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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert

Cobot. Image: SAP Image Library (Royalty Free)

Industry 5.0 is human-centric, sustainable, and resilient. The future of work creates endless growth and development opportunities for people, wherein industry resilience creates the foundations for adaptability to new and changing market conditions. Meanwhile, it is required to develop strategies to remain competitive and supportive across all organizational levels.

A worker's well-being and performance become the center of industry 5.0, supporting productivity within ecological boundaries and keeping sustainable practices to avoid overexploitation of natural resources while protecting humans from harmful, destructive, and losing jobs conditions.

There is a long-time concern about being replaced by a machine due to rapid technological development. People believe that fewer jobs will be available in the future since most of them will be replaced by robots. But what happens if we think about robots as collaborative tools instead a replacement for current workers? In this context, cobots are collaborative robots whose primary purpose is to work with humans and create a safer, more accurate, and robust workplace where human-machine collaboration increases success without affecting the labor market while supporting long-lasting repetitive tasks.

There is a premise about creativity. It is expected that humans contribute to work with creative ideas while cobots complement those activities alongside hard work and repetitive and precise tasks. The desired characteristics of a cobot are easy configuration, low maintenance, and the ability to care about its human peers; indeed, taking care of human interaction reflects the need to sense, determine proximity and become able to track their human peers to accommodate to closed work environments avoiding unhealthy situations that could create hazardous working conditions, these abilities include speed and force dependent on sensors and mastered by their human peer movements; supported by Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and well-defined safety zones where continuous training and corrections increase the accuracy to work side by side with humans. To support accurate, evolving, and consistent cobot training, the supporting systems must process high data volumes with pre-defined monitoring levels to achieve the replication goal. It is essential to review, evolve and supervise these learning algorithms allowing humans to provide creative inputs, create the best human-machine experience, and support a work-life balance.

Achieving training via demonstration like human-to-human shadowing establishes the foundation for co-bot training and development, whose mimic and natural following increases the success of achieving completeness. Imitation movements from pre-recorded activities, real-life situations, and guided movements provide valuable insights to train and increase cobot accuracy, whose initial aim was proposed manufacturing. At the same time, the application became broader to other industries and environments.

Creativity, empathy, and trust are critical factors for jobs with less risk of being replaced, where employers must focus on putting their workforce towards activities with high creativity demand while creating the foundation to transmit the message about the importance of humans at work, disrupting the misconception where machines are on the way to replace the existing workforce. Productivity and mental health become supported when people feel safe at work and free to deliver without the intangible pressures of job loss. The corporate´s social responsibility becomes reflected in new job creation based on business demand, where people-centric organizations open the possibilities to creativity without repetitive and mechanical tasks.

To become part of the fifth industrial revolution, joint actions from people, educational institutions, enterprises, and authorities must be in place to contribute and become drivers of change. The people-centric activities must increase the people´s curiosity, development, and educational needs to stay up to date and actively contribute to development.

The corporate culture becomes another factor to consider due organization´s behavior evolution related to human-robot interaction and new management requirements, including the necessary laws and regulations to support the evolving human-robot interaction.

Teamwork increases corporate mindfulness and a sense of belonging, where collaboration, idea sharing, and open communication increase people's attraction and retention, supported by trust and transparency.

Conclusion and takeaways

The future of work is timeless and placeless, supported by solid engagement between the technology and the worker, where technology serves the people and replaces repetitive tasks, opening spaces for creativity and development wherein people-centric activities support the individuals´ creativity and teamwork to increase their well-being and strong mental health reflected in awards like the best place to work.

Further reading:

The future of work powered by SAP - Trend report 2023