Check it out what you will find on this article about automation jobs:
- Automation jobs and automation 101
- Why the human factor still matters (and will continue to matter in years to come)
- Striking the right balance between automation jobs and human labor
- Another thing that matters: Having the right tools
When the topic of automation jobs come up, it’s usually mixed with some kind of alarmism — many people fear that robots are setting out take over their jobs. The sentiment isn’t unsurprising, and is in fact, normal. But that being said, there is a LOT more to automation jobs than there is on the surface level. This is why we’ve set out to talk about this topic with a bit more depth and provide a more concrete picture of what automation jobs mean and what its impact will be on the workplace of the future.
Automation is undeniably changing the face of the modern workforce, but on the whole, it can be said that it’s largely for the better. It should also be noted early on that estimates on how automation will change and even replace jobs are wildly across the board, ranging from happily optimistic to the darkly pessimistic. But the reality is that companies cannot escape the reality of having to balance automation jobs technology as well as the skilled human component of their organizations.
The key, really, is to see both automation / artificial intelligence and human labor as complimentary, rather than conflicting. The scenario where Skynet (a Terminator movie reference, if you must know) runs the world is still very much in the realm of science fiction. And this is our goal — to help separate fiction from reality, and provide a much more realistic and practical look at automation and its effect on the workforce of today.
Automation jobs and automation 101
When one talks about automation and automation jobs, its important to realize that a lot of it right now is research. Sure, there are certain processes today that have been automated, but they’re still very small compared to a lot of the tasks humans still do. Another thing, most of that research is focused on introducing robots and other automated machinery into manufacturing, or on computer algorithms and artificial intelligence that can mimic certain tasks or take over mundane undertakings. And because those things are usually the focus of research, and thus gets the majority of the spotlight in mainstream media and publications, it becomes a cause of alarm for many.
Consider jobs like automobile assembly and other assembly-line type jobs — much of the heavy lifting has been taken over by machines and automation. But that also means that humans can be reinstated and retrained to do different, less labor intensive, and less dangerous jobs. For example, new occupations such as computer technicians, software developers, and IT consultants are in high demand, regardless of industry.
One should also consider the fact that there are little to no studies on the long term effects of automation jobs on the human labor market. Considering how early and far-from-perfect automation jobs and AI technologies are at this point, any fear-mongering about how automation jobs will define the future of the workplace seems a bit premature, not to mention misplaced. But the fact remains that while technology does replace humans in certain tasks, at the same time it also creates new jobs and new opportunities for human labor to step up and learn new things.
Why the human factor still matters (and will continue to matter in years to come)
It’s important to remember in any discussion of automation jobs is that the human factor in the workplace still matters — and matters a lot. While automation jobs have indeed taken over some tasks, these are repetitive and often heavy and labor-intensive jobs that are not only often more dangerous for humans to do, but they are also the types of tasks that don’t really help workers realize their true potential and enable them to grow and become more significant contributors to the organization.
Many tasks today cannot be handled by automation or AI
The reality is that a great many of jobs and tasks today are complex and multifaceted, and simply cannot be replicated by any kind of automated jobs technology or AI program. One example is a hotel in Japan that was forced to “fire” half of its robotic staff after it received complaints from both staff AND customers. While it retained some robots to do certain jobs more efficiently, on the whole, the initiative failed not only as a novelty, but also as a means to reduce costs and increase efficiency. In fact, robots forced many human employees to work overtime due to the issues they caused with customers.
Furthermore, a study by McKinsey shows that only roughly 5% of jobs could be handed over to automation. So even if a large number of routine and mundane tasks could be taken over by machines, workers will always have the opportunity to move to higher value jobs and tasks (and thus grow in the process and be better maximized by the organizations they belong to), and many jobs will still require the distinct human touch. Remember, no program or application currently exists that is capable of communicating or generating an idea, negotiate properly, or take instant briefings. And the way things stand, that isn’t likely to change.
Careless automation of jobs can actually be detrimental and have a negative effect on things.
