Do you remember the wonder you felt the first time you used an ATM, drove through an automated toll booth or the first time you successfully navigated a self-check-in portal for a flight? No probably not, because these aren’t exactly awe inspiring wonders of automation. They are however, extremely useful and have changed the way we live in many ways.
Automation has been the driving force behind every one of the industrial revolutions. From the automation of weaving and manufacturing that was brought on by the Spinning jenny and steam power, to electricity which powered Henry Fords automated department and computing power which has automated away many of life’s more mundane tasks such as drawing cash or checking out at your local grocery store.
This latter automation has been a paradigm shift within business. Robotic process automation (RPA) has automated away many of the modern work tasks we, until relatively recently, have viewed as critical, but undeniably boring business functions. Think of invoice processing in finance departments, and of data entry in document management units. Many of these roles have changed or entirely disappeared in the face of RPA.
Ultimately automation as we know it has brought on new levels of abundance in our personal and professional lives and greater amounts of convenience to most of what we do every day.
However, moving forward automation that is simply convenient or that just gets rid of rote tasks is not going to cut it, in either our professional or personal lives. In an increasingly competitive world where productivity and innovation has to be higher than it’s ever been before and products need to truly wow consumers, we need to take on a different approach to automation.
Powered by artificial intelligence the automation that is going to resonate with society and business into the foreseeable future will be automation that can deliver true experiences. Automation in the very near future will seem almost magical in its ability to predict our needs and make our business and personal lives more fulfilling and productive.
Imagine waking up to a knock on your door from Amazon with all the ingredients you need for a dinner party you’re hosting that night, in the exact quantities needed, without you having ever ordered an individual item. Or imagine your medicinal script and protocol changing without you ever having gone for a check-up or even having walked into a doctors or pharmacist. At work, your calendar auto syncs to your corporate card removing the need to enter expenses and auto alerting you to what falls out of company policy before you’ve pressed enter on a purchase. This is the automation that is just around the corner and this is the automation, or automagic, that will power industry 4.0. The bottom line is that automation needs to pre-empt consumers, and workers every desire, wish and need in the very near future.