able to think creatively and understand certain nuances. For example, some people don’t rely only on Spell Check to proofread their work because Spell Check doesn’t understand nuance, out-of-the-ordinary language, or context.
Automation technology is only beneficial if it is tested thoroughly. Businesses must make sure that all the bugs are worked out.
Automation does not have a conscience, so it doesn’t understand when things could or have gone wrong. It’s up to the developers to verify it’s working correctly to avoid a disaster.
Outside of maintenance, automated systems cannot be upgraded easily to adapt to changes. If they are not upgraded, the systems could become obsolete, and they won’t serve a purpose. If the systems are upgraded, it will cost – a lot.
Wrapping Up: Technology Isn’t Going Anywhere
The smarter technology gets, the more industries and businesses must either adjust by implementing new systems or working around them.
Technology does not slow down; new systems are being created daily, or there is an update to a current one.
It is important to not get too reliant on waiting for an app or a robot to make work easier; businesses should have a backup in place.
Outside of these systems replacing humans, the biggest hurdle is figuring out how to afford it all.