Industry 4.0 in Costa Rica, and in the rest of the world, is in the process of becoming one of the greatest transformations that has been experienced since the beginning of civilization. This is because, in the coming years, much of the work that humans now perform will be replaced by robots.
Industry 4.0 in Costa Rica and the world over will be increasingly comprised of “smart factories’ in which machines are augmented with wireless connectivity and sensors that are connected to a production system that can make decisions on its own. The move towards increasingly automated manufacturing could potentially affect the lives of 50% of the present Costa Rican labor force.
Although the incursion of high technology and automation in manufacturing has been going on for several decades, the reality now is that robots are becoming cheaper and smarter. For example, in 2010, an industrial robot in China cost the equivalent of 5.3 years of wages and benefits of a worker. Today that cost for that same industrial robot has already dropped to less than a year. Current technologies that replace humans enable robots to learn simultaneously from their successes and their mistakes.
Industry 4.0 in Costa Rica and the rest of the globe will bring about “technological unemployment.” Experts believe that, more than disappearing, professions are going to be significantly transformed. For instance, in the coming years, instruction by humans may radically change in the era of Google and teaching robots.
In a new world, in which mechanical work will be replaced with artificial intelligence, creativity stands as a differentiating factor. Faced with a scenario such as the one Industry 4.0 in Costa Rica will create, what is the future that awaits engineering and how will the profession be transformed?
Industry 4.0 in Costa Rica Will Usher in a Golden Age in Engineering
A golden age in engineering is approaching. This is so because more and more technicians and professionals will be required to create and maintain a new economy that is comprised of intelligent machines and systems.
Countries with a sophisticated manufacturing base, such as that found in Costa Rica, will need to develop engineers through prolonged training and in a continuous learning cycle. For this reason, the technical educational system must demand that every engineer have a technical specialty and work experience as a prerequisite to obtaining a degree.
Given the new demands placed upon Costa Rica, the country must adopt a German-style “dual training” system that allows the best technicians to become superior technicians and the best of these to become engineers. Additionally, Costa Rica must strengthen humanistic training in engineering. The purpose of this would be to create a work ethic that guarantees the development of social and environmental awareness in the analysis of projects.
Through the coming of Industry 4.0 in Costa Rica, the nation’s education system must awaken a passion to build a better world and to achieve social sustainability. There are three traits that should characterize engineers of the future in the country. These are:
- The ability to solve complex problems;
- Critical thinking skills;
- The ability to manage people.
Undoubtedly, Industry 4.0 in Costa Rica will require the reinvention of engineering education programs in order to keep pace with technological advancement.
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