Future’s Industry Club Presentations in short
Future’s Industry Club was established last year by TkMH, Hungary’s most defining character of steel industry. On the club events we have discussions with our partners, colleagues and experts on effects influencing our future. In this article a short extract can be read on past performances.
Human or robot? Where lies the borderline between human and machine?
The theme of the club event was robotics and the first presentation was about the current fourth industrial revolution which not only has an impact on nature, but on us, humanity as well. Technology shows unprecedented growth, and it will be more and more difficult to differentiate digital, physical and biological systems.
It is due to abundance given by the third industrial revolution and also we use our physical strengths less and less with the development of humanity. At the same time we have more opportunities to evolve our cognitive skills and creativity. Therefore, robotics develops massively which enables the improvement of surgical robots, external robot skeletons and soft robotics.
With technological developments even human-robots (so-called cyborgs) can be created as well – for example the human brain can be made more efficient by adding a chip. It was also presented that the future will bring along the intelligence spread: the current virtual assistants (Siri, Alexa) running with an artificial intelligence will take a bigger part in humanity.
The ancient companion robot, the dog
The next presentation will draw your attention to robotics in a very interesting way, showing that we are more or less accustomed to live with robots. In ancient times, when man domesticated dogs from wolves, he created a companion robot who helps him, and depending on its functionality, its appearance can be different (eg. sheepdog, hound dog), recognizes its owner, understands commands and is able to learn.
A robot has to bear the same functions and in the future it will be very useful to have helping robots. The expert has also mentioned that companion robots don’t necessarily have the face of a human or an animal – which can be even scary. According to ethology, the appearance of species has adapted to the environment, apparently we should give them the most practical appearance based on its functionality. Finally the expert said that the real days of glory of companion robots will be brought by the development of artificial intelligence.
Due to the performance of our leading partner in robotics we could take a glimpse at the present and the future of industrial robotics. The first robots have been working in cells till today; as it may be dangerous to work in their nearby while they fulfil their programmed working processes.
With time this technology has been improved of course and the smaller robots can work in smaller places and they also need less energy, many of them source alternative energy. A new development is the collaborative robot that can work together or collaborate with man, which means that man and robot work together in the same area, hence the robot is not dangerous at all, as it responds to movements and touching of man. However, the capacity of these robots are smaller than classic industrial robots, the biggest advantage of them is educable.
Moreover, there are so-called autonomous mobile robots which can work without any human help, and also mobile robots exist working on their own on the whole premise on a special track. Soon communicating robots will be available on the market as the artificial intelligence is gaining ground and the production will be more flexible and easily changeable.
300000 years – within one day?
In the beginning human was mainly dependent on his creativity as a hunting, fishing and gathering prehistoric man required quite many creativity. However, creativity was overshadowed by agricultural and industrial development in order to be able to do easy work processes for a long time.
If we show the development of humanity in 24 hours it is visible, that humanity has gone through huge altercations so far and within the last 70 years all happened extremely quickly.
Today the level of development has reached a level that it is not enough anymore if work is done with the help of machines. We need our creativity, problem-solving skills and analytical thinking again to be able to live with and follow this development. Besides creativity it is also important to be willing to take risks and let ourselves to make mistakes, to experiment, because this is the only way to learn, and then improve.
Ipar 4.0 for SMEs
Based on the survey on Ipar 4.0 of ICT Association of Hungary – which focused on willingness and ability of carrying out innovations in Hungarian entrepreneurships – it is stated that Hungarian SMEs are willing to carry out innovations, but many times they don’t recognize problems correctly which would be essential for real innovation.
Most Hungarian companies increase the “quantity” and capacity of existing technology instead of applying new ones, which is unreal innovation. Furthermore, the survey showed that in Hungary only some SMEs place appropriate emphasis on improvement of informatics and HR and many times the strategic view of leaders could be improved as well.
Experts advice to SMEs to try to change only one thing at a time and also to make sure that the problem has been correctly detected. It is worthy to ask external advice and analyse the problem.
The Future of Automotive
To keep pace with continuously changing consumer requirements manufacturers and suppliers need to be able to adapt quickly. Trends given by consumers always give newer and newer challenges to automotive industry.
