In most fields, workers rarely have any formal input into whether their job is automated, or how and when automation could be implemented. Self-automators offer a glimpse of what it looks like when automation is orchestrated not by top-down corporate fiat, but by the same workers who stand to reap its benefits. Some embrace the extra leisure time, while others use the spare hours to learn new skills and tackle new programmatic challenges.
From its founding in Birmingham, Alabama in 1990, Automation Personnel Services has expanded across the United States with district offices that operate in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Louisiana, and Texas. Automation Personnel Services has the resources and expertise to provide cutting-edge, cost-effective workforce solutions to companies and industries of all sizes including, manufacturing, electronics, distribution, engineering, and wholesale sales.
The U.S. government, among many others, recognizes the unsung value of automation professionals. Support for the importance of automation to industry comes from the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations. On 30 June 2009, the committee submitted report language (including the excerpt shown below) to accompany the bill: H. R. 2847 (Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010) emphasizing the importance of automation to industry:
Bots are typically low-cost and easy to implement, requiring no custom software or deep systems integration. Schatsky says such characteristics are crucial as organizations pursue growth without adding significant expenditures or friction among workers. "Companies are trying to get some breathing room so they can serve their business better by automating the low-value tasks," Schatsky says.
API testing is also being widely used by software testers due to the difficulty of creating and maintaining GUI-based automation testing. It involves directly testing APIs as part of integration testing, to determine if they meet expectations for functionality, reliability, performance, and security. Since APIs lack a GUI, API testing is performed at the message layer. API testing is considered critical when an API serves as the primary interface to application logic since GUI tests can be difficult to maintain with the short release cycles and frequent changes commonly used with agile software development and DevOps.
How to Manage Summer Staffing Shortages - It can be difficult to find reliable workers during the summer months as it’s a time filled with vacations and outings. If you’re having trouble keeping up with staffing demands during this time, consider the following tips and tricks to fill the seasonal gaps. Cross-Train Your Current Employees You might be able to look inward... Read more »
Based on a formula by Gilles Saint-Paul, an economist at Toulouse 1 University, the demand for unskilled human capital declines at a slower rate than the demand for skilled human capital increases. In the long run and for society as a whole it has led to cheaper products, lower average work hours, and new industries forming (i.e., robotics industries, computer industries, design industries). These new industries provide many high salary skill based jobs to the economy. By 2030, between 3 and 14 percent of the global workforce will be forced to switch job categories due to automation eliminating jobs in an entire sector. While the number of jobs lost to automation are often offset by jobs gained from technological advances, the same type of job lost is not the same one replaced and that leading to increasing unemployment in the lower-middle class. This occurs largely in the US and developed countries where technological advances contribute to higher demand for high skilled labor but demand for middle wage labor continues to fall. Economists call this trend “income polarization” where unskilled labor wages are driven down and skilled labor is driven up and it is predicted to continue in developed economies.
Summary: Provides a large network of freelancers for any number of testing requirements. Upwork is not a testing-specific community, but it does boast a large network of technology freelancers. With Upwork, companies post a job description, freelancers apply and companies can select a freelancer based on factors like skills, project proposal and pricing.
With the advent of the space age in 1957, controls design, particularly in the United States, turned away from the frequency-domain techniques of classical control theory and backed into the differential equation techniques of the late 19th century, which were couched in the time domain. During the 1940s and 1950s, German mathematician Irmgard Flugge-Lotz developed the theory of discontinuous automatic control, which became widely used in hysteresis control systems such as navigation systems, fire-control systems, and electronics. Through Flugge-Lotz and others, the modern era saw time-domain design for nonlinear systems (1961), navigation (1960), optimal control and estimation theory (1962), nonlinear control theory (1969), digital control and filtering theory (1974), and the personal computer (1983).
