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When Tesla built its flagship fully automated plant in Fremont, California, it was supposed to be a revolution in manufacturing. What ultimately happened was a painful truth. The AI-powered robots actually slowed down production, and the plant failed to meet its benchmarks. The company had to shut down the factory and hired specialized workers to train and manage the robots.

Founder Elon Musk tweeted: “Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated.”

Human accountants should never be underrated. The specialized training accountants receive will both gain and add value as part of the fourth industrial revolution. People create ideas and build businesses, and accountants are needed as trusted advisers. The technology may change, but the dynamics will remain the same and more than likely strengthen.

Tesla, Fremont, California: Factory 1.75 square kilometers; Employs 22,000 people; Outputs 600,000 cars per annum, 1640 cars per day, more than 1 car per minute. Size does matter.