Published on November 28th, 2018 | by Sunit Nandi0
The Rise of the Machines: A Positive Step for the Workplace?
First came man, then came machine. With technological advances like artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, drone deliveries and automated manufacturing lines, it’s easy to conclude that machines are gradually taking over the world.
Let’s admit it, on occasion we’ve all been known to choose the self-service checkout option over the ones with an actual employee sitting behind them. So, it’s interesting to take a step back and look at the impact that machines have had on the workplace, and whether or not it’s a positive development for employees like you and I.
Machines in Manufacturing
It goes without saying that technology and machines have completely transformed the workplace. It’s rare now to find a job that doesn’t rely in some way on computer or phone technology.
Looking back into the history of technology in the workplace, one of the first signs of machinery and robotics being introduced were in manufacturing lines, to meet with consumer demand for faster and cheaper products. This paved the way for mass production using automated assembly lines, such as the ones used by Ford Motor Company for car production.
Computerised Systems to Manage Machines
One of the newer generations of technology in the workplace is computerised maintenance management systems (CMMS). This is software that assesses the performance of both people and machinery in the workplace and optimises it. The software claims to reduce breakdowns, improve response times and reduce administrative overheads in a range of industries, making it a very valuable asset to businesses.
So, first came the machinery and now there are computerised systems to help maintain the machines. Does this mean that our fears of a robotic revolution in the workplace are justified?
The Human Touch
Technology will eliminate many jobs for the workforce, but it’s difficult to predict the number of job losses that could be incurred. In fact, a study by Gartner, a global business research firm, shows that the number of jobs created by artificial intelligence will in fact greatly outnumber the estimated 1.8 million jobs lost by 2020. In particular, they see a continuously growing job demand in industries like healthcare, the public sector and education.
This study is incredibly significant as it shows that businesses still require the human touch in their workforce and artificial intelligence will be there mainly to relieve workers of repetitive and mundane tasks.
All in all, new technologies like automation, artificial intelligence and robotics is a positive step in the workplace. They are likely to take over routine and monotonous jobs and support workers, giving them more time for non-routine tasks. Therefore, machines could create more jobs, whilst also encouraging better collaboration and efficiency.