Technology has been a part of the human experience from the very beginning. It has assisted the species in providing the necessities for survival and has helped humans build civilizations. From the simplest of technologies, such as learning to make iron from the ore in rocks, to the inventions developed from man’s ventures into space, technology has created numerous changes in the way humans work, play and interact. Here are a few ways that technology has converted hands-on human labor into a more complex technological process:
1 – Nursing
No career has been more affected by the widespread technological advances than the profession of nursing. In the past, nurses had to stay at patients’ bedsides to ensure that any change in medical condition that might indicate a negative development was noted and brought to the attention of physicians. Today, patients’ vital signs are carefully tracked around-the-clock with electronic devices. The data collected from monitoring critical patients’ vital signs can be sent to a central nurses station or even to handheld devices that alert nursing personnel of the slightest change in the individual’s condition. The data on patients that was once collected by hands-on interaction can now be done automatically. Inter-departmental data can be share more easily, and some procedures can even be done remotely, bringing more comprehensive care to individuals in need of medical treatment far from healthcare institutions. In the future, many experts indicate that artificial intelligence will provide “care robots” that take even more of the hands-on tasks from nurses, so that they can focus on the more complex medical needs of their patients.
2 – Construction
Construction has always been considered one of the most hands-on fields of endeavor. Today, however, you are as likely to find technology implemented to improve efficiency in this field as in any other. Methods of architectural design, material management, accounting, security and other hands-on work can be integrated into computer software to make these tasks easier. ERP, which stands for enterprise resource planning, is a type of erp software for the construction industrythat allows businesses to computerize tasks such as job costing, project management, inventory control, delivery management and payroll for maximum efficiency in construction projects. Previously, problems of material delivery, cost projecting, change orders and coordination of teams have hampered the ability of staying on schedule and on budget. These systems can help to reduce costs, eliminate waste and improve employee efficiency.
3 – Manufacturing
The new technologies have caused numerous changes in manufacturing, with a variety now being done robotically, rather than by using hands-on workers. These processes have allowed products to be made more precisely and more economically, producing higher profit margins and better inventory management. In addition, many of hazards to employees doing hands-on work can be eliminated, reducing the cost of workers compensation premiums and downtime. Cloud computing, 3D printing and the implementation of nanotechnology are used routinely in manufacturing processes, reducing IT staffing, maintenance personnel and inventory workers. Individuals working in these fields must continue to update their skills in order to be proficient in programming and maintaining these innovative systems. In the future, the amount of labor that will require hands-on work will continue to decrease, and the demand for individuals who are familiar with computerized systems will increase proportionally.
Technology continues to make inroads in a variety of fields in the economy, increasing efficiency and improving outcomes. Typically, the changes come quickly, one expanding and improving on the previous one. Each innovation creates an opportunity to find ways to make labor easier and more profitable. Individuals who implement these technologies in their businesses and learn to use them effectively will continue to have the competitive edge.