Self-automators show that coders are in a unique position to negotiate with employers over which automation-derived gains—like shorter workweeks and greater flexibility to pursue work that interests them—should be kept by workers. There’s little evidence of any interest in doing so, but theoretically, self-automators could organize, and distribute automation techniques among middle- and working-class coders, giving rising to an industry that could actually enjoy that 15-hour workweek. It seems a rare opportunity—perhaps, with the advance of AI, one of the last—to try to set the terms for a mode of automation that puts people first.
Another programmer went to great lengths to conceal the contours of his fully automated $50,000 per year job from his boss. Management could check in on his computer screen via the network, so he ran a loop of prerecorded video to hide the fact that he wasn’t actually working. In his advice-seeking post, Etherable wrote, “It doesn’t feel like I’m doing the right thing.”
Recommended by many nutritionists, Lose It! is an easy way to track edibles and also connect with food-conscious friends. Plus, Apple users are in luck — you can quickly build your Lose It profile by syncing with the HealthKit available on iOS 8. Within the Lose It! app, review your macronutrient breakdown by tapping the “Nutrients” tab. And thanks to a brightly colored circle in the middle of the home screen, calorie counters can gauge how much they should eat for the rest of the day. Want to know how you’ve fared all week long? Green and red bars indicate which days you hit the mark or overindulged. Bonus: The app now suggests healthy restaurants nearby. (Free; iOS, Android)
As demands for safety and mobility have grown and technological possibilities have multiplied, interest in automation has grown. Seeking to accelerate the development and introduction of fully automated vehicles and highways, the United States Congress authorized more than $650 million over six years for intelligent transport systems (ITS) and demonstration projects in the 1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA). Congress legislated in ISTEA that "the Secretary of Transportation shall develop an automated highway and vehicle prototype from which future fully automated intelligent vehicle-highway systems can be developed. Such development shall include research in human factors to ensure the success of the man-machine relationship. The goal of this program is to have the first fully automated highway roadway or an automated test track in operation by 1997. This system shall accommodate installation of equipment in new and existing motor vehicles." [ISTEA 1991, part B, Section 6054(b)].
Considering all of its shortcomings, we are lucky that testing existing functionality isn’t really testing. As we said before, real testing is questioning each and every aspect and underlying assumption of the product. Existing functionality has already endured that sort of testing. Although it might be necessary to re-evaluate assumptions that were considered valid at the time of testing, this is typically not necessary before every release and certainly not continuously. Testing existing functionality is not really testing. It is called regression testing, and although it sounds the same, regression testing is to testing like pet is to carpet—not at all related. The goal of regression testing is merely to recheck that existing functionality still works as it did at the time of the actual testing. So regression testing is about controlling the changes of the behaviour of the software. In that regard it has more to do with version control than with testing. In fact, one could say that regression testing is the missing link between controlling changes of the static properties of the software (configuration and code) and controlling changes of the dynamic properties of the software (the look and behaviour). Automated tests simply pin those dynamic properties down and transform them to a static artefact (e.g. a test script), which again can be governed by current version control systems.
According to Aaron Norris, Vice President of The Norris Group, “Automation is dead, at least as it pertains to complete automation. I’m going old school these days looking at each of my funnels and automating low-value and augmenting high-value prospects. I’m constantly trying to figure out where to spend my time to customize and create personal touches that delight potential clients. I’m not asking how to automate more. I’m asking how to drive people down the funnel faster by doing things other people won’t take the time to do. Mail and phone? Yes, please. 2017 is all about giving good phone.”
The Smart Lock Pro + Connect is the latest offering from August Home, and as with the original August Smart Lock and HomeKit Enabled models, it's a winner. This third-generation smart lock offers all the bells and whistles you get with the HomeKit model, and adds a few new features, including August's DoorSense technology, Z-Wave compatibility, and Wi-Fi connectivity. It's easy to install and can be controlled remotely or with Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri voice commands, and it retains the sleek aesthetics of its siblings. It's pricey, but it's the best smart lock we've tested.
With automated testing, that time is cut drastically. The work for automated testers is instead spent coding the tests and making improvements to these tests repeatedly as adjustments are needed. Once the test is complete, however, automated testing allows for the recycled use of tests so that they do not have to go through this whole process again. In essence, the time spent on the mundane tasks and repetition a manual tester would go through is instead spent focusing on larger, more important issues involving the software you’re developing.
