This series of six blogs considers key implications of the industry 4.0 revolution for health and safety, and practical challenges likely to be faced by organisations when looking to exploit industry 4.0 technologies to deliver improvements in operating performance, including health and safety performance.
This blog, the second in the series, considers how the emergence of industry 4.0 technologies and its use in parallel with artificial intelligence and machine learning is heralding a major shift in how health and safety is practiced in modern workplaces, enabling a much greater focus to be placed on prevention of future accidents, rather than learning from past ones.
In the previous article, I considered some of the key implications of the industry 4.0 technological revolution for health and safety and the aspirations for organisations to deliver continuous improvements in health and safety performance. The rise in use of industry 4.0 technologies and rise in use of AI based technologies within industrial operations are intimately linked. The data flows that characterise the functioning of industry 4.0 technologies provide the foundations for being able to use AI to support and even directly control the actioning of industrial tasks. The desired endpoints in using each technology are the same, namely the delivery of more efficient industrial operations.
The focus of this article is on the AI dimension of industry 4.0; a perspective is offered on how the emergence of industry 4.0 and AI in parallel, is opening up opportunities for more proactive industrial decision-making, specifically in relation to how health and safety is practiced.
The research domain of artificial intelligence is a very fertile and diverse area of R&D currently, tapping expertise across numerous disciplines to address specific research challenges, including computer science, mathematics, statistics and data science, to name just a few. These disciplines operate in a rich terminological space, with terms often used loosely and interchangeably. For this reason it is felt useful as part of this article to start by offering a number of definitions of commonly used terms.