It is noticeable in automotive that at the same time of increased performance, the specific mass needed to be decreased, whereas the consumers require more and more comfortable and safe vehicles. For example the seats have to be lighter, but their heating and cooling is becoming a more and more basic requirement.
The challenge of manufacturing raw materials is that production has to be quicker and precise. The specific volume of raw materials should be decreased but with increased durability. In order to reach it, newer and newer alloys have to be experimented, therefore it is visible that the future of automotive industry is continuous innovation.
Why is it so difficult to change?
Humanity has learnt via evolution that change means danger, hence it should be avoided. It cannot be applied to current accelerated world anymore. The lifespan of companies, knowledge of individuals and organizations and the lifespan of skills have shortened in the last century.
Knowledge and some business models are not able to be on the market so long anymore, hence it is essential to learn continuously and be able to renew. Our entrepreneurships can stay alive only in case of being able to adapt to sudden environmental changes.
The current forth industrial revolution doesn’t change only our nature, methods and tools, but us as well. It is necessary for innovation to be able to question new and old methods – both individual and in the organization. If we are able to do it, then such technologies like artificial intelligence will not be dangerous anymore but will give us real superpowers.
Being a human in the era of artificial intelligence
In the era of artificial intelligence, we believe that it is important to think over what it means to be a human as also where is the end of human and where starts the machine? Maybe we are already cyborgs (human-machine hybrids) in some sense, because we use our smart phones almost like a fifth limb.
Technology can mean huge progress in medical science or logistics but it can also mean an incredible efficiency increase in several other fields, with the help of algorithms we can also make creative tasks – for example, an algorithm can create „paintings”. Artificial intelligence is able to learn about us based on our behaviour, so it can determine our wishes and needs more and more precisely.
Artificial intelligence is one of the biggest question of its era, whether we become slaves of machines or they will serve us. With these radical technological changes, we have the opportunity to solve the biggest problems of humanity, nevertheless we can even destroy our own race. We have to try to find the balance, because nothing is black or white: AI also has some favourable and unfavourable effects on us.
Where is artificial intelligence today and what else it can provide?
This technology is expanding exponentially since the 70s and by now it may become so developed to be able to experience its effects in more and more fields of our lives. However, it can raise the question
whether the development of neural networks, the incredible expansion of network and storage capacity can be traced by humans or not? The linear and exponential curves are very similar up to a certain point, where the exponential curve starts a rapid growth, leaving behind its linear partner. It can explain the fact that although technology was developing even in the 1970s we haven’t experienced many of it until nowadays.
Technologies can be established which are more intelligent and developed than the algorithms used nowadays and can even exceed the human cognitive skills in every aspect. In games there are examples of AI beating world champions (e.g. AlphaGo). With the creation of artificial superintelligences such algorithms can be born which are much more intelligent than humans and its effects are unimaginable temporarily.
One thing is sure: AI is part of our lives, at a level where AI algorithms are involved in company leading in Korea. It depends merely on us, on humans how far we take this development and for how long we can control technology. One, an incomparably more intelligent algorithm can destroy even humanity.
Artificial intelligence at home and abroad
National large companies already use artificial intelligence and the smaller ones also rely more and more on this technology. To the question of how AI develops and when it reaches the level when humans are not able to control it or just in a very difficult way the answer is: AI won’t cry up. So, if such a super intelligent algorithm is created, it won’t definitely inform us about its arrival.
The world develops. We develop in Europe, in the USA and in China – in different ways. The USA typically practises the „just do it” approach and is not afraid of the thought that at the end of its process something else is born than what it was originally planned. On the contrary, in Europe the R&D sector has that kind of project approach where that particular aim must be reached and fulfilled which was determined in the beginning of the project. This approach somewhat decreases the efficiency of the European R&D activity compared to the USA, not to mention China where large-scale developments are happening – less considering the ethical dilemmas.
Regarding the ethical aspects of AI, it can be stated that because it has cultural and religious roots there isn’t a universal ethic, thus it is very hard to apply it during technological developments. In Japanese culture for example, because of Shintoism machines are more accepted, as they believe that objects have soul. The future-proof AI has to be ethical, profitable in business, reliable and user-friendly at the same time.