I for one welcome our new computer overlords
Monthly IT Support Update – March 2017
Last month I touched on AI as a technology that will make a difference in the near future, this month I’ll be going into a little more detail as to what exactly this means for businesses.
There are advantages and disadvantages, not only for your business but yourself and society in general. Computerisation and automation of various jobs and even entire industries are going to drastically alter the economy and the entire fabric of society – the process is already underway!
Certain parallels can be drawn to the industrial revolution, whereby society moved from making things predominately by hand to machine-based production. This led to an explosion of opportunity for skilled workers and triggered a huge surge of economic growth – average income and population has enjoyed almost continual sustained growth since then. This was all well and good when people were still required to run things, and is still a reasonable proposition when there were avenues for individuals to upskill or transition when certain jobs were made obsolete (many factory workers became tradespeople for example), however the rate at which computerisation of the workforce is progressing means that traditional thinking simply doesn’t apply.
Tasks and professions that were recently thought too complex to ever be done autonomously are now a reality, and the rate of change is continually accelerating. There was a study done recently plotting an enormous range of professions against certain metrics used to determine their probability of being computerised, the results are quite uncomfortable for many of us.
Unsurprisingly, telemarketers and data entry positions are at the top of the list, but there are also many parts of the finance industry (accountants, clerks, tax agents) which are already under pressure as well as many other middle-income routine based professions. The study concluded that 47% of all jobs are at risk of computerisation. What it also found was that the people being moved out of these roles are overwhelmingly pushed into lower-skilled work (which may well be automated further in the future).
What does this mean for you?
If you own or run a business this is going to be great, for a while at least as savings can be made by reducing staff numbers and automating many day-to-day functions of running a business. We don’t really know for sure what the long-term ramifications of this are, but we’re already seeing mass casualisation of the workforce, underemployment and wage stagnation – so it’s highly likely business will eventually take a hit as consumers are unable to afford services.
If your business provides a service that has a high probability of being computerised, it could well mean the end of the business – you should be thinking about what you’ll need to do adapt. If you’re interested in more detail, the study referenced above can be found here: http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/publications/view/1314
About the author:
Eden Freeman is Intuitive IT’s Director of IT and outsourced IT manager to our clients. Eden’s no-nonsense and practical approach to IT Management ensures his clients receive the best possible solutions for their IT needs. Eden works across our many and varied clients, ensuring best practice is implemented from a technology perspective and can communicate risks and ideas to the business at the same time. A unique and highly regarded set of skills that make him invaluable to the IIT team. Contact Eden here