Five million jobs are likely to be automated by 2030, according to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA). This job loss is attributed to the rise of intelligent machines and software that is capable of performing human tasks.
While there is understandable concern around job losses, it doesn’t mean Australia is going to become a nation of superseded, unemployed citizens. New technology requires new skills and Australia needs to change its economic focus to innovation and research. Automation isn’t the be all and end all for a range of reasons.
Short-term Pain for Long-term Gain
Losing a job to a robot would be a painful experience for any employee. As robots become more complex and replace human roles, more people are going to be unemployed and disillusioned with the technology that replaced them. This creates a job refresh rate that will initially see newly jobless workers not finding a replacement role at the rate of job loss. This will eventually slow and become stable as new, unforeseen positions are created.
‘The theory that automation is bad for workers overall is almost always faulty.’
David Maney, Deke Digital/Forbes
Developed economies like Australia have less to fear from automation. Broad numbers of researchers and scientist cite increased leisure and quality of life as one of the main benefits of automation. With a more diverse industry base and strong education system that creates citizens who can effectively conduct R + D, developed nations will be better off compared to developing nations.
Skills, Trust and Capability
Certain human behaviours are hard to implement in machines. Particular examples include design and problem solving. Machines only work to rigid parameters and don’t have a ‘sense of style’.
While a robot can build a car, it struggles to design a car. A driverless truck will deliver plants to a landscaping project but only a foundU labourer will be able to decide how best to position a plant in relation to the landscape.
Putting trust in a machine is another conundrum. An often cited example is a driverless car. If a driverless car with one passenger had to take evasive action that meant it hit a group of pedestrians, should it hit the pedestrians or sacrifice the lone passenger? Choices like these need to be made by a human operator.
The other question to consider is that of complexity. Yes, robots and machines can perform incredibility complex tasks but often struggle with the environment around them. Moore’s Law states that processing power will double every year in relation to area, it doesn’t mean this will directly translate into doubling of artificial intelligence.
Co-founder of Microsoft Paul Allen invented the term complexity brake. While initial tasks may be easily accomplished by robots and jobs rapidly overtaken, it will get harder and harder to create robots that can perform intricate, high – level tasks regardless of Moore’s Law.
foundU + Automation
The foundU Platform itself is an example of automation. Our platform may remove part of an employee’s role but it allows them to focus on other business critical tasks. Imagine a business that spends less time and money on staff management and more time on profit generating activities.
Staff are the biggest expense for most SMEs and foundU allows businesses to lower costs through its subscription based SaaS or FaaS models. Contact today to request a demo and see the foundU Platform in action.