Automation is:


The concept of automation goes back to ancient Greece. They worshiped the αυτοματια [ Automatia ] that. Saying coming, and consecrated her chapels

Aristotle formulated at the same time in his work policy:

The preservation of the spirit of antiquity and the transfer of knowledge from the Arab world (mathematics ) allowed in the Renaissance, a new flowering of the sciences, such as physics.

In 1745, the English blacksmith Edmund Lee invented an early device for automation, through which windmills rotate independently in the wind. According to records from the ancient times, there were already at that time machines that were powered by a wind turbine and working parties, who had previously performed by humans or animals. In the Middle Ages went on to build windmills so that you could rotate about a vertical axis. Following the windmills after by muscular force of the wind direction, so that they did not stop working. With the invention of Lee, an additional wind turbine with gearbox, the machine then reacted independently as to changes in their environment, as it was required to fulfill their task.

With the advances in mechanics and new propulsion technologies such as the steam engine, the age of industrialization came up. Mass production in factories became possible. Animal and human power was increasingly replaced by motors.

1787 sat Edmond Cartwright first automatic looms, which he developed himself Power Looms. They were the first automatic machine for industrial production. Cartwright himself failed economically, with its weaving. But his inventions prevailed and had far-reaching effects on society. From 1811 it came into England riots by weavers who were against the machines. The Luddites smashed machines and attacked their supporters. The rebellions were put down by the military and participants executed or banished. In Switzerland, there were similarly motivated riots. The commonly known as the Weber uprisings in Germany protests were directed not against the new machines, but against foreign workers and suppliers.

The discovery of electricity and invention of electrical engineering (19th century) enabled the decentralization of production, it was possible to send power over long distances. First attempts were made ​​to use electricity for measuring, control and regulation.

Taylorism attempted ( largely ) successful, to establish a rational and efficient mode of production ( Production Line ), and changed the world of work and the role of labor. The efficiency of the work increases, up to a certain point and on, but went into the story again and again at the expense of physical or even mental health of workers. Monotonous work led to exhaustion and alienation of the worker from his work and poked repeatedly conflicts between workers and employers, as productivity gains and wage compensation partially stood in stark mismatch with each other.

In the 20th century, the automation expanded with the fridge as the successor of the refrigerator on private households. The heating system has been automated through thermostatic radiator valves.

Innovations in electronics, in particular the development of transistors led to the drastic reduction of electrical circuits. With the dimensions of the effort for the application of Boolean algebra sank. The development of integrated circuits eventually led to that equipment could be fitted easily with logic. Digital technology has been the preferred means of automation. Advanced field devices ( sensors and actuators) to communicate with the control or regulation and provide a consistent quality of products when there are variations in the process safe.

Computer technology pioneered a technological development that lead to a general improvement in the level of automation in the production of industrial robots, fully automatic production lines or techniques such as pattern recognition in artificial intelligence. As a result of automation often go manufacturing jobs lost. A historical example of this is the release of workers in the American telephone companies, where lost due to the introduction of the automated election system, a large number of telephone operators their jobs.

Current situation

In factories of the industrial countries goods are mostly made of machines, the role of the people is shifting from production to administration, planning, control, maintenance and services.

Many simple (but also dangerous, monotonous or high demands on the accuracy and speed alternate end ) activities can be carried out with the help of automation by machines, which may be significantly more productive in certain circumstances. Activities in which the person still has advantages over machines generally require a higher qualification than the automated activities (see also knowledge society ).

At the same time people need to acquire and consolidate their skills in simulators because production will not be interrupted or learning by doing is not connected with or possible hazards ( eg flight simulators ).

Reasons for Automation

  • Improvement of product quality
  • Homogenization of the product quality
  • Increase the throughput or production quantity
  • Replacement of modules for which no spare parts are available
  • Savings in personnel costs
  • Relief of the people of severe physical or monotonous work

Automation in humans

A central characteristic of all well-controlled complex skills of a man is the extensive automation of the underlying sub-functions. That is the example of the acquisition of reading skills shows: To ensure that a reader can fully the true sense of reading, namely the importance sampling devote, all the underlying tasks, it will create the conditions, so to speak, run in the background without conscious information processing capacity in the form must be addressed by attention to it.

At the lowest level is, for example, in the visual field decoding of characters. If this level of reading perception is already not automated, it absorbs the attention, so that the capacity for the actual task of reading, the importance sampling, no longer suffice. This loss of efficiency, of course, affects the processing speed with which a text is crossed, and will make at least reflected in a decrease in reading fluency.

Two American scientist named Shiffrin and Schneider have already been published in 1977 the adjacent easy to understand comparison of controlled and automated information processing. This model is used by Warnke also explain that when students with dyslexia have specific automations that are developed age-appropriate with other students lagging behind. So you have to resort more frequently in their information processing as Gutschreibende on cognitive, conscious processes.

Representations of automation in art

In the movie:

  • Fritz Lang: Metropolis
  • Charlie Chaplin: Modern Times

In the literature:


  • Kraftwerk: The Man-Machine, Kling Klang 1978