Artificial intelligence is transforming manufacturing, and federal policies shouldn’t get in the way, NAM Director of Human Resources and Innovation Policy Julia Bogue told the Department of Commerce last week.
Four key areas: Manufacturers are chiefly concerned about AI in four areas.
- Safety: “AI is broadly used in the factory setting to prevent injury by making tasks safer,” Bogue pointed out. “AI is also used to prevent future injury by studying repetitive movement that could lead to torn rotator cuffs, wear on knee cartilage and other injuries caused over time.”
- Training: AI is also revolutionizing training for workers, teaching them how to complete tasks and learn new procedures while on the job
- Efficiency: AI aids efficiency in a number of ways, including through predictive maintenance for manufacturing equipment. It can predict when a part will need to be replaced, so that maintenance can be scheduled at the least disruptive time. “An example of this is utilizing AI to monitor fan vibration to calculate when the fan will need to be replaced,” Bogue noted.
- Product design and development: “AI can be used to make products safer, improve quality and improve efficiency,” Bogue said.
Regulations: “Regulation should not restrict innovation or competitiveness, as the NAM believes the growth of AI represents an opportunity for manufacturers,” said Bogue. Manufacturers understand the need for careful, smart regulation, she added.
- In a recent survey by the Manufacturing Leadership Council (the NAM’s digital transformation arm), 75.9% of survey respondents said that “manufacturers should adopt a code of ethics or conduct” for the use of AI.
How to do it: The federal government should tailor its regulations to different sectors, evaluating the risks of particular use cases instead of applying a single standard, said Bogue.
- As the agency conducts its analysis, it should also consider that “our present understanding of risks, costs and benefits may be limited because technology lends itself to future unanticipated breakthroughs and applications.”
Further reading: Interested in learning how manufacturers can apply AI technologies to their operations? Connect with the MLC to learn more—and consider signing up for its annual conference, Rethink, coming up soon on June 26–28 in Marco Island, Florida. Virtual attendance is also an option!