Shortage of skilled workers: AI with natural language should help
Programmers are in short supply, but the industry has a growing need. Artificial intelligence that can be operated with natural language could help. A pilot project is starting at Siemens and Schaeffler.
Siemens and Schaeffler is testing the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for machine control. As a so-called copilot, it is intended to help program machines faster and easier, as the companies announced on Tuesday. The combination of human competence and AI that works with natural language makes it possible to produce the software “at a completely different level of speed and efficiency,” said Schaeffler CEO Klaus Rosenfeld.
Especially given the shortage of skilled programmers, the use of AI is “a very promising development,” emphasized Rosenfeld. “And it is exactly what we need to create sustainable jobs in high-wage locations.” This gives courage “that we can counter the constant criticism that Germany has been left behind” and is “a huge opportunity to keep jobs here.”
Workers are not in danger
The application is a co-pilot and not an autopilot, emphasizes Siemens board member and head of the Digital Industries division, Cedrik Neike. “It won’t replace jobs, but it’s intended to replace the repetitive, boring parts of the job.” He estimates the possible efficiency gain through AI in the industrial sector – depending on the specific case – to be between 15 and 50 percent. “We now have to show that we can do this,” is how he describes the purpose of the pilot project with Schaeffler. However, it will then be possible to scale such applications quickly.
Rosenfeld describes the process: In the future, the machine expert will write in a text document what the machine needs to do, which will go to the AI chat box, which will then create 80 percent finished software at record speed. “If you do that today, there are a lot of manual steps in between. It takes time, it takes time, it takes time,” emphasizes the Schaeffler boss.
In addition to speed, the AI also offers documentation of software development, can help with troubleshooting and even suggest solutions itself. “This is a completely new collaboration between man and machine,” emphasizes Neike. “Humans used to have to speak the language of the machine, now the machine can respond in our language.”
As a result, AI acts like an “intelligence amplifier” and makes it possible to operate more machines, says Neike. “More factories are being built in the world, and there are fewer and fewer skilled workers who really have this automation know-how. And that’s why you need this simplification so that you can solve the problems more quickly.”