Manufacturing is changing fast.
Advances like 3D printing, virtual design technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and more integrated communication between the actors in the entire production chain are creating new opportunities.
As traditional logistics and manufacturing models phase out, there’s uncertainty about what the industrial future may hold.SHUTTERSTOCK, PHONLAMAI PHOTO
“In the past we’ve had mass production as a major manufacturing paradigm, and we’ve had lean manufacturing,” said Li Zheng, Professor, PhD Supervisor and Vice President at Tsinghua University in Beijing. “But now we’re seeing a new paradigm.”
In that paradigm, engineers, scientists, designers and everyone else involved in manufacturing can do things they could only dream about a decade ago.
The result is a brave new manufacturing world.
The New Labor Market Opportunities
For all the talk of new opportunities, there is a downside. As traditional logistics and manufacturing models phase out, there’s uncertainty about what the industrial future may hold.
A recent World Economic Forum report predicted machines will perform a significant portion of manufacturing tasks by 2025, eliminating some 75 million jobs. On the other hand, the new AI-enabled relationship between human labor and machines will create an extra 133 million jobs, according to the report.
The report also predicts the labor market will change as freelance and part-time labor become more prominent.
The new opportunities that do arise will accrue to those able to harness the new tech. The new technological reality will disrupt our educational system itself. In fact, it will have to, as the workforce is unprepared for the new reality, as one prominent academic in the field argues.
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