Since the development of robots decades ago; automation in car production, ship building, CAD machines, warehousing and many other things became a reality and people have been wondering ever since what the redundant workers will do??
During the 1980’s, when BASIC was a tool for writing computer programs, I was fanatical about them and would often read in the magazines about the ‘paperless office of the future’. More than 30 years have passed and we send reams of paper for re-cycling every week from our offices!!
Back to automation, and in the January 2018 issue of ‘The Marine Professional’, editor Dennis O’neill refers to a statement made by a senior technical executive in the marine industry.
It implied that, at a point in time in the future, ships carrying cargo across the world will need no crew, the docks receiving the cargo will need no operatives, the lorries transporting the goods inland will need no drivers and the warehouses distributing the goods will not need any workers. The central benefit of this extraordinary, yet likely, economic-technological vision appears to be that goods will be cheaper to transport and therefore much cheaper for people to buy.
The obvious question it poses of course is this; ‘if there are no workers earning an income, how will anyone pay for the goods?’
Dennis was highlighting an article in the publication about Autonomous Shipping and the belief of some developers, that in years to come, vessels will be capable of autonomous navigation with little or no input from a human pilot.
With no crew on board, vessels will no longer have a need for a wheelhouse or crew facilities. However, for a variety of reasons, in the future we will have un-manned ships; ships with full manning on board and ships with reduced manning.
It seems that the relevant decision at the time will depend on the ship type.
I want the vessels I cruise on to be fully manned, so that I can supply them Solar Solve Marine’s Brand leading Type Approved products.