Future of Automation Study

Published: 2017-09-19 08:11:17
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Harvey Mudd College
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Dissertation chapter
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Considering the automation’s technical potential cannot be dimmed as enough to investigate how much of this can take place in specific activities. The exact level would reflect interplay of technical potential, the costs and benefits, social and regulatory factors linked with acceptability and supply-and-demand labor dynamics. Automation can transform the work environment for anyone and this includes senior management. Technology’s rapid evolution could make the harnessing of its potential as well as avoiding the pitfalls which are particularly complex. Some industries like retailing are already changing due to automation in terms of the competitive nature of the market. The participants in e-commerce, for instance, compete with the traditional retailers through use of physical automation (like robots placed in warehouses) and knowledge work automation (like algorithms which alert the shoppers to products they might want to purchase). In mining, the autonomous haulage systems which transport ore into mine are safer and more efficient than the human operators; this has also influence productivity in this industry.  

The top managers and executives have the need to find places that automation can transform in their companies and afterward create a plan that will help transfer new business procedures that can be automated. There is a heat map for the possible automation activities in companies and it can assist to guide, prioritize and identify potential activities and processes which can be transformed. It is important to note that it can be a challenge to find how and where this value can be unlocked assuming costs of replacement of human labor with the automated machines. Many of the benefits associated with this originate from the reduction of labor costs but after raising the productivity, the errors become fewer, and there is improved quality, speed, and safety.

Preparation for the future of automation should be highly considered so that the advances that come along with them can be evaluated. The executives of firms have to learn to give themselves a challenge in order to understand automation and data technologies in the current work environment. Furthermore, it is important for them to grasp the values that come from automation. Among the greater challenges that can be faced are organizational and workforce changes which leaders can apply the automation process proceeds and affects all business procedures and organizational cultures that have to learn to perceive automation as a helpful productivity lever.

 It is important to understand activities which may be more susceptible to the process of automation from the technical angle; this could give a one of a kind chance to rethink how the workers relate to their jobs as well as the platforms for digital labor that can enhance the connectivity among individuals, projects, and teams. This may also inspire the top managers to give thought to how many personal activities can be improved and efficiently done by the machines, this will free up more time for the executives to come up with core competencies which no algorithm or robot can manage to replace.                                              

1.2 Rationale of the Study

Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and industrial robots are advancing rapidly, but minimal attention has been placed on its impact on employment. Even though the emerging technologies could improve the quality, cost, and speed of the available services and goods, they might also displace huge numbers of manual workers. Nonetheless, in the economy which employs significantly fewer works, there is need to think about a proper way to deliver advantages to the displaced workers.

The effects of the automation technologies are currently being felt in the economy. The global number of the industrial robots has gone up at a rapid pace over the previous decades. Furthermore, the falling costs of robots that can operate for 24 hours a day without any interruption has made them cost competitive with the human workers. Interestingly, within the service sector, the computer algorithms have the ability to execute the stock trades within less than a second; this is faster than any other human. Therefore, as the technologies become more affordable, more widespread and more capable, they will be assigned to more applications within the economy.

If the automation technologies such as artificial intelligence and robots make employment less secure later in the future, ways have to be found so that they can deliver advantages that come from the alternative of employment. For instance, a basic income can be guaranteed and corporate profit sharing has to be encouraged.

1.3 Research Questions  

· How susceptible are these manual jobs to technological advancements?

· What is the impact of technology on the manufacturing sector within the industry?

· What can be done to ensure that advanced technology does not replace manual labor?

· What is being done to ensure that the growth of technology does not negatively impact the labor sector?

1.4 Justification

Significant to the technological growth is the transition from the manual labor to machine operated labor (automation). Over the past few years, automation has been associated with the streamlining of the manual processes which began in the 1800s (steam engine). However, the current period of artificial intelligence and automation has triggered concerns whereby it is thought that the computers will replace even the white collar and blue collar jobs. Irrespective of this perception, it is also argued that technology does not have the ability to replace labor but rather it improves task efficiency as well as gives workers enough time to concentrate on the other tasks. Throughout history, adoption of the new technology has increased productivity, increased the demands for skilled labor, created jobs and raised earnings.

With the advancement of technology, machines could soon comprise of the deep learning and artificial intelligence. This will entail a complicated set of algorithms that mimic neural networks as well as human decision-making. Given the situation, there must be a demand for skilled workers and this shows that technology will simplify tasks and make it possible to create the socially positive work environments.

Ever since the establishment of technology, the notion that automation could replace jobs has frightened society. However, technology has also created more productivity, efficiency and higher standards of living. Even with the recent developments particularly in artificial intelligence and automation, manual labor is still at risk of being wiped out hence it is important to study how this is possible and how it can be stopped in case it takes place. The information from the study will assist in understanding the role of technology in the industrial word and how they should be embraced so that it is no longer considered a threat, particularly to the manual jobs.        

1.5 Limitations of the Study

The amount of information that has to be examined is broad and the differing perspectives from the different scholars could present a bias with regards to the research study topic. Furthermore, the content of the jobs as well as the qualities needed of workers will likely be modified by the technological changes. Therefore, it will be difficult to determine whether technology inputs more advantages or disadvantages within the labor environment. It is important to note that there is minimal information with regards to the effect of the robots on employment and productivity.

An emerging consensus implies that technological innovation has the ability to compliment workers working in any job of the near future, at the same time some of the current jobs are likely to become substituted by the advanced technology. In other words, future jobs can either be digital jobs or the jobs that utilize digital tools. However, minimal consensus or research exists on the manner that these changes may take place, the pace they will attain, and the manner in which loses or gains will become distributed.

The use of surveys and reviews of literature may be time-consuming especially since a lot of similar research has been done on the topic. In addition, the interviews carried out on the manual workers may be biased and objective and hence may hinder the results of this study. Overall, this research will assist in the understanding of the impact of technology and robotics on the manual workers in a subjective way while examining how it will affect the future labor environment.

sheldon

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