Automation, the apex of productivity

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Hyper automation. Pandemic times. Machine learning. Big data exchange. Global demand for resources. Self-driving car. Isolation. Cloud extensions. Covid 19 self-isolation. Welcome to the world that drives our steps toward the Industry 5.0! How can one achieve the apex of productivity in 2020?

In an era marked by rapid advances, automation technology, including artificial intelligence and robotics, generates substantial benefits to everyone, from user to businesses and economies worldwide. Automation became an imperative for any business that is searching for a mechanism to lift productivity and economic growth, since quality, cost and availability are playing key role in any competitive market.

Being used in a number of areas such as: manufacturing, services, utilities, defense, operations and information technology, automation provides benefits across all industries.

When Thor beat the laundresses

In the early 1900’s, paying someone else to do the laundry was a priority of any middle-class family.

This task was a long, unpleasant, and laborious work, but many women, especially widows or single mothers, used to do it. The laundresses were split in categories: the experienced ones, which had their owns tools and made the washing solution by themselves and the other ones who were just trying to survive doing this job. Doing laundry for a household often took a few days since it was a complex activity: the washing required many gallons of water and they carried water from a pump that was often at the bottom of a hill or down the street. Then they would heat the water in a copper (a large metal boiler built in a firebox) and dissolved the soap. The washing process continued with a doubled rinsing, then starching, squeezing, and flattening the wet clothes using a mangle, and then hung to dry.

Being a laundress allowed mothers to work at home and keep their children with them, though they were busy washing and ironing from early in the morning to late at night.

The laundresses were often disrespected in society since their job was not considered an activity proper for a lady.

Despite all of these inconveniences, the laundresses continued to sustain their families from this job and if you told them that one day a machine would make their job faster, smarter and better, they wouldn’t believe a word.

How could a machine predict how much water the clothes needed? How could a machine know that Smith’s household liked tight clothes and Groove’s hated smells of lavender? How could a machine be smarter, faster, and hardworking than Mary, the famous laundress from Minnesota? How could a machine be more gifted, more careful, and more charming than Henriette from Paris?

Even after the first electric washing machine, Thor, was invented, in 1908, people continued for some decades to use the simple laundresses’ services.

The laundresses made the world go round, they were famous and inspired many artists, they were millions all over the world and all the households relied on them, they had a job known from thousands of years. The first proof of washing is dated from 2800 BC. Although, one day nobody needed laundresses anymore…

In 1928, 913.000 washing machines were sold. In less than 30 years, Thor, the first washing machine model commercialized, defeated thousands of experienced and hardworking people who practiced a profession for thousands of years.

Nowadays, even a child can wash the laundry pressing only one button. Using AI, washing machines became so smart that they started conversations with the users. And it will not be a wonder, if tomorrow it will remind you to wash some clothes to wear a proper outfit at the morning meeting board.

This is only a simple example on how automation has conquered the world and it didn’t take into account experience, tradition, time and space boundaries.

Hyper Automation, the wealth of our generation?

Think about the laundress example. If you have many customers and you pay many laundresses, it is hard to control your workers, to take into account your customers’ needs and establish your priorities.

If you automatize your process, through an online customer support and email marketing automation software, a collection and delivery system and a complete automated washing, drying, ironing system, all of them connected in cloud, this automation solution will enable your business to recognize and predict the weaknesses, to deliver services and to provide continuity in dynamic markets.

The automation technologies are skilled to take over many human tasks, complete them much faster, offering accuracy, unlimited performance and the machines will not get tired or sick, they will not ask for a vacation and will not stop production.

When properly applied, automation offers a great deal of benefits: increased productivity, lower operating costs, improving product quality, faster ROI, better planning, increased safety and flexibility, easy integration, maximize labor among others.

Nowadays, more and more organizations from different areas embrace intelligent automation systems, which can be defined as integrated solutions for digital transformation processes and briefly, mean to automate the processes of the entire company at any level and task.

In a report future automation related, McKinsey Global Institute estimate automation could raise productivity growth globally by 0.8 to 1.4 percent annually (see animation below) during the next decades.

Will the bot steal my job?

waiter robot

Honestly, yes, the robot is coming. Actually, it is already here and it will stay for a while. This answer may be real only if you feel like a laundress from the beginning of last century. Do you?

