Control centres themselves will have built-in advanced artificial intelligence (AI) that will support sustainable entrepreneurship. This will demand a completely new understanding of control room work and its need to be transformed from an environment for supervisory tasks to one where creativity and learning take place in an open environment.
Our working definition of AI is: the ability of machines and other devices to perform activities normally associated with humans, including the ability to modify behaviours on the basis of learning from errors and experience. In the long term, AI could support the operators to build up a database and related systems for process optimisation. It can also provide decision aids for error handling. In this way opportunity will be available for the operator’s own creativity and development work that might be outside the scope of AI. It is important to alert the operators to the risk of becoming too dependent on the AI system, because this system will always (or at least mainly) act within the current paradigm (that is, thinking within the box). The big advantage of human operators is their potential to be proactive, creative, and out – of-the-box thinkers. However, a basic condition is that the organisation and its top management and managers on all other levels are willing to accept the challenge of creative thinking. There is always a risk that creative thinking will be perceived as odd, unrealistic, and perhaps (in this context) dangerous. The use of simulations will be an obvious alternative to allow creative thinking and experimentation without intervening in the real system. In other words we are here focusing on the top right – hand box in Figure 11.3. Simulation is a very good example of experimenting with new ideas and theories with the use of tacit knowledge (in this instance, a kind of feeling of new possibilities, which from time to time come into the heads of creative, experienced operators).