AI and Manufacturers Working Together
Randy Wolken, President & CEO

Rapid advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) have changed the workspace and job outlook for manufacturing. The key to success will involve determining the best ways to work with the evolving promise of AI, automation, and talent development. We can learn volumes from how existing AI paired with human interaction can benefit companies today.

We are in the midst of a talent crisis within our membership and throughout New York State. Properly deployed AI can enhance employee workflow and increase productivity. Even more importantly, it can free individuals and teams to be more strategic and creative as they move away from tasks that can be routine and automated. This is one of the reasons why many believe, including the World Economic Forum, that by 2025, millions of jobs will be created by technology.

It’s time for all leaders to look at ways humans and AI can work together. Ten key ways offer great hope for practical human work and AI assistance:

  1. AI is excellent at generating data analysis that people can use to develop usable insights.
  2. Automating routine tasks using AI and Machine Learning (ML) can free people from repetitive tasks and allow them to focus on value-added activities.
  3. AI-powered algorithms can personalize many efforts to include routine customer service work.
  4. In healthcare diagnosis, AI can analyze large amounts of data to identify potential illnesses and suggest treatment options that medical professionals can discern further for treatment.
  5. AI can provide language translation and interpretation beyond what most humans can do independently. This is especially useful for manufacturers who produce for global markets.
  6. In creative collaboration, AI can generate many ideas, designs, and other content that teams or individuals can refine, modify, and select.
  7. In safety and security, AI is one of the vital ways to stay ahead of cyber attacks and secure vital systems. Other physical security areas can also be enhanced by AI-added analytics.
  8. Scientific discovery can be added by AI-generated insights gleaned from diverse areas and further researched by individuals or teams from across the globe.
  9. Learning and education can be significantly enhanced by AI and humans working together to personalize learning adapted to groups or individuals. It can also help educators collaborate across the globe in fast-moving areas of development.
  10. Predictive analytics and decision support are areas of powerful human and AI work. AI can better forecast trends from vast data based on historical trends. Humans can evaluate potential implications and consider ethical, societal, and long-term factors before making final decisions.

As you can see, much potential for better outcomes is available when AI and humans work together. However, a practical marriage between the advantages of AI and human work requires:

  • Defining clear roles and responsibilities between the AI system and humans or teams
  • Transparency and explainability of AI-added decisions
  • Training and updating of AI models and their usage
  • A learning culture where AI tools are embraced to empower individuals and teams
  • Proper human oversight, especially in vital decision-making situations

We have much to learn about the most effective use of AI in the coming years. However, it seems clear that effective human and AI collaboration will bring the most significant benefits and offer the safeguards needed to make it work well in manufacturing.