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You might have heard of companies introducing automation or artificial intelligence to their production line, but what does automation mean precisely in the context of business and manufacturing?
According to the media, automation could lead to the loss of thousands, if not millions of jobs, and eventually to full dependency on technology.
Labour groups have pushed 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 show otherwise; if you were to ask today’s engineers about AI, many would say that automation does not mean robots control society’s establishment.
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.
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.
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 type of tasks replaced by AI.
If you belong to a department that focuses on profit generation, you can thank AI for removing all the paperwork you would have to fill out in relation to your work, since that is automated now.
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 become the next popular degree that 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.
As AI and automation become more popular and trendier, it will become more expensive as well. However, the 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.
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 personalized tasks.
Customized tasks may require some system reprogramming already set in place or slight deviations of what the system had been preprogrammed to do.
Perhaps the highest risk 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 evident now, it will eventually reveal themselves as more jobs become automated.
As with everything there are pros and cons; however, what matters most is whether the cons override the pros or vice versa. It is a popular opinion that as we evolve, we cannot help but depend somewhat on technology.
To be frank, we already are when it comes to using the internet including the fact that you are reading this article to form an opinion about this subject.
While automation might seem like the opposite of helping people keep their jobs, look at this way: why should we hire people to do nonsense jobs like screwing the cap on a toothpaste bottle when a machine can do it? We should train and hire that man to work the machine instead.
With automation, men and women alike can look forward to working more creative jobs; however, companies who will choose Al and automation should know what they’re doing and if it fits their business model before anything else.
As mentioned above, we should not solely depend on artificial intelligence and automation, for now, it would be best to go with both options and see where it takes us.