Feb. 10, 2021

Automation to Augmentation - the podcast's vision to build a movement

Automation to Augmentation - the podcast's vision to build a movement

Augmented reveals the stories behind the new era of industrial operations, where technology will restore the agility of frontline workers. 

In episode 1 of the podcast, the topic is: Automation to Augmentation. Our guest is futurist Trond Arne Undheim, host of the Augmented and Futurized podcasts, venture partner at Antler, ecosystem evangelist at Tulip, nonresident Fellow at the Atlantic Council, and co-founder of Yegii. Trond is a former Director of MIT Startup Exchange, Director of Standards Strategy & Policy at Oracle and National Expert for e-Government at the European Commission. Trond is a 4x author. His upcoming book, Future Tech: How to Capture Value from Disruptive Industry Trends, will be released on 3 March in the UK and Europe and on 30 March in the US. He holds a PhD on the future of work and artificial intelligence and cognition.

In this conversation, we talk about the ambitious aim of the Augmented podcast to shift the discussion about industrial operations from Automation to Augmentation, bringing a bottom-up perspective that benefits the frontline worker.

After listening to this episode, check out Tulip as well as Trond Undheim and Natan Linder's social profile.

  • Tulip (@tulipinterfaces): https://tulip.co/
  • Trond Undheim (@trondau): https://trondundheim.com/
  • Natan Linder (@linder78):  https://www.forbes.com/sites/natanlinder/

Trond's takeaway is that the path from Automation to Augmentation won't be linear. Clearly, there is still a place for automation. What we need to ensure is that industrial operations doesn't only become efficient but also maintains meaning for the frontline worker. The shift from automation to augmentation, starting with the appearance of 3D printing which is continuously improving, adding the revolutionary layer of lowcode and nocode apps on the manufacturing shop floor, has just begun, literally only a few years ago.  This is why, discussing what is happening to make sure both industry insiders and those who depend on industry are comfortable, have a stake in the process, and can be part of the change, is so important. The Augmented podcast, aims to be part of the upskilling process that has to occur, equally and equitably, among government policy makers, industry leaders and frontline workers

Augmented is a podcast for leaders in the manufacturing industry hosted by futurist Trond Arne Undheim, presented by Tulip.co, the manufacturing app platform, and associated with MFG.works, the open learning community launched at the World Economic Forum. Our intro and outro music is The Arrival by Evgeny Bardyuzha (@evgenybardyuzha), licensed by Artlist (@Art_list_io). The show can be found at http://www.augmentedpodcast.co/

Thanks for listening. If you liked the show, subscribe at Augmentedpodcast.co or in your preferred podcast player, and rate us with five stars on Apple Podcasts. If you liked this episode, you might also like Episode #3, Reimagine Training, Episode #4, A Renaissance of Manufacturing or episode #5, Plug-and-play Industrial Tech. Augmented--the industry 4.0 podcast.

Transcript

Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:00:00] Augmented reveals the stories behind a new era of industrial operations, where technology will restore the agility of frontline workers. In episode, one of the podcast, the topic is automation to augmentation. Our guest, is Trond Arne Undheim, host of the Augmented and Futurized podcasts, futurist, venture partner at Antler and ecosystem evangelist at Tulip, non-resident fellow at the Atlantic council, and co-founder of Yegii. Trond is a former Director of MIT startup exchange, Director of standards, strategy and policy at Oracle and a National Expert for e-government at the European Commission. Trond is a 4X author. HIs upcoming book, Future Tech: How to capture value from disruptive industry trends, will be released on 3 March in the UK and Europe and on 30th of March in the US. He holds a PhD on the future of work and artificial intelligence and cognition. In this conversation, we talk about the ambitious aim of the Augmented podcast to shift the discussion about industrial operations from automation to augmentation, bringing a bottom up perspective that benefits the front line worker.

[00:01:22] Since this is episode one of the Augmented podcast, Tulip CEO, Natan Linder has been brought in to interview Trond and to contextualize the podcast, tell the story of the partnership between the Natan and Trond and to discuss what to expect from the Augmented podcast in the time to come. Natan Linder is co-founder and CEO of manufacturing technology, company Tulip and co-founder and chairman of Formlabs, the pioneer and industry leader in professional desktop, 3D printing. Natan holds a PhD from MIT Media Lab's fluid interfaces group, and an S.M. In media, arts and sciences from MIT.

[00:02:05] Augmented is a podcast for leaders, hosted by futurist Trond Arne Undheim, presented by Tulip, the manufacturing app platform, and associated with Mfg.works, the manufacturing upskilling community launched at the World Economic Forum. Each episode dives deep into a contemporary topic of concern across the industry and airs at6 9:00 AM US Eastern time every Wednesday. Augmented--the industry 4.0 podcast.

[00:02:37] Natan Linder, CEO & co-founder, Tulip: [00:02:37] Hello, Trond. How are you doing?

[00:02:39] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:02:39] I am doing great.

[00:02:41] Natan Linder, CEO & co-founder, Tulip: [00:02:41] It's good. It's good to hear your voice. And here we are doing another podcast, so I'm pretty excited.

[00:02:48] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:02:48] Yeah. Likewise. I love to be interviewed this time. We had a great time [when Natan was a guest on Trond's other podcast, Futurized.co], really good feedback from, from that interview.

[00:02:57] Natan Linder, CEO & co-founder, Tulip: [00:02:57] Yeah, me too. That was a lot of fun. Thank you for having me on that show, as they say today, where we're starting a new, a new show.

[00:03:05] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:03:05] Yeah. It's a new chapter. I'm very excited. It is. And it must mean we're doing something right. You know thinking of of a second podcast or, you know, for me a second podcast and for you to launch a podcast with, with a startup That's great.

