The concept of technology taking the place of humans in the workplace is certainly nothing new. In fact, even Queen Elizabeth I denounced the idea of patenting a knitting machine for fear that doing so would put her “poor subjects” out of work. Over the centuries that have followed, there have been several times when a renewed sense of fear and disdain have cropped up again, proclaiming that technology – namely in the way of automation, or “Robotic Process Automation” – will spell economic, political and social demise.
So, what of all this hoopla? Should people really be concerned that their value in the workplace will all but disappear as they are slowly replaced by machines? Despite the many outcries and warnings over the years, no such massive change has ever been realized, and there’s still no reason to believe it ever will. While technological innovation has and will continue to change the way people work, it’s never going to completely eliminate the need for human input.
To prove this point, we need only look back at the concept of innovation over the past few centuries. When mechanical technology was introduced in the automotive and agricultural fields, people panicked. Yet, these changes did not bring about the mass destruction of the human workforce. Instead, it created more opportunity, more productivity, more value and more revenue. People were still needed; they just had to take on different roles.
It’s no different today. Yes, IT automation is something that may take away a manual task than an IT professional was once responsible for, but rather than eliminating the need for that employee, it frees them up to concentrate on more important business critical matters – things that cannot be automated. The result is a more efficient operation with the flexibility to allow intelligent workers to increase their knowledge and improve their skills, ultimately becoming more valuable to their organizations. In other words, everyone benefits.
There’s certainly no question – regardless of how many people fear technology, it’s not going away any time soon. Rather than sitting back and waiting for automation to eliminate jobs, people should be embracing the coming changes and preparing for them by investing in their own skills. This will facilitate a smoother transition to jobs that require more specialized training. That way automation and human intellect can work together for optimum success.