How the Digital Transformation can put humans at the centre of robotics and automation – collaboration between humans and machines for better quality products and services

Period: 2019-2020

Funding institution: European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)

Link: Published Study (EESC Website) 

Amount: 41.000 Euro

Digital Transformation (DT) is changing the economy, remodelling the business activities, transforming the world of work and, more in general, affecting common daily activities such as communicating, shopping, researching. Despite the remarkable effort of the EU in encouraging the use of advanced technologies, EU businesses are not currently taking full advantage of them or of the innovative business models offered by the collaborative economy. To avoid missing out the growth of the DT potential, policy makers and business leaders must be prepared for it and devote more effort to build future societies permeated by a sustainable and inclusive DT.

The present study demonstrates that to achieve this goal organizations must embrace DT putting people at its centre, which also implies that the application of these technologies should not only be consistent with legal and regulatory prescriptions, but also be coherent to ethical principles and ensure that their implementations avoid unintended harm.

Champions of a positive DT implementation, able not only to replace humans in certain tasks but to empower them, have been searched and investigated. Despite the diversity of needs and objectives, all the successful cases shared clarity of objectives, co-design practices, wide and tailored communication to the workers, as well as extensive involvement of the management.

Finally, from the results of the field investigations, the study identifies a set of operational recommendations for both DT adopters and policy makers.

The research team who developed the study belongs to the following partnership:

WISE role: Partner in charge of the research activities related to the policy observatory; Co-author of the study

AB.ACUS role: Co-author of the study