My efforts to up-skill myself led to enrollment in a short course offered by Charles Sturt University titled ‘Being a Manager-Leader in a VUCA world’. As part of the course, I had the opportunity to view a video titled ‘Humans Need Not Apply’ and my research on the topic began.
Of all the definitions available on the internet I preferred the one by IBM which defines ‘Automation’ as the application of technology programs, robotics or processes to achieve outcomes with minimal human input. The impact of automation is evident in all aspects of modern life. Businesses using automation have already rendered hundreds of employees unemployable and the growth of unemployability will only be inevitable in future. Software engineers creating the autobots on mechanical minds that can watch, learn, remember and perform better have not only impacted on individual workers by taking on several low skilled jobs but will impact society, if it has not already, hugely.
The usefulness of autobots now and in the future have been propagandized in all forms of media. Besides the unemployability of humans, the negative effects of robots being employed in the negative effects of robots being employed in the workforce have not been realistically portrayed to people. It might be useful if the creators of mechanical minds warned people of the issues that would arise when robots are hired in the place of humans. The switching from physical labour environment to a robotic workplace is enormously costly which is a financial challenge for smaller businesses. Buying robots, installing and maintaining these make the whole process of transformation an expensive affair even if it is for a small organization. If the organizations are unprepared and do not have the latest cyber security software systems in place, the world of automation would lure the hackers resulting in massive data breach or cyber security threats or risks. While there is no argument about robots being better than humans if not perfect and their ability to increase productivity these are not flexible when compared to humans, when circumstances change suddenly, even though they have the ability to perform, memorize and work with swiftness.
Image by Ravindra Panwar on Pixabay.com
Society will have to undergo a change as they have to get used to the idea of robots being employed in their workplaces forcing them to consider relocation which could affect family life as pointed out by Rick Delgado in the feature titled ‘The Negative Effects of Robots entering the workforce’ published on IT Briefcase. Joseph Schempeter’s coinage “economic losers” wouldn’t be a rarity in an automation driven society. According to World Economic Forum, the government’s crucial role in this age of technological revolution in promoting opportunities has to be emphasized or else this disruption could cause what has been termed by Singapore based study as a “broken career ladder” where there is no direction or opportunities for growth to entry level works. Contrary to the norm of providing training and education to low-skilled workers, now the government is forced to think about providing pre -employment and post-employment training to employees in various sectors to keep up with the rapidly changing society where businesses either embrace change or lose. Is automation really better than humans?