[00:03:24] Natan Linder, CEO & co-founder, Tulip: [00:03:24] Yes. And I think it's a you know, indicative, you know, not only of, you know, where we are with Tulip and the startup, but really, you know, we want to, we, we're here to tell, to tell a story in, you know, to catalyze the community. And I think today this is kind of our way of introducing that concept to the world and sharing a little bit about  what we're planning to do on a weekly basis, in fact, what you're planning to do.

[00:03:49] And  we'll hear all about that. But before that, why don't we kind of you know, catch people up and we've known each other for a long time, and I wanna help our audience you know, get to know you better. So Trond you've been, you've been involved in tech for very long. Maybe you can share a little bit about your background and Kind of they lay out like what, what brought us here so we can understand you want to be going on that journey.

[00:04:20] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:04:20] So I'm going to start a little before we met each other just a tiny bit before, but only, only because you know, you ask about my background and I think it's relevant eventually too, and we'll get there, but I'm a bit of a Jack of all trades. So. You will find out and, you know, undoubtedly, you know, you've looked at my background.

[00:04:40]I have been in many sectors, possibly in every sector and I enjoy meeting, not just new people, but I enjoy kind of the experiences and the learning that comes from being in very different situations. I mean, you and I share the background of having been, you know, even in the armed forces, but you know, I've literally started think tanks, I have been working for nonprofits. I've worked for governments or work for large, large companies, enterprise companies, and startups and I've worked for university and usually in all of my jobs Natan, and I think this relates to why I am excited about podcasting and the kinds of work that I will be doing with Augmented ...

[00:05:24] I just like to have conversations with different kinds of people, and I'm a little bit of a connector. So, you know, where I've been in my background is I guess I'm kind of a little bit of a dissatisfied academic, you know, I thought for a very long time I was going to be, become just I guess university professor.

[00:05:44] Natan Linder, CEO & co-founder, Tulip: [00:05:44] That sounds a little bit like me, you know, I'm I'm yeah, dissatisfied academic of sorts.

[00:05:49] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:05:49] So, I'm, I'm curious to hear why you were dissatisfied because for me it was almost, it was pretty simple. Really? It was just, I was sitting there writing these pieces and you get, you know, the critiques back from these peer reviewers and you realize you're writing for an audience of ... one and a half. Yeah. And that just didn't go down so well with me, because I mean, I think I'm a communicator and I want to hear I'm going to get feedback. And there was at least in the part of academia, I was at the time it was a very passive type of thing. And I think the feedback took too long. Right.

[00:06:22] So for me, I was more impatient. I want to, I wanted to hear what people were thinking. I wanted to bring people together. And, later I discovered of course, that there are parts of academia that are like that, but, you have to seek it out and you had to earn your place in, in that kind of position.

[00:06:38] So I think I always prefer to take the windy path and, and that's what I've done. Yeah. I mean, my career makes zero sense.

[00:06:49] Natan Linder, CEO & co-founder, Tulip: [00:06:49] So maybe, maybe we'll go one level deeper. You know, what I'm really connecting to is the, you know, the combination of and maybe this is where my dissatisfactions with academia while having tons of respect, it's probably more, more statement about myself is that, you know, you want to make technological impact and you got to think about the people in this, the wording, you know, when you mentioned technology and society and how they come together.

[00:07:20] And to me, you know, at the day and age we live in, it's like, you know, everything is much faster. And even, even like why we're getting here,  to start something,  start catalyze a movement around, Augmented, is about you know, basically connecting to more people faster and bringing more ideas.

[00:07:41] Two more people faster. So I know , you've  spent all this time between enterprise strategy, government education, think tanks, VCs. What's your view, and maybe you can share a little bit about your experience in community building and how to address, specifically,  communities that kind of try and usher technological shifts.

[00:08:03]Can, can you share a little bit about that?

[00:08:06] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:08:06] Yeah. I mean, that, again is something that I think ties into what, you know, what you've asked me to do here with, with Tulip and with, and literally with the movement around  the no-code movement and what's happening in the manufacturing industry, I feel like throughout my career, I've kind of done some of that earlier, in, in other fields and building a community.

[00:08:28] Has always just been very interesting to me, maybe maybe because that's really the life of, of science, the life of all of these the mains of knowledge, really, which I think what unites, what both of us are interested in. And I think it's the communication either in, even in the specific sort of scientific community, you'll find yourself, but definitely at the edges, you know, being able to pick up on how, what you're doing can make a difference.

[00:08:58] And, and specifically on community building. I mean, one thing, one experience I did have, which I found pretty interesting was that the EU.... I was brought in, you know, in a unit of e-government, right? So this is, you know, technology that government is managing, on behalf of you know, its citizens, trying to make services more efficient and make use of technology in that context.

[00:09:21] And I was, asked to build this, or basically I took over a failing best practice project where the idea was to share all of the experiences across Europe, in various different projects. But the thing is building a community is difficult when you don't really know. Well, typically you're asked to build a community that doesn't exist because whoever wants you to build a community, they're sort of saying, I think there should be a community, but, but when you are building it, you have to figure out.

[00:09:54] You know, first off, you start off with, which I did, with 50 passive email accounts or something. And they said, yeah, admittedly, this is not much. And then you really have to figure out what, what have I been asked to do here? What unites these people? And even more surprisingly, you have to figure out what doesn't unite them because people can actually gel around being.

[00:10:15] In disagreement, right? So you have to figure out what's interesting enough that we can gather around it and this a little bit of this  fireplace, or the bonfire, you just, you have to figure out something that is interesting enough that you're willing to spend time, day out and day in discussing and learning and building, finding kind of common ground, but also ...

[00:10:40] fruitfully sort of disagreeing. That is the heart of community. I think that's why we are, you know, that's why we hang together as a society, right? We are eventually most of us bored in our own thoughts. And I say this, you know, being  a bit of a loner myself,  I can sit for in days and days in my own thoughts or read, or, you know, it's not like I crave community quite the opposite, but.

