Originally a term used almost exclusively in the industrial domain, automation is now being applied in most aspects of life. Yet the rationale for automating and its implications is often not clearly understood. This talk will explore the origins of automation and examine what is encompassed by the term today. It will explore the rationale, benefits and downsides of automating - including implications for the future workforce - and will attempt to provide some signposting around whether we should automate, and if so when and where. A range of industrial automation developments from more than thirty years experience will be used to support this presentation.
Duncan McFarlane is Professor of Industrial Information Engineering at the Cambridge University Engineering Department, and head of the Distributed Information & Automation Laboratory within the Institute for Manufacturing. He has been involved in the design and operation of industrial automation and information systems for twenty years.
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