In this early part of the 21st century, a growing number of anxieties crystallize around the use of robots and automation, both in the workplace and in our homes. We worry about robots taking our jobs, becoming smarter than us…and eventually replacing us altogether.
Suffice to read the constant stream of headlines in the tech and mainstream press on this topic, with never ending new angles found by journalists to address the same basic fear: robots can make us all redundant and useless.
One article, for instance, looks at how coders in the Silicon Valley have managed to code themselves out of a job, another at how Alexa will be able to manipulate our feelings and increasingly play a central role with our kids.
Yet another more optimistic article views a possible path for the coexistence of humans and robots. And this was just over the last few days.
At the IEC, experts have been developing International Standards in the field of automation for a number of years. IEC TC 65: Industrial-process measurement, control and automation, works on specifications for equipment and systems operating with electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic, mechanical or other systems of measurement and/or control in plants and enterprises.
The devices concerned are measurement tools, analyzing equipment, actuators, and programmable logic controllers, to name but a few. By standardizing these processes, experts from around the world make sure that humans stay in charge of the momentous changes happening in the workplace.
Among the many International Standards published by the TC, IEC 62419, Control technology – Rules for the designation of measuring instruments or IEC Technical Specification (TS) 62832-1, which establishes a framework for the digital factory are key in helping individuals master these new automation technologies.
More recently, ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee(JTC) 1 set up a subcommittee (SC) to deal more specifically with issues relating to artificial intelligence. One of the roles of SC 42 is to provide guidance to JTC 1, IEC, and ISO committees developing Artificial Intelligence applications.
IEC is a co-founder of the newly created Open Community for Ethics in Autonomous and Intelligent Systems (OCEANIS), which will deal with the key ethical issues related to artificial intelligence. OCEANIS will provide a high level global forum for discussion, debate and collaboration for organizations interested in the development and use of standards for the advancement of autonomous and intelligent systems.