“Many of us will live to see the day where we have physical, non-human colleagues,” says Matt Beane, a researcher at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Beane’s research addresses what he calls “The Avatar Economy”, where remote workers operate robots. Such robots are already used for tasks which require highly skilled labour and physical presence but where it’s either too dangerous or extremely expensive to use human beings. Aerial and ground-based robots were used in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, for example, to help assess system and structural integrity and evaluate demolition plans. According to Beane, the next wave of robotic workers will be in retail, security and remote supervision of manufacturing operations. Telepresence robots like those made by DoubleRobotics (and their human operators) will help you to find the right TV in a retail store or allow an operations supervisor in Chicago to do quality control on an assembly line in Shanghai.
Understanding long-term trends is an important tool in identifying opportunities and risks. STEEP analysis looks at the world through five different perspectives – Social, Technological, Economic, Ecological, and Political.
The following are the major themes that are presently shaping the future...
Manufacturing the future: The next era of global growth and innovation, a major report from the McKinsey Global Institute, presents a clear view of how manufacturing contributes to the global economy today and how it will probably evolve over the coming decade.