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Human and machine collaboration

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Electrical Review hears from Mike Hughes, zone president of UK and Ireland for Schneider Electric, regarding the benefits and the level of AI uptake in his sector.

“When a manufacturer combines human expertise with AI, the work of three shifts is possible in one. The collaboration of humans and machines will deliver better output, higher-quality products and less wastage on the factory floor. But British industry needs to hold its nerve. It is more difficult for smaller manufacturing enterprises in the UK to invest in AI. Nevertheless, doing so will be crucial for securing the success of the manufacturing sector in an increasingly interconnected world.

“Productivity has been a perennial problem for the UK, but AI gives us the opportunity to turn things around. The impact of integrating AI into a manufacturing environment is not dissimilar to upgrading a paper-based back office system into a proper IT infrastructure. Immediate productivity gains of up to 20% should not be surprising, which would help the UK to remain competitive with the rest of the world. In fact, the UK has been significantly behind its G7 counterparts in terms of productivity with the exception of Japan for a number of years, according to recent ONS figures.”

“At its core, AI is all about crunching the data and coming up with insights that the human brain could never have computed. Its competencies don’t compete with those of humans but compliment them. This is why it is emerging as a key competitive advantage and the decisive differentiator between companies. From boardroom analysis to automation on the factory floor, AI supports better decision making, productivity and profit growth.”


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