The Fourth Industrial Revolution is about empowering people, not the rise of the machines

This shift will enable workers on the front line, on the road and in the field to make smarter decisions, solve tougher problems and do their jobs better.

This is our mission at Uptake—to combine the power of data and the power of people, across global industries.

Here’s what this looks like:

Railroad locomotives are powered by massive, highly complex electrical engines that cost millions of dollars.

When one breaks down, the railroad loses thousands more for every hour it’s out of service (not to mention, there are a lot of angry travellers or cargo customers to deal with).

After the locomotive is towed in for repairs, technicians normally start by running diagnostic tests. These can take hours, and often require technicians to stand next to roaring engines jotting down numbers based on the diagnostic readings.

That’s the old way – or, at least, it should be.

New solutions

When locomotives operated by our customers roll into the shop for routine services, all diagnostics have already been run.

Our software has forecast when, why and how the machine is likely to break down using predictive analytics — algorithms that analyze massive amounts of data generated by the 250 sensors on each locomotive.

Our systems have examined that data within the context of similar machines, subject- matter experts, industry norms and even weather. If there’s a problem, we detect it, and direct the locomotive to a repair facility.

A mechanic can then simply pick up an iPad, and learn in a few minutes exactly what is about to break down, as well as the machine’s history and the conditions it’s been operating under.

Virtuous loop

That leaves the mechanics to do what they do best: fix it, using their experience, judgement and skill. And the mechanics decisions and actions become data that feeds back into the software, improving the analytics and predictions for the next problem.

So, technology didn’t replace mechanics; it empowered them to do their job.

In the same way that chess masters and computers work best together, the mechanic used human skills that a machine can’t replicate: ingenuity, creativity and experience. And the technology detected a problem that was unknown and unseen to human eyes.

In short, when the mechanic and the technology work together, the work gets done faster, with fewer errors and better results.

Multiply this across all industries: aviation, energy, transportation, smart cities, manufacturing, natural resources, and construction.

The productivity we unleash could be reminiscent of what the world saw at the advent of the first industrial revolution. But the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will run much broader, and deeper, than the first.

We’ll have the knowledge, the talent and the tools to solve some of the world’s biggest problems: hunger, climate change, disease.

Machines will supply us with the insight and the perspective we need to reach those solutions. But they won’t supply the judgement or the ingenuity. People will.

For more information about the 2017 class of Technology Pioneers, visit our website.

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In : world economic forum

14 Jun 2017

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