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I believe in the collaboration between man and machine

Written by Nuskha Semaun on 28 March 2019 for Companies

Acronyms such as IoT, AI, and ML can make it easy to feel overwhelmed by the challenges presented by Industry 4.0 (i4.0). But according to Veerle Lozie, VP of Operations and IT at Melexis, there’s no need to worry. “The opportunities will be huge for everyone”.

Man vs. machine

I4.0 technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, biotech, and nanotech will allow us to connect the physical, biological and digital worlds in new and exciting ways. For companies, this means boosting the efficiency of their operations and workforce. For individuals, this means a more seamless integration between people and technology. For example, advances in artificial intelligence will help smartphone users with everything from managing their schedules to taking better pictures, while self-healing screens will make scratched phone screens a thing of the past.

I don’t believe in doom and gloom. People won’t be replaced by machines and robots; they’ll be enhanced by them. We’re entering an era in which we will closely collaborate and co-create with machines. Yes, machines are taking over some aspects of our lives and some jobs are being automated out of existence. But I firmly believe that i4.0 technologies will create many more opportunities than they destroy, for the betterment of us all.

The speed of change

The world is evolving faster than ever before and one of the hallmarks of the Industry 4.0 era is the exponential rate of change. This represents a huge shift in pace compared with previous revolutions and it forces people and companies to constantly adapt to new realities.

But this challenge shouldn’t be shied away from. We need to embrace change, not run from it. Change is extremely exciting and if you embrace change, you’re no longer afraid of it. Adopting this open mindset allows you to learn continuously and adapt to any situation that might come around.

Continuous learning is key

One of the key features of Industry 4.0 is that we must all become lifelong learners. Lifetime jobs are no longer the norm and most of us can expect to work in different roles throughout our careers. We can also expect our roles to change over time. This means that if we don’t continue to learn, our competences will eventually lose their value. Therefore, we must be willing to undertake lifelong learning now more than ever. I’d argue that this won’t only benefit us in our careers, but it will be good for our mental health, too.

To succeed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we need to find opportunities where we can learn the most. This may mean taking up new roles, reinventing what we do, or constantly reassessing where we’re at throughout our processes and careers. We must continually ask ourselves: What can I do better? What can I do differently?

Given that very few of us will have the same job throughout our life, being able to cope with change will be extremely important. We need to stay curious and remain open to new roles and directions.

Veerle Lozie - Industry 4.0

Growing talent for the innovations of tomorrow

At Melexis, we foster an environment of continuous learning by stimulating our employees to push themselves and broaden their horizons. We set our staff challenging assignments that force them to branch out and work outside of their comfort zones. We give them the freedom to explore and fail, thus giving them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes.

Most importantly, our organization has an ‘active rotation program’ that allows our employees to work in different roles throughout our company. This helps people get used to continuous change and adapt to the challenges that Industry 4.0 will create.

Today, I feel blessed to have so many young graduates entering our company. We frequently listen to them and learn as much as we can about how they view the world. We also communicate to them the ways that our company has grown in the past. This blend of listening and communicating will be a very important element for the future.

Doom & gloom

The first three industrial revolutions all brought previously unimaginable levels of prosperity. I believe we should be positive enough to believe that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will also have an overwhelmingly positive impact on people’s lives. The exponential rate of change presents a new challenge, but I firmly believe in the collaboration between man and machine and I foresee huge opportunities for everyone.

If you’re curious about how you can thrive in the fourth industrial revolution, be sure to watch Veerle Lozie’s full interview here.