The goal of robotics is not stealing jobs and create dystopia. The robot will probably replace you only if your job involves repetitive actions, dull, low-skilled, dangerous, boring, hard work or health risks involving. But in this case, you better ask yourself: Who’s the robot?

And it will not steal, it will exchange your work with another one, less unlikable, dangerous and hard.

The robot will need to be manufactured, the software needs to be written, the team needs to be trained, the system needs to be controlled, maintained and managed, so, you can let the robot do your work and move up to next level. The entrepreneurs are searching employees with technological, but also with social skills like persuasion, empathy, emotional intelligence, creativity, teaching others and a human touch.

By the way, let us introduce you, MATT, an innovative solution for automated QA testing, built here, at RINF TECH.

Doing clothing or doing coding, what do you prefer?

Laundry

If you asked a laundress or even a tailor in 1920’s if they prefer to continue their laundering or clothing work instead of coding, certainly they would tell you to visit a psychiatrist. Coding instead of clothing? Probably, it would sound terrifying for anyone in those times. So, the laundresses were doing the hard work, they were disrespected, but they continued to do it because they didn’t experience other kind of activity. But, after the washing machine revolution, many of them were hired in laundering commercial centers where their work became easier and safer or they opened laundry businesses themselves using washing – powered machines. Their quality of life improved by changing their work and their mindset. Now, thanks also to the coding, clothing and laundering are all automated.

Nowadays, with the machine learning algorithms, there are automation solutions capable to do more than just repeating work, they can offer vast data analyses, improve themselves and recommend solutions for issues that people can’t even imagine. Let’s think that AI can now identify diseases more precisely than experienced doctors and a financial software can detect suspicious transactions in less than a second.

Automation shows opportunities for people blocked in their low skill jobs and offers productive solutions for organizations which cannot find the skilled workers they need. This process happened because the demand for repeating and labor-intensive skills is falling while employers are searching for high-tech, social and emotional skills.

However, the impact of automation over the world has generated new job opportunities for everyone and you don’t need to read studies to observe; it’s enough to take a look at any job search site and find there that the coders or software developers are in high demand and the number of the programmers is doubling every 5 years. If we look back in history, while every technological revolution destroys jobs, it also creates new ones, better than in the past. This lead to conclude that automation is playing a key role in generating more and better jobs.

Being a bot or being your best self?

From the simplest to the most complex application, we’re meeting automation in many forms in our everyday routine. Imagine you disconnect automation technology from your life for 24 hours only. This includes all the devices, machines, applications and let the human intervention replace them. How will you wake up, how you’ll make coffee, then go to your job without a car of course, stop at the bank to get some money, then walk how many km you have until you reach your workplace…. doing your job without a phone, pc, coffee machine or elevator… I think you will need more than 24 hours to reach your goal. Our needs are changing to keeping up with the world around us. Although we’re living in the automation age, many of our daily tasks are repetitive, unsatisfying, mechanical. But we have become familiarized to living like this and we are not even aware of some of these actions. Take a moment to observe. How much are you using your creativity, your analytical intellect doing your daily tasks? Being a bot or being your best self to use your human potential it is up to you.

According to a research by the World Economic Forum, the upskilling of next generation on the labor market needs to start from the primary school with an educational reform approach in order to facilitate the next generation to develop a proper, practical and modern mindset.

In the image below we can see a prediction research and understand why it is essential to facilitate the development of digital knowledge and technical skills, as well as non-routine cognitive and non-cognitive skills.

Reading the required features, we can conclude that, actually, robots make us more human that we used to be. Paradoxically, despite the rapid and unexpected advancement of technology, we haven’t yet answered the question: what is the meaning of life? There is a general meaning of life or we can speak about a specific meaning of a personal life in a particular moment of time? Automation may help us solve this problem by offering more time. Time to enjoy, experience, discover, imagine, dream, practice, love and try. It gives us time by cutting all those repeating, predictable, redundant, low-skilled tasks. It is improving our lifestyle by developing the health, education, defense systems.

Therefore, automation is a complex and expensive process, but imperative for any enterprise in any domain in order to remain competitive on the market and have economic growth. Ready or not, the automation age is here and everything what can be automated, will be.

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