Automation continues to transform the farming and the car-making industries. It is enough evidence that robotic technology is the missing antidote required to heal the fractured soul of our tech-crippled planet. The current levels of robotic technology can now account for half the work input used to be the responsibility of humans. It is all possible through the power of automation. Thus as with every coin toss, there must be a head and a tail. The tail here is the loss of jobs in the society over the next decade. This article seeks to narrate the possible outcomes of advanced technology concerning essential instances like climate change.
The world society is voicing it as the Fourth Industrial Revolution or more specifically ‘Industry 4.0’. The means of productive mechanization during the first industrial revolution was through the use of steam power. The second industrial revolution applied the use of electric power as a means of mass-producing products. Automated production came to light in the course of the third industrial revolution after the introduction of computers. We are currently at the onset of the fourth industrial revolution. Our way of living, working, and interacting is slowly changing due to the presence of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Virtual Reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT). The high rise of automation and intelligent systems are both a promise and a questionable compromise on transforming the lives of humans and the new role of humans.
The Climate Change Dilemma
What does advanced technology have in store for climate change? There is no straightforward way to answer such a question. On the positive side of things, the innovations from such advanced technologies have the potential to cause a significant reduction in Greenhouse gas emissions. It afterwards produces unprecedented data and levels of insight useful in mitigating climate change. On the other hand, the lack of proper considerations could lead to mass automation, which is not a good idea. Thus it can cause an increase in consumption and emissions.
The environmental impact of mass automation needs a visual presentation. An example case would be the Agriculture and Cars sector, where the human workforce became a substitute for machinery.
Cars For All
The birth of the 20th Century made sure that only the reach could have cars as their play toys, making it a fairy tale for the average individual. However, Henry Ford soon after pitched a perfected assembly line concept. The result was an undisputed dominance of nearly half the American Automobile Market.
Thus the evolution of Cars before Ford was more of an artisan product. A team of skilled craftsmen individually built cars by hand. It was a sequence of finishing a single vehicle and moving on to the next one on a queue. Ford came with his configuration process where specific assembly processes were under multiple active stations. Thus the order of assembly made sure the adherence of the manufacturing process sequences continues as planned.
Automation is currently stepping up the manufacturing process from Ford’s initial approach. The human assembling team are taking a step back for the much more efficient robotic workers. These robots and their liaised technologies under the umbrella of industry 4.0 offer much more efficiency in the factories’ energy management schematics. Supply chains get better management through reliable data. The manufacturers now have a hack on how to manage entire cars products’ lifecycle through reduced waste and emissions. It applies to the initially required metals and minerals to the transportation energy for the market products.
The Huge Environmental Impact of Farming
Ford’s cars simulate the importance of mechanizing development. The case of combined harvesters and tractors are example proofs of how minimal labour input can produce more food. The rise in the world population and food demand is subsequently causing environmental degradation. Increased greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural activities have a large share in this plight. Thus there needs to be a way of improving efficiency and reducing emissions attached to food production.
The same fate that fell upon the car industry is soon to catch up with the agricultural sector through smart technologies and mass automation. The robots are taking the place of human labour in harvesting, pest control, and watering as part of their takeover on agricultural tasks. It is only a matter of time before the tractors to become autonomous. Production efficiency and space maximization are under the objective of fully automated vertical farms currently under construction. Other emerging technologies and innovations include the off-grip renewable energy systems that promise functional efficiency and reduced emissions.
The Rebound Effect
Reduced emissions and a healthy environment are some promises from these tech developments. However, resource efficiency and improved energy do not translate to reduced environmental impacts. The opposite is true as there seems to be an increase in the environmental impact. Several commentators thus define ‘rebound effect’ as increased consumption regardless of improved technology already in place.
Efficiency savings have fr example made cars more affordable, and the more they are on the road, the more the output emissions. Even the zero-emission electric vehicles are not as safe as emissions still find an association with electricity, disposal, and production supplies. The efficient production of more food makes the consumption of cheaply produced food like red meat agents of biodiversity and climate change.
Thus the increase in smart technologies and automation is a societal promise to liberate the humans from their mundane state. It is just a matter of managing the technological revolution so as not to upset the environmental balance. Managing consumption in the presence of latest technological revolution will create an environmental sustainability movement. Need to dive deeper into the robotic world? Read more.