BPA can be applied in different departments within an organization, such as operations, IT, sales, marketing, business development, human resources, legal, financial and administration departments. All old paper processes that use to entail extra time to deliver a message or a file inbetween teams can now be simplified and streamlined. Imagine processes that steps are executed automatically or with much less human intervention: that’s BPA!
Unified Functional Testing (UFT) is a well-known commercial testing tool for functional testing. It provides a comprehensive feature set for API, web services, and GUI testing of desktop, web, and mobile applications across platforms. The tool has advanced image-based object recognition feature, reusable test components, and automated documentation.
Just Enough Test Automation shows test developers and users how to design, implement, and manage software test automation. Learn from authors Dan Mosley and Bruce Posey how to implement a powerful data-driven testing framework; automate unit testing, integrate testing and system/regression testing; and facilitate manual testing with automated tools.
Or, you can even automate 90% of your customer support, if you do some research. You can combine a list of frequently asked questions about the software & identify several keywords that are mentioned. Then, create separate messages you could send to the users whenever they complain about the keyword, and voila! There goes most of your customer support work.
Shop around, and you'll find gadgets designed to help you sleep better, devices that promise to smarten up your home entertainment system and even connected tools for more intelligent gardening. We've even reviewed a smart home piggy bank. Sure, some of these devices come with an extra-high novelty factor, but if they're automating something you care about, then they might merit consideration all the same.
An HR service provider from Europe was processing 2,500 sick leave certificates per month with an average handling time of four minutes per item. Within three weeks they implemented an RPA solution and achieved 90% process automation. The RPA robot extracts data from a transaction in SAP, inserts the information into the customer’s systems, and prints it. The HR service provider achieved a return-on-investment within six months, with error rates reduced to 0%, manual effort reduced to 5%, and processing time reduced by 80%.
One Premium feature that I appreciated is the ability to change your goals on exercise days. That goes well with the Bulletproof lifestyle because it’s a cyclical ketogenic diet, where I’ll increase carbs when I do my intense HIIT or hard lifting days. Personally, I don’t want to have to look past angry red numbers on those days. I like to know that I’m succeeding at my goals on those days, too, and you can set it up this way with My Fitness Pal Premium.
Todd Hilehoffer was compiling reports for a Pennsylvania insurance company in 2000 when he realized his work could be done by a computer program. “I was very green at the time, with only a year of IT experience,” he told me in a direct message, when he started writing code that could replace his job. “It took me about a year to automate it. I always thought my bosses would be impressed and would find more work for me.” They were impressed, but they also didn’t have another job for him. He passed his days playing chess online. “I was really only completely idle for about 6-9 months,” Hilehoffer writes, after which he received a promotion.
Test reporting tools centralize and standardize the reporting around testing activity from independent tools, bridging the Agile/Waterfall, cross-platform and manual vs. automated testing metrics divides. With the right test reporting tools teams can ditch spreadsheet and start gaining real-time insight into the progress, health and quality of software testing. Checkout the top test reporting tools to consider below:
Did you know that being fit improves your IQ? According to healthguidance.org, being fit improves your IQ, though the mechanisms are unknown, this has to do with the cardiovascular and the increased oxygen getting to your brain, as well as using more of your brain for your movement and coordination (the motor cortex) and the increase of certain hormones released in your brain including dopamine and neurotransmitters. In tests, it was found that the concentration and memory of those who did regular exercise was improved. There are a lot of benefits to being fit. This includes being able to improve mood, looks, sex drive, immune system, protecting you from heart diseases, improving circulatory system, deepening your voice, and a lot more.
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).
Testing in these short Agile iterations often necessitates a “shift left” approach. This shift left in agile development process means testing starts much earlier in the application lifecycle. As a result, in such an approach, developers with strong technical expertise are increasingly being held accountable for testing, and thus, they often work alongside testers to create test automation frameworks.
