Robotic Process Automation

The work of the future.

By Eduardo Laens posted Wed April 07, 2021 11:21 AM


The work of the future.

Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, Smart Cities, RPA, Industry 4.0, Agro Robots, Autonomous Cars, Cognitive Solutions, Drones, Business Process Automation, the advanced “robots” seem to threaten to take away all our jobs.

In fact, automation is not a millennial phenomenon of recent years, but rather a gradual movement, with acceleration in the last decade, where companies focus their efforts in pursuit of efficiency and cost reduction.

Is the axiom "Robots going to put us all out of work" then correct?

No, it’s incorrect.

Because technological change simultaneously replaces an existing job and creates a new job. It is false to assume that it eliminates the job entirely.

Furthermore, not all jobs can be replaced by robots. Let's take as a reference the following graph, extracted from the 2020 MIT Work of the Future Task Force Study, which shows us the variation of jobs over time, according to income level:

Employment Growth

We can assume that the polarized extremes of low and high income have maintained a growing curve, while the middle income positions, are those that have been affected by automations.

What is the pattern? Everything that makes human beings so special. On the one hand, the human contact itself, in the personal service positions (let's think of the staff caring for the elderly or children), the cleaning staff and the security and protection services staff; that seems irreplaceable. At the other extreme, positions with a higher educational level and salary are also growing: doctors, technical personnel (from IT or any other technical branch), professionals in fields such as psychology, social work, lawyers, to name a few examples, and management and executive positions.

The great conflict is in the central valley of the graph, where manual, industrial or agricultural workers, employees of production lines and administrative and sales personnel are in a constant decrease of their jobs.

This is an undeniable and imminent problem, on which immediate decisions must be made. Because modernization and automation are not fads. They are sustained trends with increasing acceleration.

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), automation will displace 85 million jobs by 2025. However, the same report mentioned that "advances in robotization will generate 97 million new jobs." New, different.

That is the challenge that companies, governments, workers and (those of us who are) parents, have before us. Prepare the current workforce and the new generations so that they are ready to take that leap, to educate themselves, to reconvert themselves into active roles of this new generation of workforce.

In every work meeting with clients we repeat without blinking: All the company's business roles must be technologists. Everyone. The accounting administrative, the sales manager, the business analyst, the import leader, the plant supervisor, the person responsible for payments and collections.

Everyone should understand the advancements of automation in their field of work interest. Not only because of the search for operational efficiency, an end that in any case is of importance for the owners of the companies, but also because of the employee's own need for evolution, and their professional growth. And that, ultimately, will create a virtuous circle of growth, both for the company and for employees.

It is up to us to have the means and resources to achieve that goal. What is your company doing so employees can learn and can automate their tasks? What are you doing as a worker to prepare yourself for the roles that lie ahead? What are we doing as parents to prepare our children for the jobs of the future?

Because something is undeniable, as Heraclitus said, "The only constant is change."