Tech Tip: Are Smart Technologies Coming for My Job?
By April 4, 2022 0 451•
Whether a person works in a factory or in an office environment, people worry that machines are coming for our jobs. This age-old fear, dating back to the Luddites, has bred concerns that in the age of the Internet of Things (IoT) machines will become smart enough to do what they want to do rather than what we want them to do. This is mostly false, so we want to dispel these fears and explore how automation and other technologies can make your job easier and more efficient.
The Correlation Between Automation and Downsizing
There is no secret formula for running a business, but if there were one, it would be to spend less than you take in. Unfortunately, one way that businesses save money is by letting go of their workers or finding ways to improve efficiency while also reducing payroll. New technologies give companies more opportunities to replace the work of certain employees, a prospect which has workers less-than-excited.
No matter how you slice it, some workers will lose their jobs to automation. The fact is that technology can do jobs faster and more efficiently than people in some cases, and a good manager will find the best resources to make it happen, man or machine. Through AI and other smart technologies, however, employers do have options.
One example of casualties in an industry that will likely become overtaken by automation: truck driving. Some manufacturers have been creating technologies that can be used to ship goods from one location to another with automated vehicles. This technology could cause a major shake-up for the truck driving industry. Truckers were once protected by unions, but as the unions slowly lost their power, these same truckers moved to become independent contractors, leaving them vulnerable to automation.
There’s also the issue that the aging truck driver may be forced out of a job and unable to find one with a comparable salary. This is a very real concern, as automation could disrupt industries where workers may not have the resources to educate and train themselves for a new job. They might have to settle for lower-paying jobs or become dependent on the government to get by. It’s not a good situation to be in, and it paints a bad picture for businesses looking to consider automation.
Strange, But True
While this doom and gloom scenario might seem cut and dry, there is one benefit to automation and AI that hasn’t been discussed yet, and that’s the fact that it doesn’t have to replace workers. Rather, it can be used to make their jobs easier and more efficient. This fact is often ignored because the other narrative is more interesting.
Ultimately, automation can make an employee’s job easier if you let it. Certain procedural tasks can be streamlined or completed with these technologies, like sending out emails, running reports, etc. Automation gives organizations the opportunity to limit time spent on menial or time-consuming tasks and instead refocus those efforts on other, more lucrative tasks.
For businesses that are seriously considering automation, these decisions will make a big splash in their operations. Many entry level workers bogged down in rote operations might be freed up for more creative tasks within a company. And, if we go back to the previous truck driver example, consider the fact that many of these automated trucks are going to require a passenger in the vehicle to ensure everything goes as planned. These workers are still there and getting paid in line with what they were before automation made a big change in their work duties. While their roles are different, they still have a job. Many businesses can learn from this approach.
To learn more, call Computerware today at (703) 821-8200 or go to: https://www.cwit.com/blog.
Alan Edwards, CISM, is chief information officer at Computerware, Inc., in Vienna, Virginia.