How does the UK feel about working with robots?

26th June 2018
Alex Lynn

A survey of over 2,000 UK workers has shown that many are unconcerned about the impact new technology may have on their current job roles.

The research, conducted by Industrial Vision Systems (IVS), found that 39% would be happy if a factory used artificial intelligence robots to make decisions on quality control and a further 10% would be very happy.

However, in contrast, the research also found some stark misconceptions about the impact robots and artificial intelligence can have in aiding productivity in the workplace. A quarter of employees stated that if they had a robot colleague assisting them at work, they would feel threatened that they might take their job. Twenty two percent also said that they would be sad that it's potentially one less person to talk to in the workplace and another 18% said that they would be afraid the robot would make a mistake.

In comparison, just 11% said that they were confident that the job would be done well if they had a robot colleague assisting them at work, and 13% were generally happy with the thought.

IVS aims to provide vision systems for robots which enable companies to enhance their productivity by utilising robots to assist human workers with inspection processes

Earl Yardley, IVS Director, stated: “This relieves the human worker from what you may call more commonplace work, which means they are then deployed to higher value tasks within the workplace. In the future, production inspection will include space for an operator and a robot to work in partnership as part of the quality control process of manufacturing.”

Having considered the survey findings, IVS believes that working with collaborative robots has the added advantage of working safely and efficiently in workspaces currently occupied by humans and that the current misconception of working with vision enabled robots could hinder productivity levels in various sectors and industries.

Yardley added: “These survey results are interesting as we genuinely thought we had crossed to a point where people had started to grasp the benefits that working with automation and robotics can bring. This survey provides us with the opportunity to highlight to UK workers that they shouldn’t be afraid that they are going to be replaced by vision robotics. In fact, the opposite could be said. Collaborative robots are designed so that the robot and human can work side by side without barriers. By offering ready-to-run inspection solutions utilising robots and vision in tandem, we are opening a new era for real-time machine vision inspection in manufacturing.”

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