In a recent article on MRO Network, author Henry Canaday outlined the future of MROs as “human-machine teaming.” We couldn’t agree more.
We write a lot about technology, and the ways that it is helping to advance and evolve the aerospace industry, but the core focus of this industry is people – whether you’re talking about the innovative minds that engineer ever-more efficient aircraft, the manufacturing teams that turn those designs into reality, the expert hands that perform the maintenance and repairs, the relationships that undergird the supply chain or the passengers that keep the whole show going. And we have a lot of faith in the people that drive this industry.
Technology provides a great set of tools, but if you lean too heavily on those tools and stop thinking of them as a support system, you can very quickly be forced to remember the all-important role of humans.
“Machines are good at certain things, people at other things, so you need teaming,” Stacey Dixon, who directs advanced research for the Director of National Intelligence, is quoted in the article as saying.
This article also reminded us of a quote from Tesla CEO Elon Musk: “Excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. Humans are underrated.”
For all its recent PR nightmares, Tesla does produce a superior electric vehicle, but in the quote above, Musk was admitting that one of the mistakes Tesla made – which led to costly (and well-publicized) production delays for its much-anticipated Model 3 – was relying too much on automation and forgetting about the fact that, even in a highly technical field like manufacturing, incorporating people in the process can increase both efficiency and reliability.
We are excited about the many technologies that are currently disrupting aerospace, from blockchain to drones to additive manufacturing, machine learning and augmented reality (AR), but we are also cautious about making sure that these technologies are supporting and not replacing the human ingenuity, creativity and expertise that has always made aerospace such an exceptional industry.