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.


In 1932, Bertrand Russell wrote that “a great deal of harm is being done in the modern world by the belief in the virtuousness of work, and that the road to happiness and prosperity lies in an organized diminution of work.” In 2018, that might mean self-automators’ reclaiming parts of their workday; tomorrow it could mean working to secure automated gains for the masses. “I worry quite a bit that there really isn’t enough work to go around for everyone to work full-time,” Todd Hilehoffer says. Gary, the early-’90s self-automator, asked me, “Why is earning money for stockholders more important than employee quality of life? The system shouldn’t be more important than the individuals who helped make that system relevant.”

In 1932, Bertrand Russell wrote that “a great deal of harm is being done in the modern world by the belief in the virtuousness of work, and that the road to happiness and prosperity lies in an organized diminution of work.” In 2018, that might mean self-automators’ reclaiming parts of their workday; tomorrow it could mean working to secure automated gains for the masses. “I worry quite a bit that there really isn’t enough work to go around for everyone to work full-time,” Todd Hilehoffer says. Gary, the early-’90s self-automator, asked me, “Why is earning money for stockholders more important than employee quality of life? The system shouldn’t be more important than the individuals who helped make that system relevant.”
Robotic process automation (RPA)—typically used to automate structured, back office digital process tasks—turns out to be the opening gambit in many organizations’ digital transformation strategies. It also appears to be a precursor to artificial intelligence (AI).  In a recent research project on priorities in process and performance management,  APQC, a business research institute, found that RPA was a nucleus of 69 percent of digital strategies. In another survey on investments in process automation, anticipated RPA projects were right behind analytics and data management, and almost twice as likely as near-term investments in AI or intelligent automation.  (See Figure 1) Only 12 percent of those APQC surveyed had no plans to invest in any of these technologies in 2018.

