Intelligent automation is commonly associated with fewer employment options for human workers. Companies that produce automation products, such as IPsoft, are committed to pioneering a future in which human workers and digital labor work together to make companies and society more efficient. By showing the world how effective human and machine-based collaboration can be, we believe we can dispel the myth of automation as a job killer.
Analyst firms agree with our optimism. McKinsey predicts new jobs and roles will emerge that will give displaced workers opportunities with companies that have shifted to automation. Gartner Research views AI as a job creator. According to the research firm, AI will create 2.3 million jobs, while eliminating only 1.8 million jobs by 2020, and by 2025 AI will have resulted in 2 million net-new jobs.
If you apply Bruce Schneier’s Golden Triangle — the notion that people, processes, and technology must work in collaboration for a technology implementation to be truly successful — it’s clear that AI will have ultimately a positive impact on global employment. In 2013, Schneier revised the triangle to factor in the speed and accuracy that makes automation so important on both the strategic and tactical level. While strategic adoption of automation is typically associated with fear — e.g., robots will replace auto workers — the tactical level is where one can begin to imagine the potential of hybrid workforces.
Out With the Rote, In With the New
We’ve written in the past about the many ways automation will impact IT roles. For example: Ask any IT worker how often he or she receives tickets to reset passwords, or provide Wi-Fi access, or create new VPN credentials. Today, automation can handle and fulfill these roles without human intervention. Employees can speak or type their problems to a cognitive interface, and a digital colleague can run an automation to solve the issue immediately.
This doesn’t automatically mean that IT support employees who are resetting passwords today must be displaced. Some companies will certainly use automation as an excuse to cut labor costs, but the smarter businesses will train employees who were stuck working on routine tasks to handle more complex and impactful ones. Workers who previously handled rote processes can be trained in roles that generate revenue and contribute to the bottom line.
The same goes for technology creators, such as IPsoft. Technology firms that create technology solely for the purpose of displacing workers will be obsolete once enterprises realize how valuable hybrid workforces can be. A platform that utilizes people’s unique skills (such as creativity and problem-solving), while also ensuring adherence to strict processes managed at machine speed with little-to-no errors, will be more valuable than a platform that simply automates password resets.
When you incorporate intelligent automation into your technology ecosystem, virtual labor performs and studies the automations they’re running and proactively seeks enhancements or shortcuts. Intelligent automation doesn’t automatically apply changes; it alerts human labor and asks if these modifications can be made for future processes. If digital labor encounters a problem while running an automation, it watches and learns how human labor applies the fix and masters that resolution so it can be applied to future problems.
As Schneier understood, people, processes and technology must work in concert in order for technology to be effective. However, as automation becomes more integral to our work, we’ll have to adjust how we imagine the processes assigned to workers. Businesses that ditch their workforces entirely in lieu of automation will save money in the short-term but be left behind by innovative competitors. Companies that allow automation to do most of the repetitive work, without reassigning human workers to more challenging roles, will fail to capitalize on opportunities for innovation and revenue generation. Only those companies that foster collaborative relationships between people and intelligent automation will get the best of both worlds — human ingenuity and machine speed.