In a similar fashion to the events surrounding the industrial revolution, some 200 years ago, the technological revolution is gathering pace particularly in the areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
During the industrial revolution, the Luddites sought to destroy the machines as they were concerned that they would lose their jobs. Ultimately, new jobs replaced old jobs and the industrial revolution heralded two centuries of rising wages and employment growth.
The technological revolution will occur more quickly and maybe more disruptive than its predecessor. Victor Shvets, (a financial economist at Macquarie Bank) wrote the book “The Great Rupture” which foresees a shift from complacency to panic over the next 20 years as a technology that already exists becomes more common in the Information Age, putting millions out of work across the world.
Shvets also says, “Machines and AI do not need to be better than humans; they just need to be close enough, and the chances are that they will be and at a much lower cost and vastly larger scale than past human societies ever experienced,” he adds. And robots don’t get sick, or file compensation claims.
The underlying point here is that there is no point in acting like the Luddites and resisting change, rather we must embrace it and move on. Those who are not prepared will suffer accordingly.
From our perspective and particularly because many of our client’s functions lend themselves to RPA, we have not only embraced these changes but have been pro-active in setting up an Automation division partnering with specialists in this area to develop products for our current and prospective clients.
Although there is some concern about potential job losses we don’t believe this to be the case. This is a result of the speed and efficiency of the robot. For example, a human may process up to 200 accounts payable invoices per day whereas the robot will process approximately 4,000. However, as there is always an error rate of around 5% which requires human intervention the reverse becomes true.
The above example would then create 200 invoices per day to be manually processed which would still require a full-time employee. It can therefore be seen that the use of RPA allows for significant capacity increases and therefore revenue at a lower cost base while retaining and indeed requiring more staff not less.
Senior management must therefore be prepared for these changes by investigating what emerging technologies could assist their businesses and develop strategies around the implementation of any automation processes.
In summary, we can safely say that technological change will be constant, challenging, and in the long run, rewarding as it creates new opportunities and makes businesses more efficient and profitable.
Investigate, embrace, implement, and grow into the future!!