“I don’t understand why people would think it’s unethical,” Woodcock says. “You use various tools and forms of automation anyway; anyone who works with a computer is automating work.” He says if any of these coders had sat in front of the computer, manually inputting the data day after day, they’d never be reprimanded. But by demonstrating that they’re capable of higher levels of efficiency, some may, perversely, feel like they’re shirking a duty to the companies that employ them. This is perhaps why automating work can feel like cheating, and be treated as such by corporate policy. On Amazon Mechanical Turk, the tech company’s marketplace for microwork, automation is explicitly against its terms of service—and the gig workers like those on the platform, who labor for cents per task, could stand to benefit from automation most of all.
Within BPM, automated business processes are managed collectively to improve an organization’s overall workflow in terms of achieving greater efficiency, adapting to changing business needs, reducing human error and clarifying job roles and responsibilities. BPM is itself a subset of infrastructure management, which maintains and optimizes an organization's core operational components such as processes, equipment and data.
Over the past year few years, we’ve heard about robots coming for our jobs. Each time a self-checkout lane opens at the nearest grocery store, some start to panic. And although we’ve already had a glimpse into how automation is going to be beneficial to us all, it isn’t completely met with open arms. Still, I think there are a few job categories, or perhaps better defined, "Career Personas," that will thrive with automation.
It is “glaringly obvious,” says Daron Acemoglu, an economist at MIT, that political leaders are “totally unprepared” to deal with how automation is changing employment. Automation has been displacing workers from a variety of occupations, including ones in manufacturing. And now, he says, AI and the quickening deployment of robots in various industries, including auto manufacturing, metal products, pharmaceuticals, food service, and warehouses, could exacerbate the effects. “We haven’t even begun the debate,” he warns. “We’ve just been papering over the issues.”
It is hard to read the White House report without thinking about the presidential election that happened six weeks before it was published. The election was decided by a few Midwest states in the heart of what has long been called the Rust Belt. And the key issue for many voters there was the economy—or, more precisely, the shortage of relatively well-paying jobs. In the rhetoric of the campaign, much of the blame for lost jobs went to globalization and the movement of manufacturing facilities overseas. “Make America great again” was, in some ways, a lament for the days when steel and other products were made domestically by a thriving middle class.
Automated testing or test automation is a method in software testing that makes use of special software tools to control the execution of tests and then compares actual test results with predicted or expected results. All of this is done automatically with little or no intervention from the test engineer. Automation is used to to add additional testing that may be too difficult to perform manually.
If you prefer a DIY approach to smartening up your home security, check out the SimpliSafe Home Security System. SimpliSafe finds the sweet spot between a basic self-monitored DIY security system and a professionally installed and monitored solution. The system is easy to set up and use, and keeps your home safe from intruders and environmental threats like fires and floods. It's a seamless solution that succeeds quite well at what it sets out to do—secure your home simply and flexibly, letting you monitor everything remotely with (or without) an affordable monthly plan.
Lighting is a fun, accessible entry point in building a smart home, but smart bulbs—especially color-changing ones—cost a lot more than you might expect. That makes the $34.99 Eufy Lumos Smart Bulb White and Color an intriguing option. It doesn't offer nearly as much in the way of third-party integration as the Philips Hue bulbs, but it lets you select from over 16 million colors, it doesn't require a hub, and it supports voice commands via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
“We have introduced the Plustek eScan stand-alone scanning kiosk to several companies where people need to quickly convert paper documents into digital ones. This scanner allows them to log in and send the information to preset locations at the touch of a button. This not only saves a ton of time, but also provides the ultimate secure solution because the user cannot send the files to another location, either intentionally or by accident.
Robot Framework is an open-source automation framework that implements the keyword-driven approach for acceptance testing and acceptance test-driven development (ATDD). Robot Framework provides frameworks for different test automation needs. But its test capability can be further extended by implementing additional test libraries using Python and Java. Selenium WebDriver is a popular external library used in Robot Framework.
Jim Hazen is an Automation Consultant and “veteran of the software testing trenches” who helps companies with test automation and performance test implementations. He has presented at multiple professional conferences, including STARWest and STPCon, and published articles in ST&QA Magazine on test automation and communication techniques for testers. You can learn more about Jim on LinkedIn.
Clearly this is a realm in which knowledge workers need strong skills in computer science, artificial intelligence, and analytics. In his book Data-ism, Steve Lohr offers stories of some of the people doing this work. For example, at the E. & J. Gallo Winery, an executive named Nick Dokoozlian teams up with Hendrik Hamann, a member of IBM’s research staff, to find a way to harness the data required for “precision agriculture” at scale. In other words, they want to automate the painstaking craft of giving each grapevine exactly the care and feeding it needs to thrive. This isn’t amateur hour. Hamann is a physicist with a thorough knowledge of IBM’s prior application of networked sensors. Dokoozlian earned his doctorate in plant physiology at what Lohr informs us is the MIT of wine science—the University of California at Davis—and then taught there for 15 years. We’re tempted to say that this team knows wine the way some French people know paper.
Approval Management – Let’s say you’re working in procurement & are ordering the new machinery. For the order to be completed, it has to go through the approval of 5 different general managers. Without automation, you’d have to hunt down each management member & ask for signatures. With approval management software, all you have to do is click “start the approval process.”
Nearly every program that runs in a browser now has a mobile counterpart. Because of this, mobile test tooling is quickly becoming as important, if not more so, than testing in a web browser. Sometimes this automation takes control of the mobile device by launching an app or mobile browser and performing some actions. Other times this testing happens just below the surface by working at the API level.
Analysis: In this phase, you review your organization’s infrastructure. Assess its requirements and objectives before performing a full review of the current systems, data needs, and business processes. Then select a technology solution based on its architectural design and its fit with the business. At this stage, external consultants who are experts in the technology are helpful.
Labor economists have been pointing out the employment consequences of new digital technologies for several years, and the White House report dutifully lays out many of those findings. As it notes, the imminent problem is not that robots will hasten the day when there is no need for human workers. That end-of-work scenario remains speculative, and the report pays it little heed. Instead, it is far more concerned with the transition in our economy that is already under way: the types of jobs available are rapidly changing. That’s why the report is so timely. It is an attempt to elevate into Washington political circles the discussion of how automation and, increasingly, AI are affecting employment, and why it’s time to finally adopt educational and labor policies to address the plight of workers either displaced by technology or ill suited for the new opportunities.
Business process automation (BPA), also known as business automation or digital transformation, is the technology-enabled automation of complex business processes. It can streamline a business for simplicity, achieve digital transformation, increase service quality, improve service delivery or contain costs. It consists of integrating applications, restructuring labor resources and using software applications throughout the organization. Robotic process automation is an emerging field within BPA and uses artificial intelligence.