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How software robots will bring humanity back to your work


Kuba - February 18, 2019 - 0 comments

 

Business Automation has emerged as a significant tool for organisations in recent years. The technology is growing and evolving constantly and it’s certainly here to stay.

Automation is and has always been a great force affecting the job market. Any technology that takes care of a process or a task that gives you time to focus on something else can be considered automation.

 

Historically there has been a lot of fear associated with it. Especially in blue-collar jobs. This sentiment was at the forefront of political leaders programmes. In the mid 20th century President John F. Kennedy declared that the major national challenge of the 60s was to “maintain full employment at a time when automation is replacing men”. This was provoked by the firm appearance of computers on production floors and in the offices.

 

In 1964 President Lyndon Johnson received a letter urging him to regulate the danger of a “the combination of the computer and the automated self-regulating machine”.  It was a memo sent by a group of Noble Prize laureates, known as the Ad Hoc Committee on the Triple Revolution who were considering the consequences of a new era “which requires progressively less human labour” and threatened to divide society into a skilled elite and an unskilled underclass. The advent of personal computers in the 1980s provoked further worries over potential job losses.

 

Yet, in the past, technology has always ended up creating more jobs than it destroys. That is because of the way automation works in practice. Automating a particular task, so that it can be done more quickly or cheaply, increases the demand for human workers to do the other tasks around it.

 

Focusing only on what is “lost” is the wrong way of looking at the economics of automation. The un-automateable tasks, that can be only done by humans, rise in value and job market flourishes. Ultimately, the job market is not a zero-sum game. The notion that there’s only a finite amount of work to do, and therefore that if you automate some of it there’s less for people to do, is just wrong.

 

Automation redefines the jobs, making them more interesting, requiring more creativity and more of “the human element”. It moves careers to another level.

 

There are many historical examples of this pattern.

 

Take the ATMs. They spelt sure doom upon the bank employees. Not quite, right? Rather than destroying jobs, ATMs changed bank employees’ work mix, moved them away from routine tasks towards more human interactions like sales and customer service that machines could not do.

 

Predictions about what types of jobs will be replaced and how fast vary widely. One commonly cited study from 2013 estimated that roughly 48 per cent of jobs could be lost over the next two decades because they involve work that is easily automated.

The way that number was reached has a big flaw. The study considered a job to be doomed if it contained _a_ (singular) routine task. Most jobs though, are not so one-dimensional and involve many different tasks. Only some are repetitive. Automating them gives people a chance to excel at the other, most probably more interesting and more human ones. A 2017 McKinsey review suggests that only less than 5% of jobs might be fully automatable in the near future.

 

Our experience shows us positive impact automation has on the employees, and obviously the company as a whole.

It is never the case that this is done to cut budgets and make people redundant.

 

The fact that the employee doesn’t have to work on the mind-numbing tasks anymore means she can focus on more creative, business enhancing task rather than greasing the wheels.

 

We see this routinely within projects we do. Work automation executed properly is always a positive change throughout the company. On all levels, from junior employees to the CEO.

 

Employees that have a chance to express their intelligence and creativity at work are happier and thus more productive. What’s more, they quit less frequently.

In the long run that creates thriving companies and boosts financial and resource-led growth.

 

A common misconception about AI and Automation is that it is best leveraged by finance, banking and insurance organisations.

We believe that business automation is a vital tool for every industry, each of which has an array of processes that can be successfully automated.

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