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Exploring Industry Experience

Updated: Dec 18, 2020

Do you ever wonder how the future world would look like? Perhaps you are a luddite- a person who believes that technology will adversely affect the future, thus opposing it. Perhaps you are a technophile- a person who believes that technology is the only solution for the future, thus advocating it. Perhaps you are a combination of the two or perhaps you do not care at all. Well, I can try to explain some implications of technological developments on the future.

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Regardless of how you feel about technology, its importance and relevance in our daily lives is continually increasing. In the lecture on ‘exploring industry experience’, I understood the implications of technology on how information is made available to people, especially with the internet playing a big role. The volume of information absorbed by a human on any given day is so huge, that counting stars in the night sky would seem like an easy task.

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As I understand from the lectures and literature, the human mind prioritises information, processing mainly bad or negative news, so that our natural fight or flight instinct can be initiated. Traditional marketing professionals and journalists have capitalised on such human behaviour by using bad or negative headlines to capture the attention of viewers. And though times have changed along with people’s mentality and thinking ability, the human instinct to process negative news as a priority has remained unchanged.

For example, I am a traditional newspaper reader but off late, I use online news forums to receive my daily dose of news. While doing so, I browse through the comments section too. Now, a regular neutral headline receives, at the most, a few comments and reactions/likes in double digits. However, when I see a topic on religion, immigration, or climate change, topics that have people with divided opinions, I already know that both the number of comments and reactions will exceed triple digits.

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Often, comments which disagree with articles are only related to the headline and not the actual content. The goes on to show how headlines are a very important part of the media and communication. On the flip side, positive headlines can make a huge impact too. For example, the image below was created to attract women to the manufacturing industry when American men were needed on the frontlines of World War 2. Later, this image went on to become a symbol for feminism. Thus, a headline can be anything from text to simply picture, but it should tell a story on its own. Putting together the information provided by Matti Apunen and the other study material, all these observations make much more sense to me now.

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Now, to answer the question about the future of our world, I will take you through my research. My research will focus on business cases for robotisation, artificial intelligence, and digitalisation within machinery. My research combines the knowledge from academia and the experience and skills from the industry to shape future technological development.

The traditional ways of work have a good foundation and have kept improving and changing over time. But these improvements have utilised technological developments which has also led to a change in the behaviour and preferences of people. While the mainstream media may have used agendas to either promote or oppose technology developments, the truth is that nobody knows how things will change in the future.

When we draw maps for the future, we do not visualise the future. We visualise how the present will look like in the future. The image above is my research visualisation of the future based on how I see the present scenario. Thus, through my research, I seek to understand which technologies are suitable and/or unsuitable, and if they are really needed in the future.

I like to see luddites and technophiles as opposite sides of the same coin. I on the other hand, take a neutral position. In a way, my perspective is the thickness of the coin, which requires delicate and precise balance to stand on its own. But, the joint efforts by different people with a similar neutral perspective, makes our contribution much more significant, such that we support each other by stacking up on the good and bad simultaneously, thereby exposing the neutral perspective to the world. In the end, it all depends on the integrity of the people involved.

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During a seminar with the heavy-duty machinery industry, many researchers including me, expressed concerns about artificial intelligence taking away human jobs. We were presented with a stark truth that certain industries face increasing labour shortages so robots and artificial intelligence will only solve such issues.

But should I blindly believe the industry? The answer is yes and no. Yes, because I know that they have a better idea of the industry and no, because I have access to research data. It is my job to find out and disseminate the truth, while maintaining neutrality.

We all know that the future will be different. Thus, it is very important for my research to reach different audiences. As a specialist, communication is key for me, while maintaining a neutral perspective in evaluating the present and the future. Perhaps the outcome of my research will pinch you or perhaps it may give you an “Aha, I told you so!” moment. Perhaps it will not affect you in any direct way. Perhaps it gives you new insights.

But all this depends on my ability to present information in a way, such that your brain prioritises it. Hopefully, if I properly utilise the lessons learned from this lecture, I will be able to give you a better picture of our future world.

- Tyrone Machado, Doctoral Researcher, MORE-ITN

The project MORE-ITN has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 858101.

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