Will a robot make your job obsolete? This is a question that is a very real concern to many individuals, and it’s valid to a certain degree. In fact, Gartner has already predicted that one in every three jobs will be shifted from human to machine by the year 2025. In reality the concept of intelligent automation and its ultimate impact on the workforce is nothing new. What’s changed and become more relevant, however, is the fact that this technology is no longer simply a threat to those working in an assembly line on a manufacturing floor. Now, robotic software is making its way into every office and every industry across the globe.
Over the past couple decades, intelligent automation has evolved from basic hardware robotics into the new age of complex, intuitive and smart technology that can be programmed to automate almost any activity, task or workflow. Let’s face it, automation is something most of us encounter several times a day, whether it’s transferring money between bank accounts at the ATM, choosing the self-checkout line at the grocery store or coming and going through an automatic door. It’s only logical that intelligent automation will also be disrupting the workplace. In fact, in many instances, it already is.
Given the combination of artificial intelligence becoming more sophisticated and capable of mimicking any number of rules-based tasks previously performed by humans, and the overall savings it can afford the enterprise, both in terms of time and money, it’s no surprise that companies of all shapes, sizes and industries have adopted intelligent automation to some degree. Many others are waiting in the wings, but it’s just a matter of time before they jump onboard as well. Like it or not, this innovative technology is reshaping the way we do business.
So what does this mean for work in the not-so-distant future? More specifically, how will affect your job and your career moving forward? Will you be forced out of work and made obsolete as robots take over? Will corporations and enterprises phase out human workers altogether? The answer to that ultimately depends not just on what type of job you perform, but also how agile you are. What many refer to as the race against the machines is likely going to turn into a collaborative effort between the two, with humans and robots working together toward a common goal.
Will some human workers be displaced? Undoubtedly. Will they all? Highly unlikely. In reality, intelligent automation will be a positive thing for human workers, as it will eliminate much of the mundane, repetitive workload from their daily routines and allow them to focus on more intelligence-driven, engaging tasks and projects. Additionally, work will be completed faster, more securely and error-free with a workforce that’s available 24/7. Meanwhile companies can take advantage of knowledge workers and put their skills and experience to better use.
What’s driving the push toward more widespread adoption of intelligent automation, however, isn’t necessarily the businesses that are reaping the benefits. It’s actually society as a whole. As consumers continue to seek instant gratification, desiring to get whatever they want the moment they want it, the need to supply these requests on-demand continues to rise. Human workers simply can’t keep up. Furthermore, employing, training, managing and engaging this type of on-demand workforce is becoming increasingly challenging, if not insurmountable. Robots provide the ideal solution on both sides of the coin.
So where do humans come into play? Well, in the most basic of terms, someone will be needed to manage and maintain the software, applications and other automated functions. As intelligent becomes more of a mainstay, new roles will be developed and in demand, creating additional opportunities to those willing to learn, adapt and evolve alongside technology. In fact, Gartner predicts that as AI technology continues to evolve, it will actually create more jobs than it will eliminate.
Overall, the impact of robotics on the future of work will be much like that of the first era of automation – improved efficiency, increased productivity, enhanced flexibility and a much greater output of quality, error-free work. Those who embrace these changes will ultimately be the ones that come out prosperous and successful in the end.