The White House report points in particular to the current wave of AI, which it describes as having begun around 2010. That’s when advances in machine learning and the increasing availability of big data and enhanced computation power began providing computers with unprecedented capabilities such as the ability to accurately recognize images. The report says greater deployment of AI and automation could boost economic growth by creating new types of jobs and improving efficiency in many businesses. But it also points to the negative effects: job destruction and related increases in income inequality. For now at least, “less educated workers are more likely to be replaced by automation than highly educated ones.” The report notes that so far automation has displaced few higher-skill workers, but it adds: “The skills in which humans have maintained a comparative advantage are likely to erode over time as AI and new technologies become more sophisticated.”
Another term for this kind of automation is something Michael Bolton and James Bach call checking, a decision rule that can be interpreted by an algorithm as pass or fail. Computers can do this kind of work, and do it well. Having check automation run at the code level -- unit tests -- or user interface level can vastly improve quality and catch obvious errors quickly before a human even looks at the software.
To do more with less, developers reused test scripts during development and integration stages to work more efficiently. The demand for new software built, and the constant change to software under development opened the door for automation testing practices to serve as a reliable control mechanism for testing the code (Automated Software Testing, 1999).
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Automation isn’t necessarily meant to replace people. Some of that will happen as a result of removing steps that require human interaction, but the focus and advantages are found in productivity, consistency, and efficiency. This is the paradox of automation—as you become efficient using automation, human involvement becomes both more important and less frequent.
This “how” and “why” make organization, consistency and speed imperative to supporting a continuous testing model, and that’s where test automation can help. Managing all of the testing needs in a continuous testing environment is a massive undertaking — it requires a tremendous communication effort to keep track of which environments have deployed new code, when each piece needs testing and how those requirements integrate back into the moving process of continuously delivering software.
A composer understands the needs of the customers and creates them. It’s not just about picking a product off a shelf for the consumer. The composer will need to create a holistic experience from the moment the consumer enters the store or logs on to the website. By using automation to take care of the small parts of a transaction, a composer can focus on the overall experience.
You might not get very far, however, if employers in your field don’t buy in to augmentation. The world suffers from an automation mindset today, after all, because businesses have taken us down that path. Managers are always acutely aware of the downside of human employees—or, to use the technologist’s favored dysphemism for them, “wetware.” Henry Ford famously said, “Why is it every time I ask for a pair of hands, they come with a brain attached?”
Another major shift in automation is the increased demand for flexibility and convertibility in manufacturing processes. Manufacturers are increasingly demanding the ability to easily switch from manufacturing Product A to manufacturing Product B without having to completely rebuild the production lines. Flexibility and distributed processes have led to the introduction of Automated Guided Vehicles with Natural Features Navigation.
Such generous benefits are unlikely to be offered anytime soon, acknowledges Muro, who has worked with manufacturing communities in the Midwest (see “Manufacturing Jobs Aren't Coming Back”). However, the presidential election, he suggests, was a wake-up call for many people. In some ways the result was “secretly about automation,” he says. “There is a great sense of anxiety and frustration out there.”
“Another common mistake is trying to get testers to do both jobs, so when management gives the go ahead for automation testing, any QA related job these days requires some level of automation and testers might get excited about the potential for test automation. But these are both full-time jobs, so often times [these] teams struggle with deciding what to spend limited time on.”
Carla O’Dell is the chairman of APQC, a non-profit business research institute focused on benchmarking, best practices, process improvement and knowledge management for a global corporations and consulting firms. She has authored three books, one on competitiveness and two on knowledge management. She writes and speaks frequently on the impact of AI and cognitive technologies on how we share knowledge and writes an APQC blog and interviews series called Big Thinkers, Big Ideas.
Katalon Studio is a powerful test automation solution for mobile, Web, and API testing. And it is completely FREE! It provides a comprehensive set of features for test automation, including recording actions, creating test cases, generating test scripts, executing tests, reporting results, and integrating with many other tools in the software development lifecycle.
The Automation test suite should be indicated if any of the integration pieces are broken. This suite need not cover each and every small feature/functionality of the solution but it should cover the working of the product as a whole. Whenever we have an alpha or a beta or any other intermediate releases, then such scripts come in handy and give some level of confidence to the customer.
We've emphasized the importance of getting everyone involved in automation. Here's how it works in my department. An integral part of each development team, the DevTester writes and executes manual test cases for the team's user stories. The tests are written using a methodology (see connect manual tests with automation using a clear methodology) that clarifies how to automate them later on. Once a feature is stable, the DevTester writes the actual automation tests. Then, there's the Developer. In addition to developing the application, the developer works with the DevTester to review both the test's design and the testing code itself. The developer's involvement in the automated tests increases his or her engagement in the automation efforts, which also means the DevTester can help with test maintenance should the need arise. The QA architect is an experienced QA professional who is instrumental in deciding which feature tests should be automated. This is the person with the higher-level view of the overall testing effort who can understand which test cases will yield the best ROI if automated. With a broader view of the application, the architect is also responsible for cross-feature and cross-team QA activities to make sure that end-to-end testing can also be automated.
Authors Dorothy Graham and Mark Fewster wrote the field's seminal text, Software Test Automation, which has guided many organizations toward success. Now, in Experiences of Test Automation, they reveal test automation at work in a wide spectrum of organizations and projects, from complex government systems to medical devices, SAP business process development to Android mobile apps and cloud migrations.
Installing thousands of bots has taken a lot longer and is more complex and costly than most organizations have hoped it would be, Edlich and Sohoni say. The platforms on which bots interact often change, and the necessary flexibility isn’t always configured into the bot. Moreover, a new regulation requiring minor changes to an application form could throw off months of work in the back office on a bot that’s nearing completion.
Stepping forward means bringing about machines’ next level of encroachment, but it involves work that is itself highly augmented by software. A glance at Hamann’s LinkedIn page is sufficient to make the point: He’s been “endorsed” by contacts for his expert use of simulations, algorithms, machine learning, mathematical modeling, and more. But spotting the right next opportunity for automation requires much more than technical chops. If this is your strategy, you’ll reach the top of your field if you can also think outside the box, perceive where today’s computers fall short, and envision tools that don’t yet exist. Someday, perhaps, even a lot of software development will be automated; but as Bill Gates recently observed, programming is “safe for now.”
Could Joyal’s encyclopedic knowledge be encoded in software? Probably. But no one would make enough doing so to put a Rolls in the driveway. It’s just too small a category. The same is true of Claire Bustarret’s work. Johns Hopkins Magazine reports that Bustarret “has made a career out of knowing paper like other French people know wine.” Her ability to determine from a sheet’s texture, feel, and fibers when and where the paper was made is extremely valuable to historians and art authenticators. Maybe what she knows could be put in a database, and her analytical techniques could be automated. But in the meantime, she would have learned more.
One other smart home platform you might have heard something about is IFTTT. An acronym for "If This, Then That," IFTTT is a free service that lets you craft automation recipes that link smart gadgets, web services, and online tools. Select a cause ("if this") and an effect ("then that"), and the recipe will run automatically. A social networking recipe might automatically save your Instagram photos to a Dropbox folder, for instance. Once you start adding smart home gadgets into the mix things get even more interesting -- and more and more are joining IFTTT's ranks all the time.
BPA supports your knowledge workers and helps minimize operational costs, freeing up personnel to perform higher-level tasks. Clients are happier because you can assist them immediately and cut down on human error. In organizations where relationships are king, BPA can significantly enhance human interaction and decision-making, as well as create real-time transparency.