Programmers, of course, have been writing code that automates their work for decades. Programming generally involves utilizing tools that add automation at different levels, from code formatting to merging to different code bases—most just don’t take it to the extreme of fully or nearly fully automating their job. I chatted, via direct message on Reddit and email, with about a dozen programmers who said they had. These self-automators had tackled inventory management, report writing, graphics rendering, database administration, and data entry of every kind. One automated his wife’s entire workload, too. Most asked to remain anonymous, to protect their job and reputation.
Another study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Diabetics showed similar findings. The researchers observed 123 postmenopausal, overweight and obese women over the span of a year. These women were put on two different diets. But regardless of which diet the women followed, the women who completed food journals lost about 4 percent more weight, on average, than those who didn’t track their food regularly.
Amazon is testing delivery drones that pick up warehouse orders sorted by robots, Google is testing self-driving cars, Starbucks is testing cashier-free stores dedicated to mobile ordering and payment, and Facebook is testing a brain-computer interface that may one day translate thoughts into digital text. There are mundane versions of automation technology behind all of this testing — software automation testing. Companies use automation technology to create the software responsible for the products and services causing all the hype.
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.