2016 – summer Issue

Leader Message: A Computer as a Teammate?

Early in my career, I viewed teamwork by the text book definition, working closely together with a group to accomplish a common goal. Often the idea of team suggested competition and an expectation of winners and losers. Over the years, my idea of teamwork has evolved to see teams as less competitive and more collaborative. Today, calling our clients and vendors teammates seems like the most natural thing in the world. Viewing them as part of our team, and ourselves as part of their teams, creates some great results.

While recently watching a TED Talk video, my view was expanded yet again. The speaker suggested teamwork involves both computers and humans working together. An example was shared of a chess match in which humans and computers teaming together could ?beat? either humans or computers working alone.

While watching that video, I couldn?t help think of how we can apply this concept of humans and computers working together on the plant floor. Using computers to gather more data off the plant floor, along with the analysis of that data by both humans and software, will ultimately ?beat? either humans or computers alone. With the ongoing dialog of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Big Data, Smart Manufacturing, etc., working together with computers and humans to gather and analyze data will become standard practice. By combining the strengths of each and being innovative in the application, we will be better ?working together? than alone.