Event Report: Industry 4.0: AI, Entrepreneurship, and Sustainability

This week, Collective Responsibility’s evening forum on AI, Entrepreneurship and Sustainability brought together young professionals and entrepreneurs who are interested in knowing more about the opportunities and challenges they face as China enters industry 4.0.

Richard Brubaker, Founder and Managing Director of Collective Responsibility (CR), opened the evening by sharing the results of a survey on attitudes toward AI of people under 30 vs. the attitude of those over 30 years old.

The survey reveals that older participants are less worried about automation happening on the factory floor as many participants feel that full automation will not occur in their lifetime.  Additionally, many believe that machines cannot replace the “uniqueness” of the human workforce.  Therefore, most participants in this group have no “plan B” if full automation were to take place.  In contrast, 67% of their counterparts, or those under 30, have an alternative plan for the AI scenario.

Expert Insights

CR invited Brian Wu, Vice President, Shanghai Quicktronics Intelligent Technology Co.Ltd, and Eric Tian, Founder and CEO of INREVO Inc. to discuss the key opportunities AI provides for entrepreneurs, young professionals and innovators.


From Losing Jobs to Creating New Opportunities

Brian showcased the success of Quicktronics  and how its products are transforming manual labor in warehouses.  Quicktronics produces robots that can interact with other robots.  As a team, these robots transport heavy loads in an orderly fashion around the warehouse, thus significantly cutting down labor costs and improving efficiency.

Despite the improvement in efficiency that these robots provide, many see these robots and further AI innovation as a threat.  This technology has the capability of reducing the work force by up to 70%.  What should be considered, however, is that manual labor jobs related to heavy lifting are not desirable due to the health risks involved and low wages.  These robots are not a threat; rather, they provide better work opportunities in the factories, such as jobs related to controlling the robots.

Find an Industry and Revolutionize It

While working closely with the manufacturing sector of many corporations, the Founder and CEO of INREVO Inc., Eric Tian,  realized that many inefficiencies on the factory floor were a problem that he could help solve. Therefore, with the help of a team of engineers from Alibaba and SAIC, he developed an industrial IoT firm, INREVO.

The majority of machines that factories buy require careful management and operational maintenance. Due to the sophistication of the technology, many errors go unnoticed by the average worker, thus leading to a waste of energy and materials, and eventually may result in defective products.

To avoid these issues, manufacturers need the help of companies like INREVO that gather real-time data from the machinery.  This data is virtually turned into valuable analytics that workers can use to detect potential problems.

These analytics are an asset to any company utilizing AI technology.  The analytics do not only detect malfunctions, but they also increase the workers’ accountability and help engineers improve the design of robotics. Eric ended his presentation by giving valuable advice to those with an entrepreneur heart, “find an industry you like and improve its efficiency.”

AI’s Endless Potential

Following the presentations, a lively discussion on the pros and cons of AI technology took place.  While we at The Collective are focused on understanding the implications of these advances on the labor force, we also recognize that these advancements greatly improve industrial efficiency.  This efficiency causes reductions in waste that ultimately reduces the pressure on our ecosystem.

This forum was an inspiring evening where the audience had a chance to hear from two young professionals that are already leaders in their industry by simply embracing automation.

To learn more about our future events, or about becoming a member of The Collective, click here.

 

 

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