It is a known fact that our world is currently experiencing a highly unprecedented acceleration in automation, technological-based advancements, and related implementations. The shifts that are currently occurring within the business world, industrial sector, and various other enterprises are profound. The end result of such shifts is resulting in the redundancy of human-performed professions. Research performed by the Science & Technology Select Committee of the British Government, Oxford University, and the Forbes Coaches Council clearly indicate that there is both a concern and expectation that artificial intelligence automation will result in the decline and/or elimination of numerous human occupations. In this brief blog post, we will expound on the future of automation and its impact on business.

 

Polarized Discussions and Debates

Currently, vast arrays of discussions are being engaged in which question the potential of automation in business, as well as the detriment of artificial intelligence ranking superior to human workers. These talks are considered to be highly polarized; that is, there is a side that displays a high level of optimism towards automation and one side that voices the grave concern that such technological advancements could prove to be highly detrimental. Many business owners and executives believe that automation will improve the overall quality of products in which they offer and optimize the standard of living. Then, there are those that believe that automation in business will result in the detriment of occupation dislocation, on a massive level. Despite these polarized discussions and debates, the implementation of automation within a business and its effect will be highly dependent upon the sector in which it is occurring.

This week automation professionals and executives in the pharmaceutical industry from Pfizer, GSK, Biogen, Sanofi, Lilly, Genentech, BMS and Lonza will meet at the 2017 ISA FPID Symposium to discuss emerging technologies and automation projects and the unique challenges related to automation in their industry. The ISA provides training, sets standards, and hosts conferences related to automation. This is just one of the many places these conversations on automation are taking place.

 

History Will Repeat Itself; Yet, Will Yield More Positive Results

The creation, development, and the implementation of new technology within the workplace is driven by the quest of a business to optimize their productivity levels, improve the quality of the unique goods that they produce, reduce costs, and improve the overall working conditions of the establishment. All throughout history, this has been made evident – time and time again. Advancements in new technology initiated in the nineteenth century during the Industrial Revolution. It initiated with the introduction of the assembly line – which aided in simplifying required tasks and creating job opportunities for workers who were considered to be low-skilled.

 

In the twentieth century, the introduction of new technology to the workplace continued to emerge with the development of the computer revolution. The systems of the time reduced the need to employ massive amounts of individuals in the manufacturing sector and the urgency to fill clerical-based positions. As a result, higher levels of productivity, advancements in computer-based storage, and high-quality and accurate file keeping were experienced. The twenty-first century is now considered to be in the midst of a digital revolution. The automation of today stems from highly advanced machinery and systems that have the unique ability to handle complex tasks. While this is placing skilled workers in the position of facing the elimination of their positions, it is opening up new opportunities. History continues to repeat itself; however, it is rendering much more positive results – overall.

 

Business Automation Creates Opportunities Otherwise Unfathomable

Business automation has been identified as a “disruptive technology” in the year 1995 by Clayton M. Christensen. The reason being, it is creating a new type of market and a highly valuable network that disrupts that which is currently in existence; however, this is not negative. Business automation creates opportunities that are – otherwise – unfathomable. Examples of business automation include – but, are not at all limited to – artificial intelligence, robotics, predictive analytics, and additive printing. Automation is not simply one form of technology, but rather, a collaboration of many technologies. Changes in the workplace and the workforce are occurring at absolutely alarming speeds. For the business that proactively respond and successfully adapt, numerous advantages await. The breakthroughs will bring new jobs and will optimize the economy. It is not a question of the potential of business automation; rather, it is a question of whether or not a business and those that are part of that establishment are willing to accept that potential or suffer being left to endure detrimental consequences.

 


Resources:

Forbes Coaches Council. Forbes. 31 March 2017. Forbes. 26 April 2017. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/03/31/jobs-in-the-automation-age-how-one-can-avoid-becoming-zeroed-out/#2e879eab1171

Kolbert, Elizabeth. The New Yorker. 19 December 2016. The New Yorker. 26 April 2017. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/12/19/our-automated-future

Adi. The Horizons Tracker. 13 October 2016. The Horizons Tracker. 26 April 2017. http://adigaskell.org/2016/10/13/work-in-an-ai-world/

Gaskell, Adi. Forbes. 22 December 2016. Forbes. 26 April 2017. https://www.forbes.com/sites/adigaskell/2016/12/22/automation-and-the-future-of-work/#52457fdb71fc

Frey, Carl Benedikt Frey and Osborne, Michael A. Oxford Martin. 17 September 2013. Oxford Martin. 26 April 2017.
http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downloads/academic/The_Future_of_Employment.pdf