With the advancement of technology, automation use is increasing all over the world. This is expected to continue in the upcoming years as well. It is also expected that by using artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, we will be able to build machines and systems that can replace human labour in many fields. But just because it is possible, it does not imply that it should be done.
In Japan, they use automatic ticket reader machines at rail stations and buses, and ticket issuing machines at ramen restaurants. At health centres, automated blood pressure samplers and eye sight examiners are used. But at the same time, we notice there are highly trained staff waiting near machines at the rail stations, banks, bus entrances and health centres. This decision is important for two reasons. First, machines are machines—they can never replace the problem solving capability of humans. The second is even more important—that of providing opportunity of human interaction if needed. There are situations when the machine simply cannot provide the necessary service to a child or elderly person. We can also understand the importance of human interactions during emergencies. Thus automation is indeed desirable but it has to be implemented effectively and efficiently.
Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan