Here is the opinion of Jean-Frédéric Real, Scalian's Director of Innovation, on this existential question: what digital transformation of industries and what place for the human?
Industry 4.0 is the 4th generation industrial and follows mechanization, mass production and automation. This industry of the future integrates cyber-physical systems, digital solutions, robots, connected objects, cloud computing and 3D printing into the production process.
In this new version of the industry dominated by the digital and the autonomy of the machines, the human still has a place?
Increasing interaction between the machine and the human
To meet the growing production needs of industries, the supply chain has continued to modernize, empower, digitize and especially complex. Faced with these changes, the place of the human has evolved: it is no longer the one that produces but the one that allows the industrial process to function. For this, it intervenes at all stages of the production process to parameterize, check and control the machines used in this context.
This new role is not only related to the development and empowerment of production tools, but also to the ability of humans to take into account subjective parameters that can not be integrated by algorithms. Unlike the machine that produces, the human has a setback, sensations and intuitions to make decisions that the digital is unable to take for the moment – and probably for many more years.
Towards an increased human 2.0
With the complexity of production tools and the need to control them, the technician must now manage a growing volume of data. Thanks to the digital tools, the operator then increased, is able to identify in this flow some problems and new features: the machine, now digital and intelligent, guides the human in his tasks and even brings him real added value .
Often seen as a technology producing a specific result, digital tools are in fact a means to achieve a desired result. We must then think about their use and take into account the terrain, the conditions of their use, the physiological state of its users and the concern for maintenance. If the technology used is not adapted or not adapted, it may be rejected by the user or produce an effect contrary to that expected.
Beyond the technological aspect, digital also participates in the evolution of management methods in workshops or factories, and more broadly in companies, which tend to become more and more collaborative, interactive and flexible. The digital tools make it possible to respond to these new managerial needs and, in this context, become facilitators of human relations within the company.
Artificial intelligence, a human-centered system
These developments are part of a progressive approach, which enables people to understand the digitalisation of their business and become a player in their own digital transformation. Unlike a machine, it has a complexity that must be taken into account to introduce a suitable technology. The paradigm must be changed: the human must no longer be considered as an object in the IoT to connect to the information system. On the contrary, it is necessary that the information system is truly built around it without it being imposed on it.
This is all the more true that being techno-push can quickly slow digital transformation. It is therefore necessary to provide real solutions to carry out the missions. For example, bringing a virtual reality headset or tablet to solve a field problem is far from enough. The system used must be adapted to the operator, the situation and his needs. This is why the decision maker must be the user of the technology, that is to say the operator, who has a real knowledge of the difficulties of the field and the real needs of "increase".
The evolution of the industry and the digitization of production machines have allowed humans to improve their skills and facilitate their decision making, their production methods and their managerial methods. Even if the machine occupies an increasingly important place, the final decision, the control and the parameterization remain human actions. Industry 4.0 is in fact marked by increased interactivity and interdependence between the human and the machine. On the one hand, the human needs the machine to decode and manage all the information captured by the digital. On the other hand, the machine needs the human to provide the subjectivity and flexibility necessary for good decision-making.
Then the question of financing arises. These technologies are expensive, which hampers their massive deployment as a R.O.I. is not demonstrated. How can companies continue to optimize their production costs without increasing the capacity of operators? The answer is probably in the pooling of investments through open, standardized and collaborative digital solutions.