One coder described keeping the fact that he’d fully automated his job from his company because he feared it would claim the IP as its own and refuse to compensate him. Another, who asked to be identified only as Jordan, told me he had once inadvertently automated an entire department into redundancy. He now saves “several weeks’” worth of time a year with automation scripts. Jordan says he and his colleagues keep a tight lid on their automation techniques, to maintain control over how they’re used: “We generally keep these tools to ourselves.”
Roberts notes, “Streamlining processes is my expertise, so I have a lot of experience here. Here's one high-level example: I worked on a technical risk management process that involved process streamlining and troubleshooting. Process upsets were two to three times more than plan. Staff satisfaction was poor. Annual business targets weren't met. After automating and streamlining that process, the process upsets were reduced to within 10 percent of plan. Staff satisfaction increased 20 percent. The business started meeting targets and saved over $3 million from efficiency gains. Talk about some serious results from automating!
Manually testing each build is an unacceptable time drain. Automated software testing allows QA to spend most of its time outside of SDLC execution time, allowing testing to run unattended 24×7! With the press of a button, regression testing can be completed without the risk of human error from executing boring, repetitive, similar test cases, ensuring that your latest build breaks nothing. Easy scalability allows increased end-to-end coverage with barely any impact to your schedule, and then the test results can be automatically sent to test management tools for analysis as you see fit.
We should be clear that automation can reduce testing time only for certain types of tests. Automating all the tests without any plan or sequence will lead to massive scripts which are heavy maintenance, fail often and need a lot of manual intervention too. Also, in constantly evolving products automation scripts may go obsolete and need some constant checks.
“While using and teaching Agile practices like test-driven development (TDD) on projects in different environments, I kept coming across the same confusion and misunderstandings. Programmers wanted to know where to start, what to test and what not to test, how much to test in one go, what to call their tests, and how to understand why a test fails. [….] My response is BDD.”
Normally, customers reach out to your company with an issue. They must explain the issue to every person they encounter, and the response time can vary widely. It is difficult to track where the problems initiate and whether the patterns could be systemic. Your customers’ ability to find a solutions usually depends on the knowledge of the team member they reach.
“It felt weird to have free time during the day,” he told me. “I spent that time learning about the other systems in the hotel.” He then made himself useful, helping management with bottlenecks in those systems. Auto-automation had erased menial toil, reduced his stress, and let him pursue his actual interests. “In effect, I made my position into something I love, which is troubleshooting,” he says. Two weeks before he left, he handed his boss a diskette loaded with the program and documentation on how it ran. His boss was upset that he was quitting, Gary says—until he handed over the diskette, showed him how the program worked, and told him to call if there was ever any problem. No call ever came.
Some will step up to even higher levels of cognition, where machines can’t follow. Some will step aside, drawing on forms of intelligence that machines lack. Some will step in, to monitor and adjust computers’ decision making. Some will step narrowly into very specialized realms of expertise. And, inevitably, some will step forward, by creating next-generation machines and finding new ways for them to augment the human strengths of workers.
When decisions are high-level, total automation may not be suitable. When environmental cues are needed to make the decisions — such as on automatic vehicles — accidents can happen. Some companies that have brought to market voice and visual-based automation have discovered that the physical world may be too difficult yet for the response needed. This could be a matter of time and constant testing, but humans may still need to make these types of environmental-response decisions.
Get to know your grocery store. Local store put out flyers advertising each week’s specials. Becoming a “store member” can sometimes get you discounts, as can clipping coupons or finding them online. Try to shop around the perimeter of the store—where you’ll find meats, produce and seafood—rather than in the aisles, where you’ll find mostly packaged and processed foods.
The idea of managing all the functions of a home with a centralized control system dates back to at least the beginning of the 20th century. The earliest working prototypes of automated houses debuted in the 1930s at World’s Fairs in Chicago and New York City, but those homes were never intended to be commercially available.  It wasn’t until the invention of the microcontroller during the 1970s that marketing a fully-wired, “smart” home automation system became economically feasible. With the growth of computer technology over the last fifteen years or so, the home automation industry has taken off.