[00:11:06]When you find the right thing to engage on-- all of us, whether you're developers or, you know, in this case with the e-government community, at the end of, building this community, they were a hundred thousand people across Europe, exchanging experiences on something that most people would say is quite mundane even boring, certainly difficult. Right? E-government is not your first topic for building an exciting community, but turns out there were so many things we could unite around. There were so many things people actually hadn't discussed before. And yeah, so I think, and I've tried to build some of those communities, you know, across fields. Right. Because it's not interesting if you're just building a community  for just , a small group of people who kind of agree in any case, it's more exciting when there is a divergence of opinion. So that's sort of how I feel. That's the basics of community building.

[00:12:07] Yeah.

[00:12:08] Natan Linder, CEO & co-founder, Tulip: [00:12:08] So you said a few interesting things and I'm going to share some of our private conversations that led to here. If you don't mind, you know, I might embarrass you a little bit, but Hey, you know, you signed up for it. And I think, I think we'll, we'll get through this together, but before we get there, you said something about loneliness and, and we'll circle back to that because they know you're a futurist and you're a writer.

[00:12:31] And I see those things is , I'm more of a now list that a futurist, so to speak and, you know, trying to change stuff now. And I don't think I'm a great writer at all. I mean,  I'm struggling with that. I've been honest about this for a long time, but you know, when we, so I want to come back to that, because I think that, there's a reason, like when you're trying to understand what's happening in the future and connect to people and like distill it into, to text, important ideas come out and emerge, a very important tool when you're trying to catalyze a community.

[00:13:00] And I go back to our discussions and I say , I want to form a community where I see a void where there, there should be a conversation and we should discuss it. And I know we're going all meta here, but, but the point is, is that when we, when we look at this from what's going on today in industry 4.0 and especially the past, I'd say five years, we're we're seeing this explosion of activity online and still there are voices that are missing.

[00:13:28]That kind of tell, tell different aspects of the story that void is where I, I I wanted to reach out and say, Hey, you know, we should start collaborating on this thing and put, put a community together. And how, how do you, how do you see it? I mean, what, what, what are your thoughts about the community we're trying to spring up here?

[00:13:47] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:13:47] Well, I'll tell you , I'll also go all meta here because you know, one of the reasons we are working together, I want to go back to that. Right? So we met at MIT. I was building out Startup Exchange. We can talk more about MIT startup exchange, but I found it a fascinating program. I wish it was my idea how I was asked to kind of build it out.

[00:14:07] But, you know, I did build it from scratch, I think it was a great idea. It was a counterintuitive idea. Because you you'd think that MIT had everything all set up when it comes to startups or, or even with startups meeting industry, because that's after all what MIT is really good at as well. But anyway, I think one of the reasons we are still working together, I think is, to be honest, you were.... one of the very, not one of the very few, because there were so many fantastic entrepreneurs there, but there was a combination of things that I discovered that, you know, you had so many interesting ways of doing things that was obviously very entrepreneurial. You're very successful. But the things that you in your companies that you saw and, and especially with tulip, right?

[00:14:53] I recall this almost as if it was yesterday, when I came into your lab, essentially, like I think you were six people and you, I was, I think one of the first external people you showed around. Okay. And I start and I realized very quickly as you were showing some prototypes that I believe are just coming out and, you know, I don't know how much we can talk about them, but there were some sensor type applications that you were showing me that I believe are about to come out in Tulip's product today.

[00:15:22] So this was, maybe 2014, and they're now coming out in product. It was so exciting for me. And I started to realize that what you're working on is more than a business. So first, my first thought was this is going to be very successful, but my second thought was what Natan is onto here, actually much more important than business because you are.

[00:15:44] I, I don't think I realized then that what you're building is a movement, as much as I realized that tying that worker to kind of meaning around what they're doing and giving them more autonomy than they had before--using technology. And I don't think I had, I hadn't seen that it could be called augmentation at that point, but I was just looking at what you showed me.

[00:16:09] And I thought this is really transformative. If this, becomes commonplace, if really a worker who doesn't necessarily know technology, certainly not coding or know anything really about hardware, they're just going about doing what they've been either told to do, or, you know, like making their daily grind.

[00:16:32] But now instead of sort of offering to automate what they're doing, which obviously has a lot of negative connotation toward it. You are offering, keep doing what you're doing and we will help you improve what you're doing without changing necessarily what you're doing. If you change what you're doing, it's because you wanted it to change because you saw that there was a more efficient way of doing it, but we're gonna.... augment your abilities. So you can not only just get analytics on, on what it is that you are doing as you're doing things. This was kind of the big thing that I saw in, in, in one of the sensors that you had installed. The fact that you could literally keep doing, let's say on a manufacturing station, you could just keep doing what you were always doing, but instead of stopping all the time, that grind of kind of filling out these manual work orders to say, you know, this is what I should be doing.

[00:17:27] Tick. I have done this. It just. And it's been a grind right. For centuries in factories. And I realized this is not just about making it's a little bit more efficient. You're actually maintaining meaning for people whose job was perhaps about to lose meaning. And I thought, this is, this is very important.

[00:17:51] It's very empowering. It could go really, really far. And it has to do with much more than business, right. And, you know, later, as I understood more about what you're doing and later, you and I have talked about this, there's a passion here that I saw in what you were doing that I want to be part of.

[00:18:09] So I joined a movement more than I think I joined a company at least that's, that was my motivation for coming on and discussing these things with industry leaders, in your network and in mine, networking kind of joining up our networks. It's not because. You know, that technology is going to, I don't know, change the world in and of itself.

