Last week I was discussing with a colleague. During the discussion, we started talking about our mutually favorite subject “Automation” – things like Robotic Process Automation, AI, machine learning.
We both absolutely agree about the huge potential and benefits that Automation brings. However frequently we debate about whether automation is a threat to human jobs. He feels it might and I disagree. This time around the debate went a little far and he demanded evidence.
So here goes –
At the time of the industrial revolution back in 1760 onward, there must have been huge concern about machines taking over human jobs. However we know that the world population was around 770 million. We are now more than 7 billion humans on earth today. If the concerns back then were accurate, then we should have had more than 90% of today’s population jobless!
Same is the case with 1960’s when the computers started being used in businesses. The concerns existed back then too. World population was around 3.4 B. So if the negative forecasts were to come true, more than 50% of world population (at the least) should have been jobless.
And it is not!
The Key Is How Humans Evolve
The key lies in human evolution. We frequently adapt to the situation, not only through our biological evolution, but also through our mental evolution. We eventually start acquiring new skills, education and more importantly the thought process.
Those who do not acquire new skills or deny incorporating new ideas in their thought process, will be left behind. That is inevitable. However every new wave makes available a host of opportunities.
A very few of us can envision the change – much before the change hits, many of us see all the opportunities brought by the change – around the time when the change hits us and a lot of us start following the change – much later when the change is underway.
So what kind of new jobs will be created?
People will be freed of their monotonous and mundane work, to be able to do what humans are uniquely designed to do (as against the other species) – THINK, INTERPRET DATA and MAKE INTELLIGENT DECISIONS.
We will also see reverse outsourcing because Bots will make the “labour arbitrage” irrelevant for all the monotonous and repetitive jobs. However the outsourcing will still continue for other more intelligent jobs. Absolutely the creation of RPA Bots or creation of AI agents can and will be outsourced, because cost arbitrage will still be relevant. It’s just that the plane will shift!
Yes, automation will take away millions of jobs. But millions of new, and potentially higher-quality jobs will be created. It’s clear that re-skilling and up-skilling is called for. As in the case of Industrial revolution or IT revolution, the old ways will have to change and newer, more intelligent, better-automated ways will take their place. I for one, can’t wait!
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RPA, Human Evolution, Automation, Insourcing, Outsourcing, Reverse Outsourcing, Industrial Revolutions, Industrial Revolution, Jobs of Future, Skills of future