Automation is nothing new to us. There have been periodic predictions about it down over the last few centuries. From the Luddites, in 19th Century England, to the concerns of the 1950’s and 1960’s in the United States of America over “The Automation Joblessness”, to the current zeitgeist and return of automation anxiety. It is today’s automation, complemented by the exponentially increasing power of information technology, that is forging massive change on the very nature of work. Rapid acceleration and digitisation combined with addictive use of Social Media on smartphones, has ushered in an Age of Big Data. With the creation of real time data, we can expect more and more decisions to be driven by algorithms, tweaked on the fly.
Make no doubt about it, the current model of business management is set for a shakeup like never before thanks to the evolution in computer power. The very nature of current business models inside in organisations is set to change and be disrupted. Technology is indeed creating more effectiveness in the workplace. Software is set to become be the new ‘Management’ and it will be managing the bots that are managing the business. With this we can expect changes in productivity.
ENTER THE BOTS
Bots can be considered the new electronic workers. We can expect them to perform a lot of the repetitive tasks that humans have been doing up to recent times and the software developers that create them their new managers. Bots are pieces of software that run automated scripts and are designed to automate tasks like scheduling an event to your calendar, setting a reminder, find a restaurant and even telling you what the weather is like outside. Chatbots are in vogue right now – even if they have been about for years, thanks to the recent boom in mobile messaging. Facebook Messenger carries many of them as do other micro messaging platforms such as Telegram, WhatsApp and Kik. Amazon’s Alexa is a smart bot, used mostly at home and can be considered a new addition to the bot family. Bots are found inside Slack, the business focused messaging app, which aims to aid with work related business processes and tasks. Bot chatting makes sense especially with the demand for instant answers via smartphones given the use of today’s technology and the speed of response that people have become accustomed to.
The artificial intelligence software that has propelled the bots to life is improving exponentially. Even if the technology for them to have the exact outcome in conversation with individuals online can be a bit unpredictable to say the least. Though bots aren’t fully matured they are still of considerable use and benefit to us. Travel bots, shopping bots and news bots can be found now on all major websites and services and currently offer taking the mundane out of a lot of the tasks we do daily. We can expect both their use and their ability to learn only to upgrade as their natural language processing ability improves in a world increasingly being powered by automation, machine learning and cognitive computing. We can expect to see many organisations to have an army of bots deployed to do many of the low level tasks within the workplace as companies start to explore and enter the ever encompassing world of A.I.