[00:18:31] It's not that change. It's the fact that I think it's meaningful. I think it changes something fundamental in a area of society that people have given up on. Right. We are in the U S right now. Why is it that, I mean, for the last decade, very smart people. I mean, Steve Jobs and down, we're literally claiming we will never see these jobs again.

[00:18:53] Right. The whole outsourcing thing, the whole , this is all gone. Manufacturing has gone, we can't compete anymore. And then what you're offering potentially and what, the kind of solutions that we are working on. Well we, in Tulip, but also the broader movement, is actually offering an alternative.

[00:19:14] And you know, you, you are much better at explaining, the origin of this. But that is really why I'm here.

[00:19:21] Natan Linder, CEO & co-founder, Tulip: [00:19:21] The change management component. I just simply call it the human aspect of making technology actually make a difference that's easily 50% of the battle because we're drowning in technology.

[00:19:34] It's just not evenly spread, you know? And I think in the world of  operational environments and where we saw the constituents. We're trying to create a venue, a stage, a voice to people who are, who are part of this change that we're seeing, where stuff that we take for granted in our lives as knowledge workers.

[00:19:56] You know, we take for granted or apps or, or data, or what have you. And in, in bring that to people who are elsewhere, they're sometimes quote, unquote tucked below the layers of corporate it and are, are to me they're like underserved. And often I wouldn't go as far as ignored, but not heard as much.

[00:20:20] And, we need to bring them together. Other stories have them tell their stories and that might be, or manufacturing engineer or your head of, or a factory manager who got the job to start up a bunch  of new production lines or a quality person trying to speed up the vaccine production, or what have you.

[00:20:39] There, there's no shortage of stories. And I think no one is in the trenches telling those stories. And for me, that's a big aspect of the community we are trying to catalyze here today. How, how are you thinking about this?

[00:20:51] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:20:51] Exactly the same, because I guess for 30 years or even more, right, the entire, it's a wonderful development that started with the academic developments around the internet, right?

[00:21:05] So it started with communication, but really, at least the last 20 years have been about extending this technology in, in two ways, right? Certainly, you know, in there in the commercial sphere, it's it's knowledge workers and it's the kind of business and it's you know, white collar essentially, right.

[00:21:24] And computer and people who we have now seen with a pandemic who already were living good lives, who then got to live even better lives, which is fantastic. I'm not against progress at all, but there's this other side of the coin that I it's taken me a while to realize how neglected. And, you just pointed it out, how neglected that sphere of society has been when it comes to technology.

[00:21:48]Right. And, and what that means is basically first off, it's just in the enormously missed opportunity. Right. I mean, there's a lot of money here. There's money on the table. Why would we have an entire sector manufacturing, like 10% of the economy , and, and traditionally much, much more. And, and potentially with these new changes, maybe it could come back to being much more, right.

[00:22:11] It's a fundamental function of society that we have just neglected and neglected. We've had like several industrial revolutions, but we haven't learned nothing. Once the revolution happens, you  move on to other things and you say, yeah, that was nice, but it's a long time ago. Other things are more shiny.

[00:22:28] Yeah.

[00:22:28] Natan Linder, CEO & co-founder, Tulip: [00:22:28] It's, it's almost like, it's almost like the revolutions and this is why I get revolutions are not [about] discontinuity. Okay. Something happened in between them. Right. And you cannot disconnect it. And, so I always look at that and Hm. Yeah, we were talking about industry 4.0.

[00:22:46] But really, really what we're talking about is I think, Changing the way people work like it, in my view, that was like the core essence. Even if you think about , I mean, it's amazing that we got automation. Programmable logic controllers and robotics and all that kind of stuff. And that was the technological revolution for sure.

[00:23:05] And it did a bunch of things and allowed us to make more things faster and better and so on, but it also changed how people work. People did not evaporate, and people, I think often forget that. I just find it interesting to focus on yet another big wave that we're all talking about, all the elements and, you know, we can put in the bucket and this is why we, I think, well maybe let me ask you.

[00:23:29] And before I say what I think, why did we call this podcast Augmented? We spent a bunch of time on it and we landed on that.

[00:23:36] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:23:36] So I'll, I'll I'll say my, my piece on that in a second, but I just wanted to address what you asked or what you were sort of thinking around revolutions.

[00:23:46]one of the reasons why I'm here as well is that,  I have not always embraced the term futurist, because , as an academic, you, you just can't call yourself a futurist. And when you're working in business and government and stuff, you, hire futurists or  you can't just call yourself one.

[00:24:03]So not only is it a very recent kind of appropriation on my end, but the other reason, I guess I'm here is I'm almost like full circle academically as well, because I'm back almost to my, my social science background. And the thing is, even being a futurist, which I actually have embraced. And I think it's important to think about the future, not to be a prophet and sort of like claim that, you know, things that's not what it's about.

[00:24:26] I am embracing being a futurist because I think the world needs to think a little bit further ahead because we are on the wrong direction, but why am I here thinking about, whether it's a revolution or not, you said revolutions, most people who are part of a revolution, don't call it revolution.

[00:24:45] It is the futurists and the historians and the people who are really just writing about it that call it a revolution afterwards. So, and I don't want to be one of those people. So I recognize that there are a lot of changes, but I want to be on the ground and really feel, and understand and talk to the people who are making that change.

[00:25:04]And that's so much more interesting. And I think if I'm going to be a futurist, I want to be an informed futurist. Right. I want to be an empirical one. I don't want to, be at the fluffy level. So, but, but why augment it? I mean, augmented for me is. Almost like a moral journey. And I think we're calling this episode from automation to augmentation and that's in a nutshell why I am here and why I think augmentation in a very broad sense, not AR as in augmented reality, the way we think of it now, which I think is not going to be a very long lasting idea.

