InTech

MAR-APR 2018

Issue link: http://intechdigitalxp.isa.org/i/959322

Contents of this Issue

Navigation

Page 23 of 57

of at least a large segment of consumer goods manufacturing. But it is not per- fect. For producers, "lights-out" manu- facturing provides few opportunities for adding value. It is all about lowering costs while ensuring product differentiation. For workers, it is even worse. Those who are employed in Industry 4.0 setups are expected to work like machines, "pro- grammed" by management to perform an exact number of tasks every hour. It is work for robots, performed by hu- mans only until technology advances far enough to replace the humans altogether. And it would not surprise me if a lean analysis of this type of factory found that it wastes human problem-solving skills, value-adding human creativity, and the critical and exclusively human ability to deeply understand customers. Most importantly, the mass custom- ization described above and enabled by Industry 4.0 is not enough. Because consumers want more. They want mass personalization, which can only be had when the human touch returns to manu- facturing. This is what I call Industry 5.0. Psychology trumps technology In the 1960s, as Industry 3.0 was starting to make waves in society, the Canadian media theory guru Marshall McLuhan proclaimed that "the medium is the mes- sage"—that new technologies determine changes in patterns of human thought and behavior. Technologists like me might wish that were the case—i.e., that we are the ones who decide how people act. But I do not believe that McLuhan was right. Human psychology trumps technology and puts it to its own uses. People want to stand out, to be seen as unique, to express themselves through their choices—including their purchas- ing choices. Now, for the first time since the dawn of the Industrial Age, technolo- gies are available that let people express themselves as individuals through per- sonalized products. Not just low-tech products, but any product that can send the right signals. And not just products that only the super-rich can afford, but products within reach for people with modest incomes. This desire for mass personalization forms the psychological and cultural driver behind Industry 5.0—which in- volves using technology to return value added by humans to manufacturing. Be- fore we examine that in more detail, note that the desire for mass personalization also calls another Industry 3.0 assump- tion into question. The American futur- ist Alvin Toffler's influential 1970s work Future Shock saw too many choices as a problem for consumers, who would need to band together into groups to deal with choice overload. Yet in place of Toffler's "shock," we see consumers reveling in choice—with one person expressing herself by playing music from an infinite number of options online and another spinning vinyl on a Shinola turntable, handmade in Detroit. The mass personalization and related trends also question common Industry 4.0 assumptions—especially the oft- expressed but wrong-headed claim that robots are "taking over" and "stealing our jobs." We have found that compa- nies that deploy collaborative robots end up employing more people, not fewer, FACTORY AUTOMATION 24 INTECH MARCH/APRIL 2018 WWW.ISA.ORG By placing humans back at the center of industrial production, Industry 5.0 gives consumers the products they want and gives workers jobs that are more meaningful.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of InTech - MAR-APR 2018