3 Major Impacts of Automation
Futurists and technologists often speak about seeing a bright future with automation. Simultaneously there are politicians and intellectuals that predict doomsday with automation at its zenith. This debate is at its extremes – either it is for or it is against. None of them seem to provide new solutions and it would be worth it to discuss the impact of automation when it is scenario-based. Here are three major impacts of automation that we can visualize:
1. Illogical automation comportment and peripheral precincts
Is it a necessity for us to use something that we have developed? The answer is “No”. Socially we may in the future, automate our lives completely by overpowering the technological limitations that have been envisaged by the futurists. But it cannot be denied that we aren’t being forced by anyone to exploit our knowledge on a bigger scale.
The deliberations on automation have been created on the notion that humans will make use of whatever technology is available ‘then’. But the fact that humans are unreasonable in making decisions cannot be ignored. We may just automate tasks that we dislike and the ones that we like will be kept from automation, ignoring the fact that the quality of the output might be low. It is most likely that we may repel change and begin valuing human done work compared to the automated work. Our society may drift away from the course of technological innovation probably because of a lack of potential resources, external influences, pollution, and skirmishes.
Theoretically, humans would be able to completely automate all tasks, yet cultural change would be unable to cope with the technological revolution. External influences could impel us to reduce the potency of automation. Thus, it would be obligatory for humans to conscientiously select where to use the automation technology and amalgamate it with formerly functional technology and traditional knowledge.
2. Speedy Complete Automation
When we think about quick and complete automation the first thing that strikes us is human labor, redesigning theories that we follow currently and redefining our value system. For instance, Capitalism is considered by most to act as fuel for innovation but its fundamental theory may pose some problems in the future. Capitalism economic gains and grows in productivity which in turn leads to consumption and eventually renders more wages, hence it has a positive impact on the economic welfare of the society.
When there is complete automation, corporate giants that would have developed the automated systems or accumulated the data would control both money and power, while contravening the rational consequence from productivity gains to higher wages, as there would hardly be any humans employed.
In the denouement, the driver of growth, consumption, would be subdued.
Whether the democratic thought of a general basic income could be a practicable resolution remains to be seen, as we have always endeavored to extricate ourselves from our peers, when it comes to social status. Thus, social inequality may be seen in its extreme. There would be an elite group of people that either have jobs in professions that cannot be automated or those that are profiting from automation directly.
3. Balanced automation and technological limitations
Three decades ago the scientists predicted promising results from Artificial Intelligence. Currently, as we enter 2020, AI is still being developed narrowly, though there are as usual visions of omniscient super-intelligence for the future. Presently AI is still in its developing stage and is pretty improbable to accomplish this utopian vision.
Rewinding the history of AI, it is believable that we are probably going to face setbacks in the researches or observe a plateau (temporarily though) in technological advancement. The common reasons for this plateau could be probably gridlocks in computing power, incompetence to comprehend the outputs or quality of training data. While humans could possibly develop systems to completely automate a collection of jobs such as financial modeling or driving but there are other tasks that may continue to be incomprehensible for AI systems.
It is significant to know that most jobs comprise of several sub-sets of tasks from other fields, necessitating a score of skills. A certain task or job may need logical reasoning, communication, inventiveness, numerical calculations, olfactory, social skills, data accumulations analytics, etc. The engineering curriculum needs to be changed as automation becomes more mainstream. Technical Universities such as IITs, NITs, IIITs, AKTU should change the curriculum with time.
Hence, if it were likely to automate some sub-tasks of one macro-task with the help of different systems, it may not be practical to merge them together to completely automate the macro-task. Additionally, like other things automation too comes at a cost, this will make it monetarily uninviting to automate certain tasks, despite it being possible when thought about it scientifically. Automation is highly dependent on data which is not always accessible in the needed quality and quantity.
It is because of these issues, human labor would not only be in demand but also cheaper in most fields of work. Thus humans would be able to automate some jobs and would leave some tasks to be done by human labor even if they can be automated and for some other tasks it wouldn’t be possible to automate them at all.
Keeping this in mind, balanced automation will progress leisurely and will not be as disorderly as presently anticipated.
For now, all we can do is assume that we would deal with the changes as they come our way in the future, just like humankind has done in the past.