[00:25:40] I mean, it's so much more. But at least in our context, it's about giving a worker an out from this idea that automation, which it, historically,l was, right. You introduce a big, ugly machine that takes away jobs, whether it is, you know an industrial machine that replaces thousands of workers in the factory, or now with robots that are obviously a little more capable of precision, but it's still, there's this rhetoric that this is, you know, kind of automation.

[00:26:09] I think there will be a lot of automation. There's no question. But the interesting thing is the advanced automation that leads simultaneously to augmenting real abilities and it's the cobots and the interaction between the technologies and people, we can just do so much more interesting things. And I think that is, from my futurist hat, that's the mega-trend, augmentation is the mega trend.

[00:26:36] Whether it's a revolution or an evolution, that's the name of the game is augmentation.

[00:26:41] Natan Linder, CEO & co-founder, Tulip: [00:26:41] Good. So let's try, let's try and give it, , for audience maybe we'll fail. That's okay. That's also part of what we're doing here, because we need to get a lot of opinions on this. I think to see that we're on the right track and that's okay.

[00:26:52] But if we try and like make a succinct definition of augmentation, I think it would be something along the lines of, again, how did technology augment humans and that humans are getting augmented as a result of the technological shift at the broadest sense. So, you know, when you, when you apply it into our world of like helping folks in operations and manufacturing and places like that  there are different ways in which they can use their brains to do things that humans are very good for and they just need the right tools.

[00:27:25]And I think humans are very capable of imagination and creativity and, many things that automation setups are good for whatever you programmed them for. Right. Assuming you give those you know, imagination and creativity machines, the right tools and apply engineering , you're just going to get different applications of the technology.

[00:27:45]Obviously that's something we're focused on, but I think we're hearing a lot of those stories. So that leads me,Trond,  t leads me to asking you,  you said something before, it was really, I think important, which is, you don't want to be you want to be an empirical futurist or a practical one paraphrasing you.

[00:28:03] So let's, let's dive into it. So what. What are we going to do? What is this like , how is this podcast going to fit in the, you know, oceans of digital information that we get? How are we going to do it differently? Who are you? Who are you going to bring on? what's your goal here?

[00:28:19] What's the direction you're gonna take?

[00:28:21] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:28:21] Well, I think, first of all, that it's about going really deep because these things can be seen as just sort of a fluffy , rhetoric about , things are changing. Things are going faster. It's very easy to come up with the party line on change. But I think what's happening here is something a little bit deeper.

[00:28:40] So augmentation, at a very basic sense is about extending our natural human abilities. But. We are now in a robotic and an AI age as well. So, you know, of course on the manufacturing floor, there are so many more mundane issues that are being augmented or need to be augmented before we get there.

[00:29:01] But I think it's part and partial of this discussion, which is eventually we are slowly edging into a situation where the distinction between machines and humans. It's not that they're going away. But you can't meaningfully distinguish extremely clearly because, if you were wore glasses before there were contact lenses, right.

[00:29:26] Of course it doesn't give meaning to say that, Natan isn't himself, without his glasses, visually of course, you look a little bit different if you wear glasses and of course you can perform different things. If you, if you really don't have eyesight , glasses were transformational.

[00:29:41]But I think we're now moving into an era where it's not these just individual abilities are being extended and I'm not even talking about these massive debates on AI and how that enters into discussion, but even just the fact that it's not just glasses, right? It's, it's, it's hundreds and hundreds of these micro skills that we.

[00:30:03] Have been slowly, slowly augmenting. I think the the pandemic was the first example. I think, where people all around started to reflect a little bit more about these changes, right? Because it's not just about efficiency. It actually has radically altered what we can do as human beings. It has altered the way that we can.

[00:30:23] I usually go on living more or less, at least many of us more or less the way we want to live, even though our lives have been. So limited by, by this pandemic. So I think the discussion and where I would like to take this is we're going to be talking to thought leaders in the manufacturing industry. Oh, sure.

[00:30:42] Right. Because that's kind of given, we will also, I think expand on the startup community. That's something both of us share. And I think startups are crucial in this juncture in history. There are so many challenges that cannot be solved with the usual approaches. But, you know, neither are we going to be just an innovation podcast that just sort of looks at the next shiny object.

[00:31:06] This is a serious, serious juncture, I think, in history. And maybe that's where I become the futurist. I think we are, we are onto something, but I don't know that we know where we want to take it. So what I hope we can discuss in this podcast is what are we doing with all this? There are so many opportunities, right?

[00:31:28]All of these opportunities actually are coalescing in possibly the most unthinkable of spaces, right? It's not, it's not all happening in a startup , doing social media, right. That's not where it's at right now that, you know, people sort of think about  fake news and that's the biggest problem the world's facing.

[00:31:47] All of those things. We're going to find solutions to.  The real issue is. Where are we heading as a society? And manufacturing just happens to be really core to our being. It is what we produce that turns us into what we become. And that's a serious discussion. It's an ethical discussion, right? We need to have you know, we need to have academic discussions about it's a science discussion, whereas science helping us here policy makers, I think, you know.

[00:32:17] Yep. So all of those guys, all of those groups need to be part of this discussion. And I think, yeah, there are other podcasts, but typically, you pick a niche and you stick to it . With Augmented--it kind of looks like it's focused on manufacturing perhaps, but the moment you start peeling the onion, there's so many layers.

[00:32:40] And I think the exciting thing is there is a fairly distinct focus. But we can take it in so many directions. I mean, I think it's important. And I think those, these discussions, they don't go deep enough in existing fora. So I'm hoping we can take it kind of one level deeper. Without, you know, without being too academic about it, or even just going into all of these, I mean, you and your team over the last few months, I have been diving and diving deeper into these manufacturing software terms and stuff.

[00:33:16] It's a nomencalture that I don't know that my brain has space for it. But on the other hand, I recognize that these things are important. And they need to be understood by so many more people, right. Not just the workers, but we need to understand what kinds of technologies should we build.

