Digging our own grave – are we?

With increasing competition, all businesses are eager to use automation wherever feasible to reduce time to market, increase efficiency and decreasing manual effort and errors. Many industries boast of coming up with new and better automation techniques which will ultimately help investors get maximum profits. But as a worker in one of these industries I am worried with this over use of automation. Daily we come across different such automated machines which help us get our work done faster, efficiently and with no human interaction. In few more years, possibly there will be many more services which will be automated – some of which we can’t fathom right now but hey, who thought 50 years back that we’ll have self-driving cars?

In today’s time when unemployment is at rise automation is further adding to this woe. As per the latest survey by Hfs as reported in Economic Times, IT sector is going to cut down 6.4 lakh jobs by 2021 to automation. This number might quadruple in around 10 years- that too in just one sector. Similar matter will surely come up in other service providing industries. Just think what are all unemployed people going to do? More and more people but ever decreasing work. How will such people survive? No work, no money, no survival. I know this is extreme but we can’t eliminate this scenario. Government should really start thinking and preparing for this mind boggling but possible case.

Below are some of the services which are almost there:

  1. Cashiers are replaced by automated kiosks – one example is ATM and other self-check in at airports.
  2. Robot waiters have already been hired in China.
  3. Self-driven cars for personal as well as cab use have come in the market.
  4. Real estate agents are not to be seen nowadays, the websites connect you directly to the owners and even give you a whole 360-degree view of the place in advance.
  5. Writes for data oriented articles are already being replaced by software by Forbes.
  6. Co-Pilots are being replaced by robots in China so that companies don’t have to bear the cost of a co-pilot who after a long flight will give in to fatigue and stress.
  7. Customer care executives are slowly being replaced either by automated voice machines or chatbots.
  8. Teachers are being replaced by learning software for schools, colleges and professionals.
  9. Conductors are probably not there in developed countries but in developing countries like India such jobs make up a huge workforce. These will soon be replaced by card swipe machines here as well.
  10. IT professionals are already getting shunted out due to automated software being used to test and deploy the codes. Look at the irony though, such software is being prepared by same people.

It reminds me of the proverb ‘Apne paon pe kulhaadi maarna’ or ‘Digging your own grave’. Is this where we really want to head to?

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