The worst trap that people who are pursuing automation fall into is the desire to automate everything. That’s usually a road to disaster. Automation is supposed to save time and money, but it can wind up costing you both if you don’t carefully consider what you automate.
How Automation Goes Wrong
Elon Musk found this out the hard way. His original dream called for the Model 3 to be built almost entirely by robots. He believed that automation would increase the speed and decrease the costs of his production line. However, as GM found out in the 1980s, when an automated line goes wrong, you wind up automating failure instead of success. Apart from the fact that the failure is happening on a bigger scale than formerly, you must freeze the entire production line while specialists determine its cause(s).
Full automation is possible but the time, money, and effort required to get it right usually don’t end up being worthwhile. It tends to work best with very mature production tasks where every possible contingency is well-known and well-accounted for. More. Jonathan Bartlett, “Be Choosy About What You Automate!” at Mind Matters
Jonathan Bartlett is the Research and Education Director of the Blyth Institute.
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