Understanding the Pros and Cons of Automation

You might have heard of companies introducing automation or artificial intelligence to their production line, but what does automation mean exactly in the context of business and manufacturing?

According to the media, automation could potentially lead to the loss of thousands, if not millions of jobs, and eventually, full dependency on technology. Labour groups have painted the push for AI or business automation to be the first step into a dystopian world, where robots create and build everything as they rule over the human race. Sounds pretty ominous, doesn’t it?

However, facts are showing otherwise, and if you were to ask today’s engineers about AI, many would explain that automation does not mean the establishment of a society controlled by robots. If anything, a world populated by processes carried out by AI systems could potentially become a world influenced by those who know how to work and manipulate AI.

The Pros of Automation

Lower Production Costs and Improved Efficiency.  For businesses, automation can naturally mean lower production costs, because they do not incur recurring costs except for routine inspections and repairs. Unless there is a cheaper electricity source, the construction and maintenance of computers and machines for carrying out essential production tasks will always cost less than manual labour. Aside from the cost, computers and machines also tend to be more accurate in their work, unless an alignment or technical error disrupts workflow.

Heightened Focus on Revenue Generation. When minor, repetitive tasks are assigned to computers, robots, and other machines, employees can now focus on work that truly matters: revenue generation. As trends show, tasks or professions that are routinary and serve to suck up profit rather than generate it are usually the sorts of tasks that are being replaced by AI. If you belong to a department that focuses on profit generation, you can thank AI for removing all the paperwork you’d have to fill out in relation to your work, since that can be automated now.

The Creation of Newer Jobs. Naturally, as we become more dependent on AI, various jobs pertaining to its care, development, and expansion will become more rampant. Over time, new jobs will be created, and AI-related jobs could even become the next popular degree future generations will be flocking to. As trends have shown, more individuals are turning to STEM courses over humanitarian and art degrees. It is believed that this push is partly inspired by companies’ demand for more tech graduates.

The Cons of Automation

Expect Tech Costs to Rise. As AI and automation become trendier, it will become more expensive, as well. Costs companies may have saved by hiring less could still exist in the form of technology costs. It takes engineers and computer experts to build robust, automated systems, which naturally means that, as these professions become more in-demand, they will come at higher prices.

Customized Services May Soon be a Thing of the Past. One vital concern that many consumers have raised about AI is that, as automation becomes the new normal, it could mark the end for customized services. AI is perfectly capable of carrying out repetitive tasks, but it may not be reliable for handling customized tasks. Customized tasks may require some reprogramming of systems already set in place or slight deviations in what the system has been preprogrammed to do.

Full Dependency on Technology. Perhaps the greatest risk to come out of this is that companies and consumers alike may become more dependent on AI. Full dependency on one thing will always bring with it a slew of disadvantages. Although the disadvantages may not be clear now, it will eventually reveal itself as more jobs become automated.