Do you think of a Humanoid or a car that changes into a fighting transformer in a movie? It easy to think of these things as we have been brought up with movie after movie that depicts the future of automation as a replacement for humanity in the form of a humanoid.
The challenge with this, is that the reality is most autobots don’t have a face and are already in our daily lives. When was the last time you shopped at the Supermarket and used a “self-service” till?
Self-service checkouts or Semi Attended Customer Activated Terminal (SACAT) where invented by an American called Dr Howard Schneider, who called them "service robots", they were first used in the Price Chopper in Clifton Park, in upstate New York, in 1992, but it is only now their numbers are skyrocketing, predominantly in the US and Western Europe, which account for 99 per cent of the global market.
These service robots now mean that it only requires one person to typically run 10 checkouts, meaning 9 other people are surplus to requirement.
Self-service automation has been in our lives for some time now, with ticket collectors being replaced by automated ticket barriers and just recently Amazon introduced automated drop off lockers, to make it even easier to collect your online shopping and reducing the reliance on delivery drivers catching us in at home.
What does this mean for business and future employment prospects? Well one thing is for sure automation and the digital economy can’t be ignored it is becoming part of the fabric of our lives.
There is no doubt that automation poses a threat to the way we work currently and as a result many of the jobs that exist today won’t in the future. In fact a study carried out by Oxford University in 2013 suggested that over 50% of the current jobs that exist today won’t in 2030!
Automation however doesn’t necessarily make humans obsolete. Automation is more likely to replace part of a job than an entire job. When Amazon installs warehouse robots, they currently don’t replace full workers, but rather, the part of the job that involves collecting products from different shelves.
What is for sure is the need to recognise that things are changing and this presents opportunity as well as risk. A third of new jobs created in the USA over the past 25 years didn’t exist at the beginning of that period. In a report on artificial intelligence and the economy, the Obama White House suggested that automation might create jobs in supervising AI, repairing and maintaining new systems, and in reshaping infrastructure for developments like self-driving cars. But, the report’s authors note, “Predicting future job growth is extremely difficult, as it depends on technologies that do not exist today.”
As the landscape of business changes and future employment becomes more transient, now has never been a better time to be in control of your own destiny. Having just turned 50 this year I am under no illusion that the number of senior management opportunities are shrinking as corporate structures become more linear. That was the key decision behind creating my own Digital business this year. The Digital economy is growing and one huge area of growth where automation is having a positive impact is in online marketing. Artificial intelligence is helping marketers reach a targeted audience, which means if you have a skill, vocation that you want to share with the world, NOW has never been a better time to share it.
Automation is here to stay that is for certain, what you do next however will determine if automation serves you or puts you at risk, either in your business or employment. If you want to know more about how you can get a share of the digital economy, I have put together a FREE 7 part video series that will educate you on the most cutting edge principles around an online Digital business, with each video demonstrating how realistic it is for YOU to start a profitable Digital online business from scratch!