Mixing IT skills with technical skills

by Nicolas Kohout

Reading previous issues of welder destiny achieved to convince me about what I've been thinking of for quite a long time; we really need to establish synergies between fields of expertise.
LASER ultrasonic example is a pretty good one, as you say we still need some miniaturization of the technology to integrate it efficiently "in a welder's hand".
However, we can start working on it from now (even without those electronic skills) using some IT skills, especially works on AI and industrial vision.
In this case at least one kind of AI would be necessary: an AI recognizing and interpreting datas returned by all the sensor in use (LASER ultrasonic equipment, cameras, thermometers, ...) in order to provide welder with "sorted" information he can make use of.
However, if you plan to use it with robots, then you will need at least "a second kind of AI": the one replacing welder brain, which will be able to interpret datas sorted by the first and decide how to adapt paramaters such as speed, intensity and so on...

Those skills are clearly related to IT field which is at the moment not really teached along with other fields such as welding, what is the solution to learn it efficiently without quitting a job? In my opinion, that's one of the upcoming challenges of my generation.

Perhaps it's a great idea for a startup which should be founded by at least a welding engineer, IT engineers (AI specialists, data scientists) and robotics engineer. That list of course is in my opinion a very -very- short list of the essential "basic" competencies required for such a project.

Are Google, Amazon, Facebook, ... the future of welding industry ?

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Mar 02, 2017
Love Your Thinking
by: Niekie

I absolutely LOVE your thinking Nicolas. I think that people have been so focused on the downsides of technology in terms of job losses, that they are missing the huge potential in actually becoming involved.

As you say, this means that we all need to ask what new skills we need, to be able to take advantage of the opportunities that will present themselves? The obvious answer is that we all need to improve our literacy in the computing and programming fields.

You mention that courses in welding should also include modules in IT/programming. Personally I think that the future of education is going to be a fluid combination of formalized courses and informal "add-ons". Depending on our personalities and life-factors, we may opt for a 100% formal, or 100% informal education approach. Most people will be somewhere in the middle of the two extremes, and learning will never be able to cease.

If somebody wants to sharpen up their programming skills on a part-time basis, there are thousands of free and low cost options on the internet, or one could obviously register for a local college course or even learn from a book.

There are also welding oriented organizations that are involved with the types of technologies were are talking about. TWI in the UK is involved with the laser ultrasonics, and most of the large welding power source manufacturers will be involved on the sensor and control side of things. The potential is however so big, that good entrepreneurs should have a field day if they jumped into these opportunities today.

I don't think that Google, Amazon or Facebook are the future of welding as such. Organisations such as Microsoft, Facebook and LinkedIn will almost certainly become central in the organizational side of the welding industry, as they will become central in most other industries. However, when it comes to the niche welding developments, new organizations will emerge, or some old organizations such as TWI or AWS will reform themselves to grasp the opportunities and become leaders.

The major thought is however that there are currently so many opportunities out there for individuals and entrepreneurial organizations.

It is time to seize the day!

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