Thanks to many movies over the past few decades, there’s this sort of apocalyptic tone over the conversation about digitalization and automation of industries: will the robots rise against humans? Not so fast. Digital transformation has made it a possibility for companies all around the world to multiply their workforce, massively improve customer service, and even increase employee morale, so why are so many people against digitizing?
Many of the reluctant people who don’t want to give automation the time of the day are simply afraid they will lose their jobs to machines, without realizing that in the majority of the cases, machines cannot yet autonomously perform many tasks without human help or supervision. We’re currently living in a time of hybrid transformation, where we have enough technology to improve the quality of work employees can be dedicating time to, thanks to machines and robots being able to take over rule-based tasks that are typically not fun or inspiring.
There is one specific demographic that fears automation the most, and those are mostly in the Baby Boomers generation. The boomers currently make up about a third of today’s workforce, and it’s this group in particular that holds a big share of the fear about digitalization. Stereotypically, older generations have a steeper learning curve when it comes to technology, so when it’s a possibility that tasks that have been done a certain way for years will be taken over by machines, the fear sets in.
Focus Point: Transitioning
The insertion of technology in our lives has always been gradual. Did we go from switchboard operators straight to the iPhone? No. Switchboard operators dispatched telephone calls until around the 1960s, and in a way they still exist today, though in a different capacity, for emergency operations in the police and other forces. But between then and now, there have been 50+ years of steps that were taken gradually with newer pieces of technology that allowed for a number of transition periods that have led us to today, and the iPhone.
The same concept applies to work settings. Back in the industrial era, no one could’ve ever foreseen the amount of jobs that would comprise someone sitting at a desk, in front of a computer. It was simply unimaginable back then, just as today we truly can’t know for a fact how the work landscape will look in another 50 years. The only thing that has changed is the speed at which change comes, which should only motivate us to improve education standards so that workers are nimbler to work changes and more easily adapted to technology.
That Was Easy
It’s important to continue to remind ourselves that the purpose of automation is 100% focused on the outcome for the humans. Software that can read multiple programs simultaneously, copy-paste information, read spreadsheets, etc. is just one example of how there can be great improvements made to our quality of work. For example, insurance agents tend to be on the phone for roughly one hour while quoting prospects, writing down information into multiple programs that they then need to wait until they process (not to mention the high likelihood for mistakes, because when you try to work fast, it increases the chances of errors). By automating the insurance quoting system, agents can make or receive more calls during the day, improving the company bottom line, increasing customer satisfaction with faster and more accurate quotes, and allowing the employee more license to focus on the customer relationship, ensuring better closing rates and even commissions.
Don’t Fret, Innovate
Most things in life are all about your perspective, and this is no different. For those looking at automation as a glass half empty of impending doom, job loss and robot takeovers, you’re not seeing what is right in front of you: opportunities for more job satisfaction, higher pay, and more fulfillment from doing work that feels like you’re contributing to with your unique set of skills. Whether you’re in a big corporation or a startup setting, you were hired because of something that robots don’t have: your specific experiences. Through machine learning and artificial intelligence, machines can slowly improve their analytics, but they don’t have your brain or resume to leverage in the process. Don’t be afraid of innovation, but rather embrace it for what it can bring you.
If you want more information on what level of automation can be achieved and will be beneficial for your company, customers, and employees, contact us.