[00:33:36]Natan Linder, CEO & co-founder, Tulip: [00:33:36] I also think it's a lot about education and you know, I always tell this a cliche that, you know, you kind of you walk into a college classroom and you say , who wants to work in manufacturing and no one raises their hands. And then you ask who wants to work in  analytics, data analytics, machine learning, robotics, automation. And everybody's like me, me, me, me, me, and it's a space with a bad rep. So I think, I think that needs to change. And that's part of the voices we want to bring.

[00:34:07] So on that note, I wanted to see if I can convince you to give a little bit of a preview of who, who are you bringing on to the show and what topics are you going to cover? Is there serve some episode preview you can share with our audience? Is, can I convince you to, give a little bit of that. ,

[00:34:23] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:34:23] I'll give you a little, so all of the episodes we've recorded so far, we have some robotic CEO's. We have , we have the CEO of Vention  coming on this show. So now we're talking exciting automation platforms. Selling, tools that you can get you know, in three days that would previously take you forever and you couldn't even build these tools.

[00:34:46]Natan Linder, CEO & co-founder, Tulip: [00:34:46] It's like IKEA  for robots only you get to be the Ikea designer now that's , see, we got from. The Meta of like, Hey, you know, this revolution is going on too.

[00:34:58] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:34:58] Oh, it's very tangible, very tangible.

[00:35:01] Natan Linder, CEO & co-founder, Tulip: [00:35:01] I can go on a website, design my machine and it will get drop shipped here.

[00:35:04] Isn't that cool. You know, and then we think, Oh, wow, this is cool. Cause we love technology and MIT, all kind of stuff. What you hear people saying, you know, this is really changing how we're designing our machines.

[00:35:20] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:35:20] Right. This is, another example. We have an academic and industrial researcher from university of Cambridge is coming on the show and her passion is the augmented worker.

[00:35:33] But, but from the education perspective, what are the skills we need to teach? How do we teach these skills? How do we need to change the very way that we have gone gone about teaching? Manufacturing for centuries. Right. you teach some of it in school, then you have on the job training and then you have apprenticeships, but we're moving into a world where there are so many skills that have to be learned on the fly.

[00:36:00] So she talks about this almost like this trust challenge, you know, for her it's more. You have to now start trusting your employees because suddenly there'll be on YouTube and they're actually learning, and you have to trust that they are because this learning is everywhere and you have to give them time and space to do that and stimulate that kind of an attitude.

[00:36:25]And it could just be learning problem solving.

[00:36:29] Natan Linder, CEO & co-founder, Tulip: [00:36:29] Yeah. You know, it's interesting because again This very, very important discussion on like, how do you upscale the workforce? You know, always when I hear those things, I kind of think about the people like this is all in my head, so maybe this will come out a little bit weird.

[00:36:49] That's okay. You know, that's why we're here. I'm imagining like some group of people, like 20 years ago inside. We're going to stop training people the cutting edge tech and all that kind of stuff. And then fast forward to today, there's a bunch of people looking back and say, wait a minute, what happened?

[00:37:07] Our people need more skills. And I'm like, where are you for 20 years? Like when everything around the, around us changed and we all got, you know, super computers in our hands and all that kind of stuff. The main thing to understand is like again, back to my favorite word of the podcast today is like this continuity that , the job is like, And this is why, , we are moving, we have moved to a society that is like, really network-driven, we're all connected in a network.

[00:37:33]if you're not on the network, you know, you said before the pandemic, like, can you imagine the pandemic? Like, it would, it's like a network and data. It's like a social good. Now it's like power, electricity, water, you know?

[00:37:46] Yeah. And, and on that knots on, right. We straddle with this podcast already.

[00:37:49] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:37:49] So many networks because we're already connecting this podcast to MFG works. Right. The work that. W we're doing with the world economic forum,  speaking about a network, the World Economic Forum in and of itself historically of course, is a very elite network of thought leaders in government and big business that meet in Davos once a year.

[00:38:11] But, guess what, not only had the pandemic, changed those plans, but they are also gradually opening up and,  many of the projects you and I are involved in. They are all about bringing the skills and the discussions that previously perhaps only were relevant for elites or at least the elites thought so.

[00:38:29] Now everybody is thinking we need to broaden the discussion so small and medium-sized enterprises, first off they're the suppliers of the large companies, and it's not enough anymore to say, Hey, calling up my little supplier and here here's the spec. Because the entire work process depends on a ecosystem that works a  lean  collaboration where all of the parts of the chain have to have to be really well.

[00:38:57] Agile is of course the, the word for that we have been using for, this kind of attitude, but it's so much more, so it is like you pointed out an educational challenge and it's broadening the networks. Globally, up and down, the value chains across the supply chain and between small businesses, large businesses.

[00:39:17] And then of course the generational challenge. You can't just assume that young people coming into manufacturing, just because they've had , I don't know, just because they're on Tik ToK doesn't mean they understand manufacturing, so right. And I mean, and they need a whole new generational shift.

[00:39:34]And then of course, the existing generation who are faced with all of these changes, how are we going to communicate with them and learn from them, learn from the 50 years of experience that people on the shop floor today that are, if one of those gets taken out, you know, by COVID or whatever it is, then experience is lost.

[00:39:53] So it's not just about learning new things. It's about learning old things.

[00:39:58] Natan Linder, CEO & co-founder, Tulip: [00:39:58] Yeah. Like craft that is being lost,

[00:40:00] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:40:00] crafts that are being lost.

[00:40:02] So let's take inventory for a second. So you gave me a startup guy, you gave me an academic researching machine design and robotics. Upskilling. Who else? Let's

[00:40:15] Natan Linder, CEO & co-founder, Tulip: [00:40:15] let's look at some executives. Yeah. Let me give you an example. We have an entrepreneur turned corporate executive, who has basically been part of this entire movement, creating essentially the first industrial manufacturing software and then serially, basically producing almost every, or has been part of almost every company that has made a change in terms of technology on the shop floor.

