SXSW 2020

"My Colleague is a Robot": The Blue Collar Future?


Today's news are showing the “end game” of blue collar work: it’s humans vs. machines. While automation will indeed replace human work in some areas, many other fields are facing a very different future scenario: humans and machines working together on the shop floor. While this new kind of teamwork promises exciting outlooks on increasing industrial efficiency, while decreasing strenuous tasks for humans, the new age of tech comes with some ethical questions, too: How do you ensure humans and robots don’t start to “compete” for the same tasks? What does it do if work on the shop floor is being monitored remotely with cameras, and not through a human supervisor in the hall? And how can companies combine human creativity with machine learning to unlock new potentials of innovation?

Related Media


  1. The session will give some examples on how true new industrial revolution takes place where humans and technology manage to succesfully team up!
  2. Smart integration of tech comes with boundless opportunities, as a lot of today's blue collar work is still 20th century design - e.g. in aerospace.
  3. For new industrial technologies to succeed, support of the human workers for it is crucial. The session will have some thoughts on how to manage this.



Roland Gerhards, CEO, ZAL Center of Applied Aeronautical Research

Meta Information:

  • Event: SXSW
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Fantastic Future
  • Track 2
  • Level: Intermediate

Add Comments

comments powered by Disqus

SXSW reserves the right to restrict access to or availability of comments related to PanelPicker proposals that it considers objectionable.