I found this article via Gavin van Marle of Loadstar. It’s not a surprise that automation may not deliver the results its backers were touting. So much depends on the external systems, such as the computer planning, the labor system, the users’ habits and preferences, and the timing and size of the workload presented. If they’re not all considered and planned together, results will not be as good as they could be.
The labor arguments we see nowadays surrounding automation at ports are another fascinating aspect. There hasn’t been any national conversation here in the US around the relation between automation and jobs. The present political environment here in the US works against it. This is probably true elsewhere as well.
Some jobs probably ought to be taken over by machines. Some probably shouldn’t. And what do we do for the displaced workers, or for workers who want to participate in the automation boom, but don’t have the skills yet? there needs to be a broad conversation around automation and workers.
That’s how I read the Pier 400 controversy at the Port of Los Angeles. The recent turndown of the project by the commission asks for an extended conversation between unions and the port about just this man-machine question and how it should affect the workplaces. It’s a good conversation to have. Intransigent positions aren’t going to help at all.