In an economic research paper written by Daron Acemoglu and Pascual Restrepo, they assert that automation and automation jobs are NOT the end of human labor. Rather, their findings suggest that “if the origin of productivity growth in the future continues to be automation, the relative standing of labor, together with the task content of production, will decline. The creation of new tasks and other technologies raising the labor intensity of production and the labor share are vital for continued wage growth commensurate with productivity growth.”
That means that automation may phase out some jobs, but it does create new jobs as well, and the creation of new jobs for humans and the continuation of human skilled labor is important to the economy. Acemoglu and Restrepo assert in their research that in actuality, one of the reasons for sluggish production in the US is precisely because of an imbalance in adapting automation jobs and reinstating skilled human labor.
Customers WANT to interact with humans
Another MAJOR reason why humans still matter in the workforce is that customers still prefer interacting with fellow humans. While the internet continues to open up and expand new ways for customers to interact and communicate with brands, many customers still prefer to talk to a human being, especially when the issue or task is complicated or complex. A study by Google reports that more than half of customers — 61%, to be exact — prefer to call a business when they are in the process of buying a product or service. Many customers (rightly) believe that they can get faster answers from an actual person and many find automated systems to be impersonal and incapable (in many cases) of properly addressing their question or issue.
Automation and AI cannot understand human needs, wants, preferences, and trends
In the same vein, only humans can truly understand the intricacies and subtleties of human customers, making their insight invaluable. As it stands, no existing automation jobs technology or artificial intelligence tools have come even remotely close to accomplishing that feat. Especially if brands want to translate things like digital behavior into actual revenue from customers, having them go through a person-less automated experience won’t likely be an effective strategy.
If that’s not enough for you, take it from Elon Musk himself. An unapologetic and vocal proponent of technological and digital disruption — just look at how Tesla has changed so many things through the years — he initially pushed for heavy automation for Tesla plants. But the plan backfired, leading him to Tweet, “Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated.”
Striking the right balance between automation jobs and human labor
The current reality of things dictate that automation MUST be balanced with human labor. When this balance is achieved, automation actually can serve as a springboard for people to become more valuable to the organization, and help them efficiently accomplish tasks that have a high value, such as revenue generation and growth, customer interaction, and problem solving. The low value tasks — as well as the dangerous ones — can thus be left to automation. It’s actually a win-win situation, when you think about it.
This kind of mindset is important to modern companies who want to take a step into the future and harness smarter technologies to keep their operations more modern, cost-effective, and efficient. Time and again, data has showed that while customers always prefer a human touch, especially in this day and age where more and more people are showing concern about the digitization of interactions; remember that these days, customers are king and their voice carries the most weight.
Another thing: Leadership and decision-makers should realize that despite automation, their organizations will still need skilled human labor. As companies realize new businesses, avenues of growth, and opportunities to deliver new offerings to customers due to automation and AI, they will still need skilled, intelligent, and creative individuals to build, lead, market, and maintain them. The truly dynamic and agile company makes use of both automation and human labor; this is why fostering an environment of learning and creating a learning culture helps reposition employees to higher-value tasks where their skills can be better utilized.
Another thing that matters: Having the right tools
One important thing to consider in making the workplace much more efficient is having the right tools at your disposal to make task and workflow management easier, more transparent, and more cost-effective. Instead of dwelling on technology that is still going through its birth pains, Runrun.it’s tried and true pioneering workflow management tools are indispensable in managing human tasks. It’s all about having a great synergy where the capabilities of technology are maximized, but at the same time, considers the “humanity” of the workplace and workflow by making tasks more efficient for all the members of the organization.
These same tools also are a big factor in enabling and encouraging better communication between individuals and teams, and facilitate much easier collaboration between these same people. Leadership and management also have a much better handle on day-to-day operations and task oversight without being overwhelmed; easily generated real-time data sets and other tools make for more informed decisions as well. To see how Runrun.it’s suite of innovative tools can help your organization become more efficient and be better equipped to become a forward-looking company, check out the free trial here.