More than new technical devices: a semiotic look at the digital transformation of industry

Beitrag bei einer Tagung
(Abstract zum Vortrag)


Details zur Publikation

Autor(en): Oks SJ, Fritzsche A
Jahr der Veröffentlichung: 2018
Sprache: Englisch


Abstract



During the past decade, various programmatic writings have predicted
that industry will undergo revolutionary changes in the course of the digital
transformation (Kagermann, Wahlster, & Helbig, 2013; Lee, 2006). New engineering
approaches in the context of the internet of things, cyber-physical systems and
big data are expected to open up radically new paths of technical development (Gölzer
& Fritzsche, 2017; Monostori, 2014). They will not only allow the creation
of new kinds of technical artefacts, but also alter the process of technical
design. In the future, engineering will accordingly be less concerned with the
creation of static devices with a determinate function. It will instead revolve
much more around the continuous evolution of larger superstructures whose parts
have to be updated and adapted in short intervals (Neely, Fell, &
Fritzsche, 2018). A clear distinction between design and maintenance tasks in
engineering will become increasingly difficult and the work of engineers will
rely much more on interactions with other groups of people involved with
technology (Fritzsche, 2017).



In this paper, we study the effects of the digital transformation on
manufacturing processes in industry, where a large number of different
programmes have been started to support the introduction of novel technology (Oks,
Fritzsche, & Möslein, 2017). We focus in particular on transitions in
engineering practice from old to new design and maintenance procedures. We
propose that these transitions cannot be appropriately described as an adoption
of a new toolset of engineering, but that they rather have to be compared to
learning a new language (Franssen & Koller, 2016; Fritzsche & Oks, 2016).
As such, they require a deeper semiotic study of the way how meaning is
attributed to technology.



Observations in different companies allow us to describe the
learning process in more detail. All these companies have started projects to
implement new technical solutions which involve cyber-physical systems and big
data. We look at the way how employees of the companies and their business
partners gradually gain “fluency” in the new, digital “language”. We discuss
the importance of “active speaking” in contrast to “passive listening”, not
only to get a better grasp of the new vocabulary and grammar, but also to
motivate the engagement with the new language instead of sticking to the old
one. Furthermore, we look at the involvement of new interest groups in
engineering, such as maintenance technicians and device users. Their
involvement turns the attention to the collective effort necessary to make the
transition and the media that allow participation. We present different
examples of such media which either support design or maintenance activities.



Our findings let us believe that the language-based approach can add
an important new perspective to the study of engineering and technology.
Current theories of technical artefacts and their design do not seem able to
give a full account of the dynamic and fluidity of the digital transformation,
especially when it comes to participatory activities in which engineers engage
with other groups of people involved with technology.


FAU-Autoren / FAU-Herausgeber

Fritzsche, Albrecht Dr. Dr.
Lehrstuhl für Wirtschaftsinformatik, insbesondere Innovation und Wertschöpfung
Oks, Sascha Julian
Lehrstuhl für Wirtschaftsinformatik, insbesondere Innovation und Wertschöpfung


Zitierweisen

APA:
Oks, S.J., & Fritzsche, A. (2018, May). More than new technical devices: a semiotic look at the digital transformation of industry. Paper presentation at Forum on Philosophy, Engineering & Technology (fPET), University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, US.

MLA:
Oks, Sascha Julian, and Albrecht Fritzsche. "More than new technical devices: a semiotic look at the digital transformation of industry." Presented at Forum on Philosophy, Engineering & Technology (fPET), University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 2018.

BibTeX: 

Zuletzt aktualisiert 2018-11-08 um 00:14