Automation: the road to innovation

Lots of people are scared that robots will take over.  Movies such as iRobot don’t help the matter. But when I think of robots taking over, I think of an episode of 30 Rock where Jack tries to get rid of Kenneth and the rest of the pages (define by wikipedia as “traditional young male servant”)  to save money and replaces them by machines. This doesn’t end so well because Kenneth’s job as a page was not mundane and required judgment. So, as long as there are tasks that are non-repetitive, require creativity and judgment, our jobs are safe.

Don’t get me wrong, some jobs will be lost

You hardly see couture anymore or only black cars because one is too expensive and the other doesn’t give us freedom of expression. Both are important now. Automation has already happened. It happened because people are changing and the jobs that could be replaced, were replaced and given to machines. But if you look back in time, jobs such as data scientists, alternative fuel scientists, app designers, or any other jobs found here ( didn’t exist.

Because humans adapt

Change takes time. In my moves, I realized that at first wherever I was didn’t feel like home, but when I stayed somewhere long enough, it becomes more so. I think that is same with adaptation. The world as we know it is not the same as when our grandparents knew it, it’s radically different and the jobs that exist reflect that. And because our needs change, innovation follows. So why place resources in a manual task that can be automated instead of hiring an engineer that can change the way a machine works, lower the amount of energy needed, or make something more efficient?

What do you think? Is automation causing the high unemployment rates or is automation something that just needs to happen?

Photo Credit: Ben Heine via Compfight cc