“Automation” has become one of the many buzzwords in recent history – every organization, every corporation, and every office will have heard this word in one way or another. Everything is automated, be it our daily routine such as shaving (just take a look at the evolution of the use of electric shaving techniques), to the way we experience leisure, and especially in the way we work, is going through large-scale automation initiatives.
And inevitably, it has caused fear and insecurity as regards to the future of humans in jobs – and rightfully so. Massive layoffs, particularly in the manufacturing sector are now happening at a frightening pace as robots have begun to replace humans in the assembly lines, for reasons that are no longer unknown to many of us.
Add the turbulent political climate of fear and distrust, and then it becomes an issue with far-ranging consequences, whether intended or otherwise, which further adds to the misconception of automation as a negative thing…in the sense that the endgame of automation is to layoff as many workers as possible to maximize savings for big organizations – all of which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
If that’s not enough, automation is an initiative being pushed by corporations, too – even those engaged in service-oriented roles such as call centers, business process outsourcing, and information technology – all of which can be considered under the large umbrella of IT-enabled services. Of course, the endgame is to cut costs on what can be optimized.
But what does automation really mean for IT-enabled services, and entire organizations for that matter? Let’s look at the ways as to how organizations will live with this reality in the coming years.
The Question Of Unemployment.
Perhaps this is the greatest issue many employees have with automation – that it will replace jobs faster than they can be created, which will lead to a broken and unsustainable economic system.
These fears are largely unfounded – automation causes short term disruptions, arguably, but that doesn’t mean that the sectors of labor most affected by it cannot be reallocated. Displacement is definitely a reality, but replacement is an altogether different question.
The Question Of Obsolescence.
Will human civilization end up the way of the ox and the plow? This is yet another fear that automation brings – but it is rather a fallacy or a myth more than it is a truth. First of all, we aren’t oxen nor are we plows, nor are we donkeys – we are in charge of our destiny as creators of technology, and human ingenuity will never be able to be automated.
Jobs won’t disappear – they will just change. And as we have seen throughout human history, we have always been able to adapt – that’s human ingenuity at work. And that doesn’t look like it will change for the coming centuries, or millennia.
The Question Of Job Security And Creation.
The fear of conglomerates, those large companies that employ thousands and thousands of employees all over the world not being able to replace the workforce they’ve laid off is yet another unfounded fear – organizations have invested millions into training and preparing staff for future roles in different fields within the organization if and when automation replaces them.
Furthermore, the number of small, startup companies have just proven this fundamentally wrong – innovation is continuing, and people are not going away anytime soon. You can nullify machines and beasts of burden, but not people.
And that’s the key takeaway – we aren’t going anywhere, at least for the time being. Keep well.