Siemens and Schaeffler test AI to alleviate shortage of workers

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German manufacturing giants Siemens and Schaeffler are testing the use of artificial intelligence for machine control as a solution to the shortage of skilled workers, writes German news agency DPA.

As a co-pilot, AI should help to programme machines faster and more easily than human counterparts, the companies said on Tuesday.

The combination of human expertise and AI that works with natural language processing tools makes it possible to produce software “at a completely different level of speed and efficiency,” Schaeffler chief executive Klaus Rosenfeld said.

Schaeffler is major supplier of automotive parts.

Particularly in view of the shortage of programmers, the use of AI is “a very promising development,” he said. “And it is exactly what we need to create sustainable jobs in high-wage locations.”

This gives us courage “that we can counter the eternal criticism that Germany is being left behind” and is “a huge opportunity to keep jobs here,” Rosenfeld said.

The AI application is a co-pilot and not an autopilot, said Cedrik Neike, member of Siemens’ managing board and head of its Digital Industries division.

“It won’t replace jobs, but it will replace the repetitive, boring parts of the work.”

He estimates the potential efficiency gain from AI in the industrial sector at 15% to 50%, depending on the specific case. “We now have to show that we can achieve this,” he said.

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