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Thursday, April 18, 2024

3 Societal Drivers Pushing the Adoption of Automation

By: Henrik Christensen, PhD


Qualcomm Chancellor’s Chair of Robotic Programs and a Distinguished Professor of Pc Science at Dept. of Pc Science and Engineering, UC San Diego, ROBO World Strategic Advisor


For over three many years, I’ve labored with robotics and automation, carefully watching the adjustments and, maybe most curiously, the general public notion of the expertise.

Not way back, the general public was not paying a lot consideration to the chances forward. Regardless of the exponential progress occurring, it appeared that discussions about robotics, automation, and AI have been largely tutorial. That was…till a world pandemic modified issues.

Just like the flip of a swap, our worlds have been challenged, and our cultural norms have been remodeled. The workforce each bodily and mentally pivoted. Our shopper calls for have been challenged. The provision chain uncovered its weak spots. All of the whereas, technological developments continued to progress, a lot of which now we have solely begun to bear witness to. We’re in fascinating occasions, certainly.

These societal drivers are shifting the way in which we work, dwell, and play. Additionally they affect how we make investments as each company entities and (hopefully!) as people. Let’s dive slightly deeper into components which are driving the demand and adoption of automation in lots of points of our lives.



The residual results of COVID-19 and the necessity to keep at dwelling have created a labor disaster with no proof of restore. Not like the 2008 recession, we discover ourselves with a labor scarcity, not a job opening scarcity. That is particularly prevalent within the fields of producing and logistics the place the variety of unfilled roles far outpaces the unemployment charge.

What do you do when there aren’t any folks to fill the roles? It’s important to add extra automation. Each giant and small firms are investing now greater than ever in expertise to fill within the gaps. This resolution just isn’t a alternative however relatively a necessity to outlive in a tricky aggressive panorama.

One of the vital vital issues we are able to do to construct sustainable financial progress is to advertise training within the fields of producing, logistics, and the like. Extremely, many of those paths to success and profession growth don’t require a university diploma. These are STEM roles that may usually be acquired by commerce faculties or certification packages, dramatically lowering the barrier to entry. These new positions make the most of our uniquely human administration expertise, overseeing the robots doing boring, soiled, and harmful jobs.

As a professor, I’m seeing a lot of my college students laced with concern over the present job market and tech layoffs. We’ve got the expertise; now we simply have to allow them to pursue the brand new roles being created by demand. This isn’t only a message for the re-training of college-educated college students although; that is additionally an amazing job alternative for folks of all ages trying to develop a brand new talent set or enter a brand new area. Within the meantime, we’ll proceed to see firms investing in expertise to fill in for the hundreds of thousands of unfilled jobs. 



Covid demonstrated what large firms might do when push got here to shove with on-line supply. At the moment now we have come to count on a package deal on our doorstep a mere two hours after clicking “Buy.” The demand for e-commerce and fast supply has soared for the reason that starting of the pandemic, with no indicators of slowing, creating an fascinating problem for achievement. 

Corporations each huge and small don’t simply need to get in on the motion, they NEED to. We count on to see an increasing number of automation in achievement, be it out of a again room or entrance and heart down a grocery aisle. Localized supply may also acquire traction as firms proceed within the race to maintain up.

We are going to see comparatively smaller companies getting concerned within the sport too, with options starting from conventional automated storage to computerized packaging to cellular platforms driving round out on the ground. 

A lot of this automation is being made doable because of robotics firms that at the moment are offering extra versatile deployment on a smaller scale by way of the minimal variety of techniques wanted. These choices may also come at an inexpensive price with simple person interfaces for current workers to be taught.

Not like the mounted, cumbersome, and costly infrastructure of the previous, enterprise homeowners don’t have to fret as a lot about making the incorrect alternative in terms of automating. Now they will use the most effective expertise for the job with out having to purchase into one specific ecosystem.

On the subject of right this moment’s logistics automation, fast achievement and the necessity to fill jobs are driving inevitable funding into tech.


Almost all of the world has just lately witnessed the gorgeous capabilities of generative AI in some form or type whether or not they’ve realized it or not. From the storm of AI portraits that swept Instagram feeds in every single place to the mainstream makes use of of ChatGPT for easy content material duties to this yr’s Sony “Image of the Yr.” Sure, the artist introduced that the photograph was in reality generated by AI. To say that now we have barely scratched the floor of what generative AI can do can be an understatement. 

We’re solely on the very starting levels of this highly effective expertise’s attain and the function it would play in our lives. Up till now, a lot of our focus has been on producing info. With the general public adoption of generative AI, we’ll begin to see our focus shift to the verification of data. We used to have to take a seat down and write a narrative; now you may ask generative AI.

One main hesitation we’re seeing proper now could be across the reliability and factual nature of the fabric. Can we belief it? How do we all know that it received’t lie? That’s the place the verification of data is available in, remaining an vital piece of the puzzle. One other big problem is plagiarism. How can we guarantee that the coed’s work is authentic? How can we cope with the replication of singers’ voices? Whereas there are numerous potential obstacles certain to emerge from the usage of this expertise, the promise is limitless. Generative AI is actually going to vary how we function at a foundational degree.



These are merely three components pushing us right into a extra automated world. In my eyes, there isn’t any doubt that this adoption will generate vital progress throughout all sectors of the market. The query is: how do you make the suitable wager? With the ROBO index (robotics & automation) and the THNQ index (AI), buyers can acquire diversified publicity to each the builders and customers of those unimaginable applied sciences. In any case, these technological and societal adjustments are just the start of how our world is altering to regulate to new person calls for―and the way we’re utilizing expertise to satisfy these calls for.

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