We no longer live in the era when artificial intelligence is something that only science fiction authors write about. From Google to Facebook, companies are busy with research and testing. Anyone who has shopped online has probably had their first own encounter with AI in the form of chatbots. Programs that build on artificial intelligence are making headway in the logistics sector as well, or that would seem to be the findings of the 2017 LOGISTIC trend index.
Artificial intelligence: The mood at logistics companies
The research project published by the Transport Logistic trade fair saw one hundred managers and experts from Germany’s transport and logistics industry asked about the issues which were of key importance for many exhibitors and visitors at this year’s leading fair.
One of these issues was the wide-ranging topic of artificial intelligence. While the majority of respondents (81%) believe that artificial intelligence, AI for short, should not relieve logistics and transport sector employees of every type of work, it should certainly be a source of assistance.
Looking at that angle, 85% of respondents are getting themselves mentally ready for creating the necessary AI-related expertise and basics within their companies, thereby setting the stage for people and machines to work hand in hand.
Artificial intelligence in the workplace
At the same time, the sector wants to assess what market opportunities this new technology offers, as borne out by the responses of 70% of the experts and managers. AI is likely to play a particularly important role regarding self-driving vehicles. In the cars and trucks of tomorrow, AI will be responsible for monitoring the vehicle’s surrounding, assessing the conditions of traffic on the road, and reacting to them intelligently. It could also be used for logging how traffic is moving and display the best way for the vehicle to make it to its destination. Warehouses are another place where AI could be used, for example by people involved in managing stock levels and orders.
Accepting artificial intelligence
Alongside technical challenges, there is another issue that will plays a key role when making any decisions to put artificial intelligence to work in the logistics industry: What are acceptance levels like among staff? At present, 70% of respondents estimate that the attitude among their company workforce is more on the hostile side, something likely to be motivated by a fear of being replaced. This isn’t an unusual reaction, and it often occurs when new technology is on the rise.
Creating new programs for initial and further vocational training could be one solution to this problem. These would bring employees into contact with AI in a practical, work-related setting and so help tackle their misgivings about artificial intelligence. It would also give them the opportunity to see that this form of technology can be a source of help for so many tasks and processes at work.