Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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“If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.”
― Isaac Asimov

For too long, machines and robots have been maligned, and seen as a threat rather an opportunity. Our perceived view of robots, so often shaped by a collective indignation at a loss of jobs, is heavily prejudiced and must be revisited, for evolution is inevitable. Be it human, or machine-oriented. And we’re here to tell you that skills and tasks can evolve too, for the better. Simply by automating the mundane, you will come to see that robots, especially thinking ones, are to be welcomed, not feared. The Terminator T-1000 is, of course, one of the few exceptions to this rule.

One cannot look to the future without viewing it through the lens of our past. For centuries, human imagination and ingenuity has been fired on by technological advances that have shaped the next era of human growth. Think of reluctant Luddite’s that resisted the industrial revolution across the world, as their skilled jobs threatened to fall under the axe. However, note too that these advances have driven productivity gains, and led to a steady rise in employment as new jobs were created in its wake to meet unforeseen needs.

The McKinsey Global Institute recently estimated that in its fastest automation adoption scenario, as many as 375 million workers worldwide, or about 14 percent of the global workforce, will need to switch occupational categories by 2030 in order to avoid obsolescence. Even if the pace of adoption is slower, as in its midpoint scenario, some 75 million workers will need to switch occupational categories in the next 10 to 15 years. Deloitte recently suggested in a report that over the next three years executives expect automation to increase their workforce capacity by 27 per cent: equivalent to 2.4 million extra full time employees.

Thus, the future of work looks set to be not a tale of machines replacing humans, but of machines complementing humans in the workplace, presenting some interesting automation opportunities in the offing.

Managing contracts

Processing paperwork is often a chore, with too much time wasted like a hamster on a wheel chasing down elusive documents in an endless to-do list.

Put some more thought and consideration into thing by managing everything from an encrypted portal or service that allow complete visibility and trackability into the process for everyone involved, putting an end to days of back-to-back communications that can often be a confusing rabbit hole. Get your business dealings signed, sealed, and delivered virtually and in a completely legal way (obviously!) without the circumlocutive nature it often entails.

Inventory management

Supply-chain management is a pivotal cog in the operational wheel, but keeping stock of inventory and ordering it as needed can be quite the repetitive task. Sounds like a job ripe for automation.

There are myriad platforms dedicated to keeping your supply chain purring along, with a wide range of solutions on offer that fits all but the most obscure of use cases (and even then you’ll find a platform that can be tailored to your needs). The upside is not just the automation on offer, but the deep level insights that can throw up solutions to problems you never even knew existed.

Unleash the chatbots

Customers are always going to want to communicate with you about something or the other, and their queries almost wholly predictable and repetitive. See where we’re going with this?

Why leave this to your team members when a chatbot is perfectly capable of handling this? Powered by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, today’s chatbots are remarkable things that can learn on the fly and understand context basis the language used.

Again, if you believe that automating these tasks will render people redundant, think again. All it does mean is that people will have to either re-skill or be shifted to other high value jobs. Automation done right is a win-win situation, and one you can’t avoid missing out on.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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