During a recent consulting assignment, a tester told me he spent 90 percent of his time setting up test conditions. The application allowed colleges and other large organizations to configure their workflow for payment processing. One school might set up self-service kiosks, while another might have a cash window where the teller could only authorize up to a certain dollar amount. Still others might require a manager to cancel or approve a transaction over a certain dollar amount. Some schools took certain credit cards, while others accepted cash only. To reproduce any of these conditions, the tester had to log in, create a workflow manually, and establish a set of users with the right permissions before finally doing the testing. When we talked about automation approaches, our initial conversation was about tools to drive the user interface. For example, a batch script like this:
Finally, stepping forward means constructing the next generation of computing and AI tools. It’s still true that behind every great machine is a person—in fact, many people. Someone decides that the Dunkin’ Franchise Optimizer is a bad investment, or that the application of AI to cancer drug discovery is a good one. Someone has to build the next great automated insurance-underwriting solution. Someone intuits the human need for a better system; someone identifies the part of it that can be codified; someone writes the code; and someone designs the conditions under which it will be applied.
Here you might ask, Just who is augmenting whom (or what) in this situation? It’s a good moment to emphasize that in an augmentation environment, support is mutual. The human ensures that the computer is doing a good job and makes it better. This is the point being made by all those people who encourage more STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education. They envision a work world largely made up of stepping-in positions. But if this is your strategy, you’ll also need to develop your powers of observation, translation, and human connection.
“There are millions of regression tests for a Windows 10 release. For example, if you plan 10 new features, five [of those 10] are critical and a priority. These test cases will be the criteria used to release the software. You build from that progress. So on the next release, you have new features, 10 are determined critical for testing. So it keeps adding, now you have 15 regression tests being automated to keep up with the release schedules.”
Today extensive automation is practiced in practically every type of manufacturing and assembly process. Some of the larger processes include electrical power generation, oil refining, chemicals, steel mills, plastics, cement plants, fertilizer plants, pulp and paper mills, automobile and truck assembly, aircraft production, glass manufacturing, natural gas separation plants, food and beverage processing, canning and bottling and manufacture of various kinds of parts. Robots are especially useful in hazardous applications like automobile spray painting. Robots are also used to assemble electronic circuit boards. Automotive welding is done with robots and automatic welders are used in applications like pipelines.
“So I ask myself the question: What happens in a consumer-based society when the consumers are progressively displaced from the job market by AI-driven technology? And the corollary: Who is working on that end of the equation as fast as the evolution of the displacement? In other words, Where are new jobs being created at a rate that even remotely approaches the losses? What we are seeing now is that lower-paying, part-time gig economy, and service-industry jobs are replacing careers.
The test automation pyramid, first introduced by Cohn in Succeeding with Agile, shows how you should maximize automation, starting with your unit tests at the lowest level of the pyramid and moving on to service level testing. User interface testing sits at the very top. Unit tests are fast and reliable. The service layer allows for testing business logic at the API or service level, where you're not encumbered by the user interface (UI). The higher the level, the slower and more brittle testing becomes. Finally, while some UI test automation should be done, such tests are slower, more difficult to maintain, and break more easily. Keep those to a minimum.
In order to move ahead with a smart home, you’ll need to have a clear sense of what you want to achieve. In some cases, you might be fine with controlling the lights and little else. But in others, you might want to know that your robot vacuum is cleaning your floors downstairs while you’re using Alexa-enabled devices to adjust the lighting and mood upstairs.
BPA is often confused with other terms such as industrial automation, robotic process automation, smart factories, infrastructure management, and enterprise risk management. Industrial automation (IA) uses control systems such as computers to automatically run industrial processes. Primarily found in manufacturing, it replaces the human element and improves the production rate through consistently managed processes. Whereas BPA automates processes and workflows, IA strictly automates the physical human labor in processes and workflows.