The New York Times recently published the article “Thriving in the robot workplace“.
The article talks about how automation is replacing human workers. The story goes on about how some are intimidated by this automation while others are embracing it.
Consideration is given to the notion that some jobs are not possible to automate. These are jobs that require empathy compassion and a general sense of human interaction. People who fear automation will cite these issues as roadblocks to robots doing their job.
The article goes on to discuss emerging software designed to interpret and predict human emotions.
Windows Cortana is mentioned as an example. Cortana is a desktop assistant that comes with your windows operating system. Cortana is predictive and intuitive. She uses data from your computer to predict your needs and anticipate your wants. Such technology is the wave of the future.
Some of the world’s top companies are working towards automation processes to eliminate human workers.
Personally, I have never been too concerned about this, but this new article makes me give it some thought.
The work I do in procurement requires deep thinking together with intuition and a lot of experience. Hypothetically, a computer could eliminate the need for experience by pulling in tons of data, but could it also replaced the need for deep thinking?
Someone needs to interpret information and develop strategies. Maybe a computer could even do that, but what about negotiations?
Negotiations are a lot like playing poker. Each player has a hand. Neither knows the other players hand. Both want to win.
Sometimes when the parties open up to each other, the poker game fades into the background. A collaboration replaces the poker match and both parties work towards each other’s goals. There’s an art in knowing when the poker match ends and when the collaboration should begin.
The most successful negotiations are the ones that turned into collaboration.
A computer who always plays to win essentially becomes a thing that can be mastered. Just like a video game with a level boss. You’ll play it time and time again, losing round after round, until eventually you identify its pattern. Once that pattern is known, winning is a matter of patience.
Perhaps I’m oversimplifying. Perhaps I’m being defensive.
But when it come to innovation and the future of the workplace, I prefer to be at the forefront.
Instead of identifying reasons why a computer can’t do my job, I would rather identify ways I could do a new job that facilitates the computer doing its job.
The New York Times article also talks about this.
This is the way I prefer to look at this issue.
Finding ways to explain away process automation can only take you so far, but being at the forefront of the process automation and embracing the concept takes you to the next level.
After all, for every strategic task one performs in their daily job there are 10 other tasks that are mundane and repetitive.
For me the concept of the eliminating the mundane and the repetitive enhances my work experience allowing me to focus on the strategic aspects of my job.
Invariably, this thought process will be different from one job to the next.
In your world process automation may be an actual threat.
Perhaps you are more senior and have no aspirations of learning how to program machines, but if you’re willing and open to the idea of automation and you’re excited about the prospect of an automated future, embracing the technology and thrusting yourself into the forefront may be your best bet.
Tell me about your thoughts. Can your job be automated? How do you see yourself evolving with these technologies?