We see automation being used in the workplace every day. Take McDonalds for example, they now minimise the need for human interaction with a self-service method which helps to cut down queues. This allows customers to walk into the restaurant and order via a digital platform, meaning the only interaction they receive is when the food is served to them at the pick-up point or to their table. Automation is beginning to change a huge number of industries around the world, including the trading and finance industries like Forex where robots are beginning to trade for people, construction sites to improve processes, industrial warehouses and many more, allowing almost every role to be completed quickly and efficiently.Whilst automation is often seen as a positive change due to practicality, it can also be viewed as a negative change due to the decreased amount of human interaction that it proposes.
Starbucks have noticed this change, and have proposed a more humanistic self-service process. When ordering in the drive-through, Starbucks will have a two-way video screen to grant the employee and the customer face-to-face interaction. This is just one example of how automation is quickly changing how workplaces function. But how else could we be affected? Is it all positive? We’ve decided to take a deeper look.
People Could Lose Their Jobs
It’s no surprise that technology is rapidly advancing by the year and it could and likely will be carrying out tasks that we’d never imagine possible in the foreseeable future. A large focus on automation currently is AI. The main focus with AI at the moment is making them socially and emotionally intelligent to ensure they are as close to a human as possible. The more advanced AI becomes, the less demand there will be for jobs in a huge range of industries. In the financial service industry, for example, the future of ecommerce and automated technology will mean that all transactions can be carried out digitally without the assistance of a banker. Many bank workers could become redundant, as they’ll become easily replaced by AI and banking automation.
Statistics show that 45% of the activities that humans carry out in their everyday jobs can be just as effectively carried out by AI. Plus 5% of occupations can be completely carried out by an automated device, causing a large portion of jobs in our economy to become under threat.
Colleagues Will Become Robotic
Linking back to the point above, whilst not every job can be completely automated, there are a fair few that will no longer require any human touch at all. Can we expect to build relationships with robots in the future? They’ll be taking over a significant amount of jobs in the workplace so the answer may have to be ‘yes’. Just as we see bots scour the internet, we could soon see robots taking over reality too. In the future, it appears that we will be heavily reliant on robots to carry out tasks in the workplace, as their engineering will make them skilful in complex mathematics and algorithmic learning. They could even go on to take control of customer service for some businesses.
As we move forward, automation engineers are heavily focusing on making AI more humanistic in order to eliminate the huge gap that lies between humans and robots. However, as humans, we have a better understanding about how robots work than how we actually function ourselves. It has been identified by Nesta that AI lacks “creativity, dexterity and social intelligence”, and these are crucial areas within every business in order to excel into bigger things.
It’s Being Used ForPersonnel Management
Many organisations have discovered that using AI for personnel management is highly effective. By using automated systems, managers are able to find the perfect candidates for jobs, ensuring that each department is equipped with the best workers. AI can help detect the most promising resumes as well as ensuring that they can find a more diverse selection of candidates which they wouldn’t be able to find without automation. In order to gain an understanding about job descriptions and related skills, the automated system can scan entries online. After this, the results are correlated with anonymised resumes, leading onto a shortlisting and interviewing process. By using automation like this in the work place, managers can ensure that they are employing the correct candidates for each job, hopefully raising the prospects for the company.
It has been proven by statistics that recruiters spend 60% of their time on average reading CV’s and resumes, so by using automated systems to do the job for them, they can use their time more efficiently. Employers can also program its requirements into the AI, ensuring that it is searching for the right candidates. By enforcing this automated technology into the workplace, recruiters will have the opportunity to improve the quality of their business model and hopefully expand their business in the near future.
Employees Are Being Tracked
It has been in the news recently that the tracking of productivity and lifestyles of employees is on the rise. Automated software can track how employees are handling certain aspects of their jobs, including how they are using their computers on a daily basis. Any computer activity from emails, web search and app use will be tracked, with screenshots taken for accurate proof. Therefore, AI can detect any poor productivity or inappropriate activity that occurs during working hours, allowing employers to make informed decisions about their employees. Managers have admitted that the AI software has been very useful, and allowed them to steer workers in the right direction and allow them to progress in their job. However, where do you draw the line?
Not only has automation been used to track the work ethic of employees, but it is also used to track the location of where the employee is. The movement of workers is tracked and logged into software, which will alert managers about the whereabouts of their employees at all times. Not only will it track where they are, but it will also track how long they are spending time at their desk and the toilet, for example. Some automated systems go even further though, as employees can be tracked outside of the workplace, allowing managers to determine where they might be if they call in sick. Of course, this usage has sparked a lot of controversy, as the overall privacy of employees has been seriously questioned.
It Allows Flexibility To Occur Within The Workplace
AI can be programmed in a range of different ways, meaning that automated systems can develop many more skills than the average human. Within a humanised workplace, each department will be full of people who specialise in that particular field. With AI, however, we can program them to specialise not just in one, but in wide a range of different fields, allowing them to excel in every department and to be flexible with the jobs that they’re assigned. Employers value flexibility highly as it allows jobs to be completely efficiently, and with automation becoming more intelligent by the day, there will be an outstanding balance of quality and quantity in every job.
But, in jobs that rely heavily on interaction and customer service, an automated approach might not be the wisest. Plus, many workplaces thrive off of diversity, and so with automated systems that are all programmed the same way, companies will lose the uniqueness that makes them so effective and different from competitors.