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Machines are not the end of work, but rather its future

Today, some 15 billion devices are connected to the internet worldwide. In the year 2020, it will probably be 50 billion. Things of all types, not just computers, are linked to one another. Our world is changing and fantastic possibilities are opening up.

Whether driver assistance technologies or networked appliances, new technologies are making our lives easier. New technologies are making our lives easier. That applies as much to our private lives as it does to our everyday professional lives.

Advances in automation and robotics will have a massive impact on operational processes. ( While machines can take on many tasks, they certainly can’t replace people completely. In many cases, work will take on the form of close collaboration between human and machine. If machines take over heavy physical work or routine tasks under the direction of people, then they will provide real added value. But when it comes to creativity, strategic thinking or empathy, robots will be no match for a person – at least not for a very long time. Both humans and machines have their strengths. It is up to us to combine them harmoniously and, in so doing, make our world simpler, more flexible and more liveable.

Digitalization is not an end in itself. It must deliver added value and make life easier. In many industries, such as the logistics business, it achieves this by making procedures faster, more transparent and more accurate. ( New technologies offer opportunities for better networking, which is crucial for shaping our global world in a sustainable way.

As a neurobiologist and head of a global logistics company, I am familiar with both science and business. In both worlds, success is only achieved by people who can manage complex processes and are prepared to learn throughout life. We must continually reinvent ourselves in order to keep up with the pace of change in our world and to take advantage of the opportunities.

Ultimately, every person wants to make a difference in life – for one’s family, company and for society as a whole. Machines can relieve some of the pressures on people, so that we can create added value where human abilities are required: empathy, creativity and communication.

If kept fit, our brain can keep learning all our lives. With child-like curiosity, it can keep making new connections and trying new things. In this regard, new technologies can be intelligent helpers in the working world as well. ( Because work surely won’t disappear with machines – it will just become different. If we go about it wisely, then the working environment of tomorrow will become more diversified and more human. In a world in which the boundaries between work and private life are blurring more and more, this is an appealing idea.

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