Why Automation in the Workplace Isn’t as Bad as You Might Think

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The word “automation” evokes many emotions. There are those who see it as the epitome of progress and innovation. However, there is another train of thought that automation only exists in the workplace to make workers’ jobs obsolete.

However, the effect might not be as bad as you fear–take a moment to consider what automation is and what it can offer you rather than take away. You might even find that the end result is the opposite of what you fear.

What is Automation?

Automation is when a machine takes over the work of a human, but this doesn’t mean entirely. What many people fear today is that machines are going beyond the simple factory jobs that they have taken over in the past. Today, they can do more thoughtful tasks in the form of artificial intelligence.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

First, consider what intelligence is. It is our ability to think and work out problems. However, with the use of an artificial intelligence machine, these jobs can also be automated. There is more to this than just setting a machine up and letting it go. For the most part, these machines have a learning curve, so they won’t “know” everything right away but rather “learn” it.

In addition, these machines aren’t self aware. They need to be controlled and programmed. This is just one chance for you to help with automation rather than lose your job to it. There are many companies that are paying top dollar for employees to run the automation and artificial intelligence.

Automation and Innovation

Another thought is that if we are to automate our jobs, we are more likely to innovate. After all, this thought process argues, we will stay ahead of what we create. So, if you were to automate a job, ideally, someone would come up with another job that technology wouldn’t be able to do yet.

This might sound like an excuse to calm people down when automation steps into jobs we are used to humans doing but it is a realistic idea to have. Think about every time you’ve thought, “I wish I had something to do this for me!” It’s more often than you think, isn’t it?

Finish Your Work Faster

Automation can also help you to complete your work much faster–giving you more time to do work you actually enjoy. A negative outlook on this is that it could cut into your hours if you are only doing the bare minimum–and not taking advantage of your extra time.

However, many would argue that it makes you better at your job because you won’t have to spend so much time on tedious, repetitive tasks. For example, consider automating recurring invoices. This means your money will be there when you need it, and you won’t have to do it manually.

Increased Safety

If you can depend on a machine to do the more dangerous jobs in the workplace, you can cut down on worker’s injuries. This helps a company by cutting down on worker’s compensation and the rate of injury.

For an employee, this cuts down on your chances of being injured, and you won’t need to worry about being out of work due to an injury.

Complement Rather Than Replace

MIT economist argues that AI and augmentation doesn’t diminish or destroy jobs at all. Rather, it complements the performance of the employee. This is because machines will and continue to lack some of the things that make us humans good workers. These features include flexibility, thoughtfulness, and similar, very human qualities that AI doesn’t possess –at least not yet.

That is where the average worker comes in. Rather than just simply replacing them, it gives them the chance to shine. The menial parts of their tasks are gone and can now be replaced by something more meaningful and productive.

Think Positively

The mistake that many people make about automation is that they see it as a halt in progress. They look at it like this: the minute we have machines doing our jobs, humans are obsolete. However, that isn’t the case.

Automation can do work with ease that a human would typically stress about. For example, use a disaster recovery tool–that was you can build your own plan in case of an emergency. By using software–you can follow a certain template, that will make the process really easy.

Humans have always and will always be innovating. That means that we will continue to stay one to two steps ahead of machinery if not more. This opens the door for thoughtful, innovative jobs. If you are worried about all menial tasks being erased–don’t be.

Automation might make these tasks easier but these machines don’t run themselves. There will always be a need for people to program the machines–but there is also a need for people to run the machines. In fact, you are likely to see IT jobs increase as automation does.

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