App. B—Commissioned Background Papers . 109
optimal functioning of each production unit, increasingly effective integration of all components of production, and increasingly effective co-ordination and control of other non-production operations as well -- as was illustrated in Figure 1.
Robots have been and will, of course,
continue to be introduced simply as
direct replacements creasing proportion from the continuing which are likely to components.
for individual workers performing manual tasks.
But an in-
of their applications in the development and spreading of require comparably improving
future are likely to derive programmable automation systems, capabilities in their robot
Accordingly, the key issues involved in increasing the contribution of pro- grammable automation and robotics to strengthening the international competitive- ness of domestic manufacturing industries would seem to center around:
the adequacy of the rate of development of the technological capabilities
of programmable automation of progress abroad; the adequacy of the rate of diffusio
relative to the
n of programmable automation systems
and of robotics relative to their capacity to improve productive efficiency
and cost competitiveness, and also relative to such diffusion rates among foreign competitors; the relative effects of slower and faster rates of development and dif- fusion of such systems and of robotics on the competitiveness of various
domestic industries as well as on requirements; and 4. the identification of the nature,
their employment levels and capital
sources and relative importance of the
influential determinants of changes
in the rate of development and dif-
fusion of programmable automation systems and robotics. The formulation of effective approaches to encouraging fuller realization of the constructive potentials offered by programmable automation systems and robotics would seem to require prior careful exploration of these issues.
SOME POLICY NEEDS AND ALTERNATIVES
On the Adequacy of Development Rates
Until now, most of the mation and robots have been
development focussed on the already
efforts concerned with programmable auto- performing existing tasks more effectively recognized needs of managements and the