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The future of manufacturing: Utopia or dystopia?

Marinescu, Adrian; Argyle, Elizabeth M.; Duvnjak, Joshua; Wilson, Max L.; Lawson, Glyn; Sharples, Sarah; Hubbard, Ella‐Mae; Justham, Laura

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Adrian Marinescu

Elizabeth M. Argyle

Joshua Duvnjak

Associate Professor

Professor of Human Factors

Ella‐Mae Hubbard

Laura Justham


Digital manufacturing technologies (DMTs) have the potential to transform industry productivity, but their introduction into the workplace is often a complex process, requiring not only technical expertise but also an awareness of ethical and societal challenges surrounding human–system integration. Concerns about the introduction of new technology have been prevalent throughout history, and exploring public perceptions of these technologies can provide insight to help address such cultural anxieties. However, evaluating user perceptions of futuristic technology is difficult, requiring novel approaches to provide context and understanding. To explore users' perceptions of future DMTs, we applied the ContraVision technique in a questionnaire-based study. Participants viewed films, representing fictionalized utopic and dystopic visions of what the future of these DMTs might involve, and a questionnaire probed the perceptions of the technologies afterward. Findings showed that irrespective of the way technology was portrayed, participants had concerns about the ethical and responsible implementation of these tools. Participant responses were analyzed to identify key challenges for policy surrounding DMT implementation in the future of manufacturing.


Marinescu, A., Argyle, E. M., Duvnjak, J., Wilson, M. L., Lawson, G., Sharples, S., …Justham, L. (2023). The future of manufacturing: Utopia or dystopia?. Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing and Service Industries, 33(2), 184-200.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 3, 2022
Online Publication Date Oct 27, 2022
Publication Date 2023-03
Deposit Date Oct 25, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 2, 2022
Journal Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing & Service Industries
Print ISSN 1090-8471
Electronic ISSN 1520-6564
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 33
Issue 2
Pages 184-200
Keywords Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering; Human Factors and Ergonomics
Public URL
Publisher URL


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