Humans vs. technology

Think Again: Who wins? The argument never has to be humans versus technology. You’ve noticed, I’m sure, that any dichotomous proclamation is easier to portray and can be a more dramatic means of rallying support. An inflexible “this way or that way” attitude also is less optimal than collaboration, integration, and resolutions. Here are examples ...

11/01/2008


Would collaboration help?

See

Who wins? Oh, please. How many times have you explained to family and other friends that the argument never has to be humans versus technology? You’ve noticed, I’m sure, that any dichotomous proclamation is easier to portray and can be a more dramatic means of rallying support. An inflexible “this way or that way” attitude also is less optimal than collaboration, integration, and resolution. Examples abound of late:

  • Democrat or Republican, blue or red, bailout or no bailout, your fault or their fault. (It’s never our fault or my fault, right?) Don’t even get me going. There’s more than enough blame to go around, if you choose to see things that way. Let’s just resolve the problems. Notice I say “re-solve” rather than solve. If more people were aware of history, they’d see that many of today’s challenges have been solved previously.

  • Sustainability or global warming ? David Greenfield makes short order of this fallacy on page 2, pointing out that engineering and sustainability go hand in hand and make good sense, no matter what the temperature. I’d like to think fairness plays a part, as well. If you don’t grasp that concept, do an Internet search on something like: “ If everyone used resources as does the U.S., we’d need five planets to support everyone .” Engineers know efficiency and can help.

  • Humans or machines? Labor or automation? Jobs or robots? Controls and instrumentation often are portrayed as evil (or at best geeky and eccentric) by much of Hollywood and mainstream media. We know automation can increase efficiency and save jobs . We’ve been all over that one since our inception in 1954. On the other hand, not every technology application will save humanity. Technologies are tools for our responsible use. Control Engineering will continue to work with you to ensure we benefit humanity the best we can, while helping your workplace and community.

Like so many other things in life, it’s not whether the glass is half empty or half full. Better that we ask: “Is there clean water in the glass? Who’s thirsty?” And “May I serve you?”

MHoske@cfemedia.com





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Leaders Under 40 program features outstanding young people who are making a difference in manufacturing. View the 2013 Leaders here.
The new control room: It's got all the bells and whistles - and alarms, too; Remote maintenance; Specifying VFDs
2014 forecast issue: To serve and to manufacture - Veterans will bring skill and discipline to the plant floor if we can find a way to get them there.
2013 Top Plant: Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Bring focus to PLC programming: 5 things to avoid in putting your system together; Managing the DCS upgrade; PLM upgrade: a step-by-step approach
Balancing the bagging triangle; PID tuning improves process efficiency; Standardizing control room HMIs
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.