Robots have moved from assembly lines and warehouses to working right alongside personnel as they perform a broad range of tasks. As they’ve become more advanced and dexterous, they’re capable of entering more spaces that once required a human touch.
These developments have continued to spur debate on how the presence of robots will shape the workforce. Proponents are quick to offer optimistic visions of fewer tedious tasks and more interesting job opportunities that are a direct result of automation. Other caution against the wave of change moving too quickly and rendering many jobs obsolete even as unemployment fluctuates.
An Assembly Line Approach In An Office Environment
Many white-collar workers have thought themselves exempt from these questions. Very few office workers could fathom the idea of arriving to work and seeing a robot seated in their place, but new AI technology could change the way they do their jobs. A new approach to automation, which uses software and bots, may become used in more workspaces.
Intelligent automation—also called business automation or robotic process automation (RPA)—is being developed to take over many of the repetitive tasks completed by workers in an office environment, even those that are organization-specific. The capability would amount to having numerous personal assistants that exist entirely in the form of an app or bot.
Intelligent automation works by breaking down a process into a series of discrete tasks. Then bots are developed and trained to carry out the most repetitive and predictable tasks. The bot will then assist a human worker throughout a digital process, saving time and energy that could be devoted to more creative and impactful aspects of business.
Business automation is already being adopted for various functions by many different companies, especially those that deal with many predictable tasks, such as the completion of regulatory forms and verification processes. Healthcare, insurance, and financial sectors could see the most benefit for the sheer amount of repetitive and administrative processes involved at many levels.
Lower Labor Costs Or More Job Loss?
Many business owners are looking at this form of automation as a means of increasing productivity for reduced labor costs. And with the workforces’ increasing digitalization and shift into more remote operations, it could be a natural fit. But, as with all forms of automation, it’s not yet known how this capability will affect future opportunities for current and future workers.
What are your thoughts on robotic process automation? Would you want the more tedious aspects of your job to be automated or do such developments make you fear for your position? Comment and share what you think.