By Gopi Reddy
As we are transcending from the Fourth Industrial Revolution to the Fifth, we are entering a phase where artificial intelligence, human intelligence, and machines will coexist. Unlike the 4th industrial revolution that focused on dehumanization with the use of AI, Big Data, IoT, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, the 5th industrial revolution seeks to foster a balanced relationship between technology and humans. Rather than humans competing with robots, as was feared at the onset of the 4th industrial revolution, humans and machines will collaborate taking out the mundane and repetitive tasks for robots while providing humans with greater opportunities to focus on achieving a sustainable and equitable world while narrowing the disparities in the socio-economic opportunities for humans.
The challenge today however remains that the momentum of technology and commerce has eclipsed the service of humanity. More often than ever the focus is on the ‘next big tech thing’ and what it can do, often to the exclusion of the utility and impact the technology will have on society. The pursuit of efficient production has meant increased pollution and reckless consumption of non-renewable resources. The ramification of this myopic and flawed approach was best put forth by Former US Vice President Al Gore, who asked the assembled industry titans at Oslo peace prize, “Will our children ask us why we didn’t act?. While AL Gore was referring to the looming climate crisis, there is no denying that the march of economic progress has confronted us with existential threat.
When we talk about robots, we are filled with thoughts fed by sci-fi movies of pre-programmed autonomous humanoids gone rogue zapping humans on streets! However, the truth is far away from this. With innovation, purpose, and inclusivity being the bedrock of the 5th IR, we will see much more advanced collaborative interactions between humans, machines, processes and systems. Autonomous systems – those that can self-learn, adapt, and continuously evolve – will become an inseparable part of our daily lives. AI and ML powered systems and robotics will alter how we work.
Uber, the World’s Largest taxi aggregator has implemented hyperdynamic pricing that factors in commute traffic condition, weather predictions, and demand surge to generate minute-by-minute pricing adjustments. Furthermore, data scientists at Uber are presenting C-suit with additional information on customer preferences and choices, while customers, on the other hand, are shown and suggested travel time and route plans to bring in much more efficiency and planning to their commute while the implementation of blockchain technology is enabling seamless payment experience bringing in Zero touch customer journey.
Today, AI and ML are becoming the backbone of a successful enterprise, and great strides have been made where AI is transforming work as we know it. But, where we get lost is in confusing Automation with Autonomy. Autonomy is more than just automation. An autonomous enterprise is self-driving as it applies artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation to the challenges of operations and management. AI provides analytics and real-time actionable insights. Machine learning and behavioral analytics define a normal activity on a dynamic basis, recognizing events, patterns, anomalies, relationships, as well as root causes. Likewise, it is capable of learning, correcting, adapting to changes, and intelligently automating.
Hyper automation will act as the precursor towards the inevitable future of autonomous enterprises and cities. Hyper Automation will bring together multiple cutting edge technologies, tools and platforms to orchestrate autonomous solutions. Stages of its evolutionary self-sufficiency are marked by the ability to operate with less human intervention, i.e., it is fully capable of configuring, monitoring, and maintaining itself independently. Robots will help humans align returns on investment (ROI) with purpose, but more than ever, it will assist humans through forward-leaning technologies.
It is happening now
An autonomous enterprise might sound futuristic and we might get mesmerized by the thought of how it can change the world around us. Autonomous solutions can accelerate responsiveness and time to market and even create more predictive customer service experiences. By the virtue of it being industry pervasive, every sector can adopt autonomy and create autonomous enterprises. The 5th IR has the potential to usher in a new socio-economic era creating infinite opportunities for humanity, and for a better planet.
Some may call Alice naive for believing in impossible things, but those aren’t the type of people who would chase a rabbit down its hole.
The author is Executive Director, Grene Robotics