[00:40:42]He's coming on the show. To tell us really about a story that's not yet told in history books, right? No one, because it's a short story, right? This is a story of the last 15 years. So much has changed , and he has been part of it partly by his entrepreneurship and now working  in large large companies.

[00:41:01]Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:41:01] So that's an example. We will also have executives of, of, of true multinationals. I think coming on to explain how, how they see the situation, right. They are owners of these massive supply networks. They clearly have R and D budgets to spend. They invest in innovation. They invest in education. They have products that are on our shop floors, or, maybe in our hand today in many, many industries from pharma to traditional  manufacturing to tooling, to robotics. All of the industrial automation companies, I think at some time or another will be on the pod

[00:41:40] Natan Linder, CEO & co-founder, Tulip: [00:41:40] that that's exciting. I think it will be really nice to see to juxtapose, the, you know, the, the executive level Next to the folks on the shop floor.

[00:41:52] I also think we're going to bring in some some actual you know, workers, no one's listening to them. I knew we always talk about  Oh, and these are awesome people don't get me wrong. Whether they're like amazing business leaders that build  the P and L of our dreams and the products that we all wish we could execute on, or it's like the amazing engineer who built  the startup or the special production technology that you're, you're like, wow, that person is so smart.

[00:42:21] Obviously that's a solution to that problem. But when was the last time you went to podcast and you're like, Understanding,  what does it mean today to be on the line and making, custom leisure crafts,  folks that, that, that or what does it mean to be on the line that makes nuclear, so we all see them behind the politicians I'm not going all you know, the Jeanne D'Arc or anything like that, I just think that.

[00:42:49]At the end of the day, the world is flat, it's flat as our touch screen on our iPhone ? And everybody has a voice, but , we're not , we're not letting these people come in and say, Hey, let me tell you how much technology impacted me and like how I started. And, I always hear those stories about people.

[00:43:07] They go into all sorts of operations from time to time. And I see those people, They never finished high school, but they learned so much on the job.  From the craft, the first introduction of computer there, they might be 20 years. It might be running the whole manufacturing operation, you know?

[00:43:23] Yeah.

[00:43:23] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:43:23] And I will promise you this, not everybody who comes on this podcast is going to be famous. They might be famous afterwards. That would be great. But the point is, this is not a discussion, just, , in the high-flying layers. , of industry, right. This discussion has to, we have to be able to handle disagreement and, to your point about discontinuities, I don't think everybody is feeling that they're part of this movement right now, or certainly that they have.

[00:43:48]That their voice is heard and understood. So I'd be very happy to invite people on the podcast who don't really see the benefit right now, perhaps of augmentation or who are questioning many of the managerial decisions being made right now,  or maybe indeed feel like we're, we are going in a wrong direction.

[00:44:06] These are very important voices.

[00:44:09] Natan Linder, CEO & co-founder, Tulip: [00:44:09] So we're coming up on time here and I wanna, I want to get to our jeopardy stage of our podcast. And so I did prepare for this. So, I'm sorry if I'm going to put you on the spot here, but give me three quick  goals that you think if you hit them, we'll be successful in this.

[00:44:34] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:44:34] Look, if we manage to have had. A variety of people that matter in this discussion that, that everybody sort of agrees. Yeah. These are people that matter in this discussion to have them on this podcast and say things that they don't say in any other forum. That would be one goal for me, because I'm not all about repetition.

[00:44:59] This is not about just repeating what everyone else is doing. We want to go a different, we want to ask a slightly different questions, perhaps probe a little deeper, but also just make some more connections between different areas and have a combination I think, of a deep and a more lighthearted discussion,  with people that universally are regarded as a matter in, in automation, number two, I hope that we can break it up.

[00:45:25] I hope that we will surprise some people with the breadth of the topics and that we can even build something through this podcast, which creates another narrative creates  basically a strain, a type of people, maybe maybe it is workers. Maybe it is another group of people we find to have them essentially tell us , where this has been going wrong. so number two for me is, is essentially a course correction. If we can contribute in some way. And I have no idea what that course correction, whether it's needed. I think it probably is. I just have no idea where that could take us. Number three , a podcast in and of itself doesn't change the world. But I do think that it is actually possible to ideate. And by that, I mean, come up with concepts through this kind of discussion and foster something, the podcast won't build any products, right. But if we managed to coalesce the community here in a different way than, it has been done before then I think we can start to steer the ship or at least let the community steer the ship and document where this is going.

[00:46:37] So I think  the third part for me is about , not innovation, but it is about perhaps building a community or formulating a community, or trying to understand what this community is and where we are heading and where we want to go and start having maybe more directional thoughts.

[00:46:56] Cause I think right now we're very reactive. Whether it's policy makers, even, even startups, right? We, we are all reactive. We are jumping on what we think is, maybe the way to a quick product or, , a market or something. But this is, I think, as I was alluding to much earlier, this is about something much more important.

[00:47:16] So where do we want to go? If we can help. Chart a little bit of where it's going, even just by bringing on people who start having ideas and, joining forces in, in an interesting way. I think that would be my third ambition. So combination, I guess, of having the people that matter. Finding a new generation, a new voice, and actually charting a direction for a community.

[00:47:43] Natan Linder, CEO & co-founder, Tulip: [00:47:43] Great. The next jeopardy question? No,

[00:47:46] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:47:46] come on. I just did three jeopardy questions, not just joking.

[00:47:50] Natan Linder, CEO & co-founder, Tulip: [00:47:50] No. I wanna I wanna help you you know, help our audience understand where, where we're going. So. If you have to say succinctly, who is this podcast for? Like, who do you want to be listening to us? And eventually becoming, potential guests or contributors . Who are we looking for?  what would you say?

