Monday, 19 August 2019

MfD: Czech Republic needs to get ready for Industry 4.0

22 September 2015

Prague, Sept 21 (CTK) - The Czech Republic needs to get ready for the fourth industrial revolution that may replace 54 percent of jobs in the country with robots, especially in assembly line production, Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes Monday, referring to a British study by the Oxford Martin School and Citigroup.

The new trend will concern all people whose job is based on routine activities, for example those working in administration and middle management, the daily writes.

The Industry and Trade Ministry started preparing a plan that would help the country cope with the radical change. The state needs to have enough qualified people who would be able to occupy the new professions that would replace the old ones in the production process, MfD writes.

The Czech trade unions consider the new industrial revolution known as Industry 4.0 an unavoidable process, to which society must adapt as soon as possible.

Josef Stredula, leader of the country's largest umbrella trade union organisation CMKOS, said the country must avoid the situation of new jobs being created and no people being able to do them.

The CMKOS estimates that approximately 40 percent of jobs may be threatened by automation, Stredula said.

The exact figure is not as important as the fact whether and how smoothly the cancelled jobs would be replaced by new ones.

Stredula said the process would be gradual.

For example, an engineering factory would launch one automatic assembly line and later a second one and, if they prove successful, more would follow after a time. "Gradually, the factory would be deciding what to do with the employees. Many of them would undergo retraining so that they can control the new machines," Stredula said.

Confederation of Industry deputy chairman Radek Spicar said many jobs had been cancelled in the previous industrial revolutions, but even more new jobs were created then.

"A number of positions will certainly cease to exist. Either we will succeed and many new positions will be created, or we will fail and a big part of the positions will not be replaced by new ones," Spicar said.

It is generally assumed that the acquisition of new technology will be a lesser problem than the adaptation of people to the new working conditions, MfD writes.

Among the first plants that have applied Industry 4.0 in the Czech Republic are those of the Skoda Auto car maker. The modernisation process includes more digitisation, automation and use of a high-speed data transfer and analysis, the paper writes.

A document on Industry 4.0 has been worked out for the ministry by a team of the Czech Technical University (CVUT). "We must facilitate the process that would take place anyway, but that would otherwise last longer and cost more," said head of the team, cybernetic professor Vladimir Marik.

Marik said people would take the role of cooperators of machines rather than their operators.

A new course focusing on Industry 4.0 would be taught at CVUT as of the autumn of 2016, he said.

In Industry 4.0, robots communicate with one another via Internet networks, their work can be controlled or planned via this network anytime, and all data on the robots are stored in a cloud. Services, applications and algorithms are dynamically integrated and all necessary data are available in real time, which makes the process more effective, MfD writes.

According to the above mentioned British study, the professions most threatened by the fourth industrial revolution are people working in accommodation and catering services, and transport and warehousing. On the contrary, the least threatened are top managers, teachers and people working in agriculture.

The study predicts that in Europe, Romania will be threatened the most (62 percent of jobs), followed by Croatia (58 percent), while France (50 percent) and Britain (47 percent) will be threatened the least, MfD writes.

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