Over the last few years there has been a lot of focus on internet of things (IoT), machine learning and artificial intelligence in the oil and gas industry, particularly in terms of how they’re changing the very way the entire industry operates. With widespread adoption of these disruptive technologies across the industry, an important question needs to be answered – will automation completely replace people or create new employment opportunities?

Energy Conference Network’s IoT in Oil & Gas event, held on 16-17 September in Houston, Texas, staged the ideal platform for organisations like Chevron, Shell, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, BP and many more global players to talk about how they’re leveraging smart technologies to respond to and navigate volatile oil prices and constantly rising bottom-line pressures.

This event (the world’s largest focused IoT in oil and gas event) attracted 800 attendees, 80 speakers and 60 sponsors, and was opened with a keynote presentation by Brent A. Kedzierski, Manager, Manufacturing Learning Global Portfolios & Innovation from Shell Downstream US. Mr Kedzierski shared his insights on how IoT is going beyond digital transformation to creating the connected environment, and thereby, the connected worker.

Will humans be the future of work?

Mr Kedzierski suggested that technology is disrupting the way we work and replacing traditional jobs – but what has been unclear is how humans fit into the new digitally-focused, automated oil and gas industry of the future.

“Well the answer to this question is simple,” said Mr Kedzierski. “The workforce is changing, not disappearing.

Those born between 2011 and 2025 (known as the Alphas) are entrepreneurial, born into technology and social networking. We will need jobs that present higher levels of cognition.

“Our workforce will become more human, not less so. Yes, key technologies like drones and sensors are replacing human activities, but this creates new entrant opportunities to the workforce.

“As it is, we don’t spend enough time talking, listening and using emotional intelligence, so the human spirit will be much more valuable in the future.

“We will see an increase in judgement and critical thinking, problem solving, written and verbal communications.

“IoT is creating the connected worker and they need continuous learning and skills development – it’s the job currency of the future.”

Energy Conference Network’s globally acclaimed IoT in Oil & Gas series is coming to Australian soil on 3-4 December in Perth.

The IoT & Machine Learning in Oil & Gas Australia event will bring together 25+ speakers and senior executives representing the entire Australian oil and gas industry, to learn how to harness the power of intelligent technologies to respond to and navigate volatile oil prices, constantly rising bottom-line pressures and seamlessly digitalise their operational capability.

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