[00:48:13] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:48:13] Number one, because it's  tangible, is leaders in manufacturing. And by that, I mean, a broad scope of leaders, right? Not just super, super senior leaders, but literally anybody who has a role where they're managing people, managing factories or are involved perhaps even on the governance side or in research.

[00:48:35] Shaping already today have a role shaping manufacturing. I, I want to be a voice for them and I hope that Augmented can be an arena that they find relevant. That's I think core. Number two,E beyond leaders, I think it's to reach the next generation. So it's this educational challenge. And by the next generation, I also mean people that I know Tulip works a lot with. So non developers, so you're talking, reaching people to talk about technology that maybe engineers that may be process engineers, they may be quality engineers. They're leaders, but they have been domain specific and interested in things that aren't really part of these various, super fascinating robotics, AI, you know, advanced software discussions.

[00:49:25] They're just doing their jobs, their process innovating. But if we can be an arena to connect the dots between the very, very advanced research , and all the product development going on in , in things like AI, robotics, IOT, sensors , all of that stuff and what this group of engineers are really experiencing on the shop floor, in their day-to-day life I think that'd be very, very valuable. So that, that would be two groups for me. And then generally, and you alluded to this, why is it that the broader society doesn't see manufacturing as interesting. If we can make a dent in that impression, even by just, I think, blowing in open doors. Right? I mean, cause this is pretty obvious to me.

[00:50:14]But if we can state that and demonstrate that in a useful way, That  perhaps the most important thing a young person could do now is to go into the manufacturing industry with their skills and, and that if they make that choice, they will have a far bigger voice in AI than they ever thought possible or in robotics or in any advanced domain, because this is a real challenge here.

[00:50:40] We're dealing with a combination of physical infrastructure, which is really complex. And a software infrastructure, which of course is also complex, but it is the meeting point of those two with the societal concerns that I think we've talked about, now for, for a good bit, you have to keep all those things in your head at the same time.

[00:51:02] And,  that's a complicated discussion, but I think young people we'll see how exciting the next generation of all of this industry is.

[00:51:13] Natan Linder, CEO & co-founder, Tulip: [00:51:13] Excellent. So my last question is if people want to jump on our train here and pitch ideas or suggest an episode  what should they do?

[00:51:25] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:51:25] Well, that's easy augmentedpodcast.co.

[00:51:28] We'll be there. You can send suggestions. We'll  invite guests.  We're going to do live episodes. So we'll be  streaming this on LinkedIn, probably YouTube, a lot of other channels live and, , people can come in and ask questions live.

[00:51:43]And , we will try to keep a, discussion going and we want to have you engaged

[00:51:50]Natan Linder, CEO & co-founder, Tulip: [00:51:50] Well, Trond, thank you very much. This has been awesome interviewing you. Hopefully, I did a decent enough job where, you know, you excel and I can't wait to get all those episodes out there.

[00:52:01] I know we have a pretty exciting lineup coming up and I think we'd love to see you all join us. So please hit that subscribe button, smash that like button,  and we'll see you online and hopefully in the real world very soon as well. Any  last comments Trond?

[00:52:20] well, thanks for having me on the show. I mean, it's going to be a rarity I'm going to try, and this is really hard as an interviewer.  My style is I try to reflect a little bit, but you have reminded me that there there's actually value when you have a smart interviewer, they, do deserve to say something. Cause I think you, you have taken your space here.

[00:52:38]Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:52:38] I hope that it's going to be an interesting journey. My challenge I think is, is going to be quiet enough, to listen to everybody. And, that's really I guess a lifelong project, right. To, to make sure you listen well, and that's at least my ambition. So let's see how we're doing

[00:52:56]Natan Linder, CEO & co-founder, Tulip: [00:52:56] mine as well. I mean, there's always more listening one can do starting with yours. Truly.

[00:53:04] Thank you, Trond.

[00:53:05] Trond Arne Undheim, host: [00:53:05] Thank you so much.

[00:53:08] You have just listened to episode one of the Augmented podcast with host Trond Arne Undheim. The topic was automation to augmentation. A guest was Trond Arne Undheim himself in conversation and interviewed by Natan Linder, CEO, and co-founder of Tulip.

[00:53:28] In this conversation we talked about the ambitious aim of the Augmented podcast to shift the discussion about industrial operations from automation to augmentation, bringing a bottom up perspective that benefits the frontline worker. My takeaway is that the path from automation to augmentation, won't be linear. Clearly there is still a place for automation. What we need to ensure is that industrial operation doesn't only become efficient, but also maintains meaning for the frontline worker. The shift from automation to augmentation, starting with the appearance of 3D printing, which is continuously improving, adding the revolutionary layer of low-code and no-code apps on the manufacturing shop floor has just begun literally only a few years ago.

[00:54:17] This is why discussing what is happening to make sure both industry insiders and those who depend on industry are comfortable, have a stake in the process and can be part of the change is so important. The Augmented podcast aims to be part of the up-skilling process that has to occur equally and equitably among government policy makers, industry leaders, and frontline workers.

[00:54:43] Thanks for listening. If you liked the show, subscribe at Augmentedpodcast.co or in your preferred podcast player and rate us with five stars. If you liked this episode, you might also like episode number three, Re-imagining training, Episode four, A Renaissance of manufacturing or Episode five, Plug and play industrial tech. Augmented-the industry 4.0 podcast.

Natan Linder

Co-founder & CEO, Tulip; Co-founder & Chairman, Formlabs

Natan Linder is co-founder and CEO of manufacturing technology company, Tulip, and co-founder and chairman of Formlabs, the pioneer and industry leader in professional desktop 3D printing. Linder holds a PhD from MIT Media Lab's Fluid Interfaces Group and a S.M. in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT.