Automation began with a motto to make things simpler and faster, but the scope has been evolving over centuries, and there seems to be much more potential to it. Something which was just an imagination years ago is now a reality. It is difficult to predict what shape it will take after a few years, but we can certainly say it will continue diverting human energy towards more critical activities.
Automation is a very vast topic. It can refer to anything that reduces human intervention in a process. It can be as simple as a clock to a self-driven car. There were several attempts at adopting automation, however, one of the most critical phases was the industrial revolution in Europe around the late 15th century. Since then, there has been a gradual improvement year on year in the field of automation.
Though the significant impact of automation was first seen in the manufacturing sector, we cannot deny its impact on other industries. May it be the advancement in agriculture or healthcare, it has made the human race take a huge leap with every single innovation over these centuries.
But what does it have for the coming years? Have we reached a threshold? Certainly not. It is a continuous process. There is constant research and a set of human forces dedicated to serving this purpose. According to a report by PWC, three waves of automation can be foreseen. The first wave being the algorithm wave. It would focus on the analysis of structured data like financial analysis and do simple computations. This wave is underway and quite broadly accepted.
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The next would be the augmentation wave. It would deal with robots in semi-controlled environments and focus on eliminating the need for humans to do repetitive clerical tasks.
The last foreseen wave has been named the autonomy wave, wherein AI and robots are to undertake a wide range of tasks. This wave would go back and impact the manufacturing and construction industries, from where it all started. With its AI-driven platform named ELIXA, HABER is trying to bring around the third wave of Autonomy for industries such as pulp and paper and food and beverages. The platform collects data, provides insights, and takes corrective steps in real-time. It enables manufacturers to improve efficiency and product quality, as the decisions are no longer based on old estimates.
Each wave would have varied impacts on different industries, occupations, and countries. But what can be seen through clearly is the way the roles of humans are to change. The intervention would reduce but the importance of their contribution would increase by manifolds. The concept of paradox of automation says that the higher the efficiency of the innovation, the higher has been efforts by the human resources to build such a system.
Thus, automation would have several surprises for the coming years but would stick to its basic motto of reducing human efforts and diverting them towards much more critical activities.