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Expert: J'can engineers not threatened by robots

Published:Monday | September 17, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer

The growing trend of robots taking over jobs now occupied by humans, as a result of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, will in no way render local engineers useless, according to vice-president of marketing at the Jamaica Institute of Engineers' (JIE), Godfrey Boyd.

Speaking to The Gleaner yesterday at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston, during the launch of Engineers' Week 2018, Boyd suggested that the full roll-out of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will always create a need for engineers.

"I'm not threatened by robots. Many years ago, I studied in Sweden and during my tenure at Volvo SSAB, I saw some of the parts assembly being done by robots. But one thing to understand is that as we automate, somebody has to do the maintenance, the programming and parts replacements. Yes, some of the work may shift, but automation opens up other avenues of engineering," he said.

"From my standpoint, I am not seeing Jamaican engineers being afraid of robotics. In fact, we have had students at the University of Technology looking at limb replacements for amputees. Engineers don't need to fear. Engineering technology constantly grows."

Boyd intimated that Engineers' Week 2018 provides opportunity for engineers and general citizens to learn about cutting-edge technology, along with changes and issues affecting local engineers.

It is being held in collaboration with the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers and a host of sponsors, including Jamaica National Bank, China Harbour Engineering Company and the Urban Development Corporation.


Engineering competition


Engineers' Week 2018 coincides with JIE's 40th year of existence. Being held under the theme 'Engineering Our Future, through Celebrating Our Heritage', it will examine a number of things such as energy and technology and its usage in the Jamaican landscape.

Students from various universities will participate in an engineering competition, where participants will use macaroni to engineer models of various structures.

On Friday, there will be a contract administration workshop. On Sunday, there will be a tour of the Jamaica Public Service 190 Power Plant in Old Harbour, St Catherine.