TECHNOLOGY TREND TT06

TT06 Distance Accelerates Automation

Technologies that capture human work and automate those tasks are proven to increase productivity for remote workers. By enabling AI to learn as an apprentice does by observing a master – and eliminating the need for step-by-step programming – these technologies are bringing AI to new applications and automation opportunities.

Abstract

The pandemic has forced many social activities to be performed touch-free, rapidly promoting online activities. This is resulting in the birth of new value for the touch-free design, like high efficiency and automation.

Touch-free communication that uses online conference tools has the advantage of eliminating physical limitations like location and travel. On the other hand, such communication can only capture limited information, such as issues due to delayed voice transmission and difficult recognition of changing facial expressions on the screen. This may make people feel that it is more difficult to communicate this way than in person. Efforts are underway to enhance AI for clearer voices and easier recognition of facial expressions to improve the usability of touch-free communication tools.

To enable remote, touch-free physical tasks, remote operation of physical devices is now under development. Toward the practical use of these communication tools for logistics, civil engineering, and medical applications, where physical tasks are indispensable even under the pandemic environment, trial and error continues to enable the transmission of the tactile sense, low-delay communication, and robots equipped with the minimum functions to perform tasks.

Additional value for the touch-free design comes from the utilization of voice, image, and human behavior data generated by the use of touch-free systems. For example, an effort to record the touch-free behavior of skilled workers to store as data, and to pass on the skills to apprentices, as well as an effort to create a robot with an AI that learns and emulates human skills are on the horizon. Higher work efficiency generated by the touch-free design, as well as AI-based automatic training of workers and their greater resultant availability, will likely become the new value of the touch-free design, leading to the solution of the social issue of labor shortage.

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