Business

Let’s Take A Look At The Two Sides Of Automation

Automation, it’s an interesting concept will likely impact everyone working in the world today and certainly future generations. When you automate a process in a business, you use programs, computers, and equipment to complete it rather than any human input.

This means that certain aspects of the office or the factory can be run without any human input at all. While the might seem like an exciting, brave, new world, it actually isn’t. The automation of processes has been happening for years, decades even. Whenever technology advances, you can bet people will lose their jobs. So why is there such a buzz and heated debate around this topic right now?

Well, there are two reasons. Firstly, it’s now happening on a far larger scale than it was previously. Almost every industry could be affected by automatic processes over the next couple of years. It has even lead to some of the world’s top thinkers to question whether we will need a universal living wage. That is something we’re going to look at because it is one of the potential solutions to the problems caused by automation.

The other reasons is that now automation is starting to impact white collar jobs rather than blue-collar industries. A lot of processes in factories are automated and have been for some time. It’s when office jobs start to decrease due to automation that people get worried.

To explore this concept, we’re going to examine it from two different perspectives. We need to consider what automation will mean for the business owner and what it will mean for you if you’re an employee.

Business Owners And Automation

Dread It Or Run From It?

Neither, automation is actually a good thing for business owners for the most part. Firstly, it is going to allow you to reduce your costs significantly. Remember, automation will typically mean that you can start reducing your workforce. For instance, this site provides information about how managing your invoices can now be automated and that’s moving towards the path where you’ll no longer need an accountant. You might think that an accountant is an essential hire for a business and they are. An accountant can manage your invoices, look after your books and ensure that your company remains profitable. Soon though, accountants may be redundant because machine learning will provide a cheaper, simpler option for managing accounts. You’ll be able to find patterns of profit in your business without hiring an expert.

The main benefit though is definitely the cost reduction. We are moving towards the point where one person could run an entire factory and when you take away a work force you immediately make your business far cheaper to run. Programs and software don’t require any additional incentives or support. So even if the software and tech is more expensive than the labor, it could still ultimately cost you less.

The Bad News?

Well, you will have to let employees go once you realize that you can use programs and software instead. For instance, right now, you might be using a team of writers for marketing. The software is progressing quickly, and soon enough, the software will be able to write marketing articles for you instead.

Most business owners agree that generally speaking you want to keep staff loyal and avoid losing employees as much as possible. But what happens when their job is no longer relevant? You’ll have no choice but to cut down your staff and opt for the cheaper option.

However, the cost does present a problem. Like all new tech, the type of automated software we’re talking about won’t be cheap. Let’s say that you want to get rid of drivers for your taxi business. Well, autonomous cars will add about 10K onto each vehicle in your fleet. Can you afford that? If not, you might have a problem because other bigger companies will pay the price. Immediately they’ll be able to offer a faster, more efficient service. You will need to consider whether investing in this new tech is worth the risk.

Employees And Automation

For employees, automation could be a massive problem. If you are considering a career path right now, you do need to think in terms of what jobs will be safe from automation for the longest possible time. Theoretically, it’s possible that all jobs will eventually be replaced by automation, but there are a number of key industries that are currently safe. Teaching is one of them. It will be some time before teachers are taken over by AI, and that’s good news. It’s also a great industry to enter into because supply is so low compared to the demand.

Jobs that require a tremendous amount of skill or expertise are also likely to be safe from automation for longer compared to low skilled jobs. In Japan, there are already restaurants where the food is served by robots. However, it will be sometime before the chefs who make the food are replaced. It’s worth then rising through the ranks as quickly as you can in your career to protect your job and stop it from being replaced by a simple automated process.

However, as already mentioned, technology is evolving very quickly indeed. We likely will see a computer in our lifetime that has surpassed the intelligence or every human being on the planet. Once that technology is available and affordable no job will be safe, and this isn’t science fiction anymore.

The Solution?

A universal living wage is currently the best and brightest solution to automation. In other words, everyone will be paid, regardless of their job. While this might sound like it isn’t economically viable, the universal living wage does exist in certain parts of the world including Finland. In that region, it has been successful, but it still presents a number of key issues that must be addressed.

Ultimately though, despite all this, automation isn’t the issue that people think. President John F Kennedy was asked about the problem of automation which should tell you just how long this fear has been on people’s minds. It’s worth repeating it’s not a new concept, and despite advances in tech, jobs have continued to exist. Employees simply need to learn to adapt, and employers must work to incorporate and train workers to operate with new tech rather than using one to cancel out the other.

 

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