söndag 16 maj 2021

The robots are taking over

- oh are they really?

- Yes.

- Shouldn’t we be worried?

- No, actually not. It’s a good thing, all things considered.

For most of us, what we refer to as robotization or some kind of automation with rule based outcomes has been going on since long before we were born. You could even say that inventing the wheel and domesticating horses and oxen is a form of automation, where we replaced previous human effort and labor with something less exhausting. Since the early days of civilization, this has been the leading factor allowing us to specialize even further in our different domains and areas of expertise leading to all kinds of discoveries and inventions. So, it’s a good thing. However. there are some concerns where the potentially negative aspects of automation are brought to light;
• Automation makes life and work inhuman and stressful
• Our lives will be run by machines and we will be out of jobs and things to do
• You can’t trust automation. A real person needs to review and decide things

Let’s address them with a constructive approach:

Automation makes life and work inhuman and stressful

Did you know that the word robot has its roots in the Czech word for ‘robota’ meaning forced labour? The tasks most suited for automation and robotization are rote, repetitive and recurring tasks which follow a specific pattern and rules. Many of us find that it is just that sort of task; recurring reporting or analysis, searching for and sorting information, transferring data from one system to another, that makes it nearly impossible to find enough time to do that other part of our jobs. The other parts could be, the creative innovation and problem solving processes. If we apply automation and robotization, it carries the promise to actually make our lives and work more human, and less stressful.

Our lives will be run by machines – We will be out of jobs and things to do

Connecting to the preceding line of thought – when we free up time from rote, repetitive and monotonous tasks, we can focus on the human strong points such as problem solving and creative innovation. It’s not like we couldn’t find other things to do than operating elevators, connecting phone calls, carrying water or handling horses. All throughout human history we’ve put spare resources into finding higher levels of productivity, quality and value that we can pass on to our colleagues and customers. Gains in time, resources and capability translate into opportunities – and it’s our responsibility to direct technology as a tool, which good governance and management supports.

You can’t trust automation – a real person needs to review and decide things

This is a reasonable point. Automation and technology in itself isn't a guarantor for a good, well thought out process. What does help us direct technology in a way that aligns with human values, with interaction and outcomes that make automation a serving, supporting tool rather than an unreliable ‘black box’ is to apply it in a smart, transparent and process-driven fashion. This builds trust and understanding of the value of automation and can be recognized in clever, modern applications like Swish, Klarna, Kivra, etc. More to follow on this topic in an upcoming blog post.

This is the first of a four-part blog post series about intelligent automation. Using technology in a smart way to get the most out of the time, energy and overall investment each organization is faced with to improve customer offering, quality and overall market competitiveness.

Are you looking for ways to leverage technology to benefit your business and outsmart the competition? Get in touch - every step forward starts with a constructive and thorough discussion!