Automation has become a magic word for companies. However, many employee councils and labor unions ask if will automation increase unemployment.
Automation promises tons of benefits like effectiveness, efficiency, and standardized business processes. In short, it promises more output for less input, faster, and more reliability. However, the cost seems high. News tackles the question “will automation increase unemployment” almost every week.
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The conclusion is simple: if a machine takes over the manufacturing of products, what will happen to employees who had previously performed this task?
No, robots don’t replace us (yet)
The speed of technological evolution makes many people feel what we’re in a science fiction movie. In reality, we’re not quite there yet.
Indeed, the possibilities and complexity of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics have grown dramatically in the past few years. However, we are still very far from the completely self-sufficient use of intelligent machines. In most cases, the machines still require human input and control.
Of course, some fields of work took a bigger hit than others. For instance, manual work is already done by machines, especially in the manufacturing industry.
However, bots cannot accomplish creative or complex strategies yet. Management and board employees do not have to worry about their jobs. Meanwhile, employees on department stores and assembly lines must prepare for major changes.
How automation changes the job market
Many people falsely believe that automation simply kills manual labor. This conclusion is often not thought through to the end. It is true that machines carry out the assembly. Moreover, the company naturally needs few workers to manage the workshop with hammers and drills.
However, there is a new need. Machines cannot control and maintain themselves. Such tasks can only be possible with the human touch. Thus, the answer to the question “will automation increase employment” is not really. We’re seeing a shift in responsibilities, not a collapse of jobs.
Hence, this gives companies the responsibility to offer their employees further education and retraining.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the current buzzword
RPA is currently making huge waves in the automation industry. It shows a lot of potential for business optimization. This method uses software robots instead of physical machines. For instance, RPA uses programmable computer programs that automatically perform routine tasks in common software applications.
Does this mean that accounting or finance departments have to fear for their jobs? Absolutely not. RPA is not yet ready to independently take over the entire field of work. Like machines, software robots need monitoring and training.
The bottom line to the question “will automation increase unemployment” is simply put, no. At least not directly. However, the automation trend changes our understanding of work, routine tasks, and standardization.
Moreover, we’re witnessing a shift in responsibilities for most industries dealing with manual labor. But this also means we’ll need more system maintenance and control.
Companies from all industries must retrain their employees to face these massive changes. Yet, don’t worry as the rebellion of thinking machines is still way far from reality.