Brady Keller, Digital Marketing Strategist at Atlantic.Net, says, “My favorite type of automation is marketing automation, which was created to help businesses scale relevant, worthwhile digital engagement for a large population of potential customers. No one has the bandwidth to send highly targeted emails to thousands of people at a time. Use the tools you’ve invested in to help you configure that process in the most efficient way possible. Based on the platform you select, you will have a variety of customizable tools and workflows that will work around your specific instructions. You can implement strategies, like autoresponders, transactional emails, algorithmic personalization, and much more.
What if we were to reframe the situation? What if, rather than asking the traditional question—What tasks currently performed by humans will soon be done more cheaply and rapidly by machines?—we ask a new one: What new feats might people achieve if they had better thinking machines to assist them? Instead of seeing work as a zero-sum game with machines taking an ever greater share, we might see growing possibilities for employment. We could reframe the threat of automation as an opportunity for augmentation.
A report cited in the book found that software developers in the 1990s routinely missed ship dates and deadlines. The pressure to reduce costs and keep up with the demands of a rapidly changing market is now dependent on faster software development. With growth and competition in commercial software development came new technology that changed software forever. The new graphical user interface (GUI), networked personal computers, and the client-server architecture demanded new development and testing tools.
The first function, sense, is arguably the most important, which is why you'll see so many smart home gadgets with built-in sensors for things like motion and temperature, as well as gadgets dedicated exclusively to monitoring them. These devices are the nervous system of the smart home -- they're able to sense the environment around them in some way, providing vital context for the decisions your automated home is going to make.
“Supporting the Nation's manufacturers, especially small businesses, is critical to keeping America innovative in a global marketplace…MEP, NIST, and its partners are directed to consider the importance automation plays in accelerating and integrating manufacturing processes. The topic of automation cuts across all levels of industry, rather than serving as a stand-alone technology, and particularly affects the fields of control systems cyber security, industrial wireless sensors, systems interoperability, and other basic automation technologies necessary for the success of industrial enterprises. NIST is encouraged to consult and collaborate with independent experts in the field of automation to support the agency's efforts in working with industry to increase innovation, trade, security, and jobs."
If stepping aside is your strategy, you need to focus on your uncodifiable strengths, first discovering them and then diligently working to heighten them. In the process you should identify other masters of the tacit trade you’re pursuing and find ways to work with them, whether as collaborator or apprentice. You may have to develop a greater respect for the intelligences you have beyond IQ, which decades of schooling might well have devalued. These, too, can be deliberately honed—they are no more or less God-given than your capacity for calculus.
Once you've got the hang of automating something like a lamp, you can try automating other things, too. Coffee makers, desk fans and space heaters all work well with WeMo. You can even plug a power strip into a WeMo Switch, then automate several devices all at once -- a handy way of shutting down TVs, game consoles, and other electronics that can leech power even in the off position.
What is more important is that testing is not only about finding bugs. As the Testing Manifesto from Growing Agile summarises very illustratively and to the point, testing is about getting to understand the product and the problem(s) it tries to solve and finding areas where the product or the underlying process can be improved. It is about preventing bugs, rather than finding bugs and building the best system by iteratively questioning each and every aspect and underlying assumption, rather than breaking the system. A good tester is a highly skilled professional, constantly communicating with customers, stakeholders and developers. So talking about automated testing is abstruse to the point of being comical.
Experience the magic of a truly smart home. In Control4 Certified Showrooms around the globe, our professionals demonstrate incredible smart home solutions like Intercom Anywhere, whole-home voice control, smart lighting, intelligent security, and more. You’ll even discover how you can further personalize your home using the new Control4 When >> Then feature.
Some folks don't want to code in an integrated development environment using the same language as the developers. After all, if your developers don’t contribute to your automation efforts, why force yourself to use their tech stack if its not the best option for you? Sometimes you just want a quick and dirty API test without all the overhead or a tool to help with exploratory testing of your API. Postman is perfect in this scenario.
What if, the authors ask, we were to reframe the situation? What if we were to uncover new feats that people might achieve if they had better thinking machines to assist them? We could reframe the threat of automation as an opportunity for augmentation. They have been examining cases in which knowledge workers collaborate with machines to do things that neither could do well on their own—and they’ve found that smart people will be able to take five approaches to making their peace with smart machines.
Kim Kadiyala, Marketing Specialist at Zapier, says: “We're in an exciting time where business process automation is accessible to everyone — even if you're not technically savvy or a programmer. Tools that connect your apps put the power of automation into the hands of marketers, founders, real estate agents, and lawyers. Anyone who is moving bits of information from one place to another can set up an automation and start saving some time. I like to say that there are some tasks that are better suited for computers and some tasks best done by humans. Automating the tedious parts of your work frees you up to spend more time on the more creative aspects of your job, like big-picture thinking and strategic problem solving.
Kim Kadiyala, Marketing Specialist at Zapier, says: “We're in an exciting time where business process automation is accessible to everyone — even if you're not technically savvy or a programmer. Tools that connect your apps put the power of automation into the hands of marketers, founders, real estate agents, and lawyers. Anyone who is moving bits of information from one place to another can set up an automation and start saving some time. I like to say that there are some tasks that are better suited for computers and some tasks best done by humans. Automating the tedious parts of your work frees you up to spend more time on the more creative aspects of your job, like big-picture thinking and strategic problem solving.
“For someone just getting started on this diet, it is a good idea to meet with a Registered Dietitian to determine the macronutrient breakdown that you are currently consuming and discuss your goals,” says Lisa Cohn, RD, nutrition expert for miVIP Surgery Centers. “Your dietitian can then help determine the best breakdown for you and guide you on how to make this lifestyle transition.”
RPA provides organizations with the ability to reduce staffing costs and human error. David Schatsky, a managing director at Deloitte LP, points to a bank’s experience with implementing RPA, in which the bank redesigned its claims process by deploying 85 bots to run 13 processes, handling 1.5 million requests per year. The bank added capacity equivalent to more than 200 full-time employees at approximately 30 percent of the cost of recruiting more staff, Schatsky says.
It is often argued that technological progress always leads to massive shifts in employment but that at the end of the day the economy grows as new jobs are created. However, that’s a far too facile way of looking at the impact of AI and automation on jobs today. Joel Mokyr, a leading economic historian at Northwestern University, has spent his career studying how people and societies have experienced the radical transitions spurred by advances in technology, such as the Industrial Revolution that began in the late 18th century. The current disruptions are faster and “more intensive,” Mokyr says. “It is nothing like what we have seen in the past, and the issue is whether the system can adapt as it did in the past.”
The Pittsburgh morgue sits in a squat cement building on a street with little light, sandwiched between a bar and a highway. The door was locked and the lobby quiet on Sunday evening; few people were out in the chilly, intermittent rain. A sign on the door instructed visitors to use a nearby phone to reach the security desk. Throughout the night, someone new would be arriving each hour. They were the shomrim, or guards.
RPA is often propped up as a mechanism to bolster return on investment or reduce costs. But Kris Fitzgerald, CTO of NTT Data Services, says more CIOs should use it to improve customer experience. For example, enterprises such as airlines employ thousands of customer service agents, yet customers are still waiting in the queue to have their call fielded. A chatbot, could help alleviate some of that wait. “You put that virtual agent in there and there is no downtime, no out sick and no bad attitude,” Fitzgerald says. “The client experience is the flag to hit.”
Automation is already contributing significantly to unemployment, particularly in nations where the government does not proactively seek to diminish its impact. In the United States, 47% of all current jobs have the potential to be fully automated by 2033, according to the research of experts Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne. Furthermore, wages and educational attainment appear to be strongly negatively correlated with an occupation’s risk of being automated.[48] Prospects are particularly bleak for occupations that do not presently require a university degree, such as truck driving.[49] Even in high-tech corridors like Silicon Valley, concern is spreading about a future in which a sizable percentage of adults have little chance of sustaining gainful employment.[50] As the example of Sweden suggests, however, the transition to a more automated future need not inspire panic, if there is sufficient political will to promote the retraining of workers whose positions are being rendered obsolete.
The technology of automation has evolved from the related field of mechanization, which had its beginnings in the Industrial Revolution. Mechanization refers to the replacement of human (or animal) power with mechanical power of some form. The driving force behind mechanization has been humankind’s propensity to create tools and mechanical devices. Some of the important historical developments in mechanization and automation leading to modern automated systems are described here.
Using macro counting to maintain a healthy weight is a good idea—this diet plan will keep you on track, choosing healthy, well-balanced meals, and keep you from feeling starved or having low energy. The great thing about maintenance is you don’t need to stress yourself out with exact measurements (of you don’t want to) or feel guilt if you have a meal that doesn’t completely meet your macros. You can make up for it with your next meal or the next day’s meals.
As mentioned already, it will be my self and Mark making this happen. We have independently developed similar thinking with regard to automation, but more importantly, the same with testing. We’ve been working together for a number of years so this is a great progression for us. We both have strong reputations in this space and I believe our views are respected by the community.
Mokyr describes himself as “less pessimistic” than others about whether AI will create plenty of jobs and opportunities to make up for the ones that are lost. And even if it does not, the alternative—technological stagnation—is far worse. But that still leaves a troubling quandary: how to help the workers left behind. “There is no question that in the modern capitalist system your occupation is your identity,” he says. And the pain and humiliation felt by those whose jobs have been replaced by automation is “clearly a major issue,” he adds. “I don’t see an easy way of solving it. It’s an inevitable consequence of technological progress.”

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.
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