26 May, 2020
WILL AUTOMATION TAKE MY JOB?
Many people wonder if they will lose their jobs due to the big advancements technology has made when it comes to process automation. In my opinion, work as we know it will go through a big transformation that will make many of today’s tasks obsolete. Having said that, I am an optimist. I do not see such a grim future like others do. I would even venture to say it could be a great opportunity if we know how to manage it.
This is not the first time that a new product, or technological advancement, produces a reduction in the workforce. This phenomenon has been a constant throughout our history. Humans have always been generating ideas on how to make work simpler, more efficient, and of higher quality.
Here is an example to put this into context: A few years ago, if one of our ancestors wanted to dig a hole, they would do it by hand. If it was a big hole that needed to be dug quickly, they would need a lot of people to get it done. Shortly after, someone ahead of their time analyzed the situation, saw how much time and energy it took to dig holes, and the shovel was invented. Suddenly, fewer people were needed to finish the task in the same amount of time or less.
Years later, another forward-thinker felt as though the task of digging a big hole with a shovel was too costly because it took too many human resources and too much time, and time was extremely valuable. Through this need, the excavator was invented. Now the same task is done with a single person and in a fraction of the time.
So, what happened to those who dug by hand and then with a shovel?
They may have felt out of place for a while, but then adapted their skills to access new jobs where they required more use of their intelligence. For instance, repairing the excavator.
This has always been the case, and with process automation it will be no different. Our priority right now is preparing ourselves to make the period of adaptation as short as possible. This is achieved by finding the spaces where our ingenuity is still superior and acquiring the knowledge needed to occupy those spaces.
As an optimist, I ask myself: why should we, being such skilled beings, feel happy, or comfortable, going to the office every day to perform the same mechanical activity over, and over again? Should we not yearn for tasks that challenge our ingenuity and display our intellectual capacities?
If the answer to the second question is yes, we can rest easy because that places us in the group that will find new ways to actively participate in productive partnerships together with automation, robots, and whatever is left to come.