During the summer there has been plenty of talk about Robots, particularly from the HR and outsourcing communities. Many of the features referred to a joint report from Deloitte and Oxford University. It indicated that in Britain alone 10 million jobs could be taken over by computers and robots over the next 20 years, effectively removing one in three roles.
But automation has been underway for some time. Since 2001 jobs such as clerks, sales assistants, library workers, secretaries and travel agents have reduced by 40%. Increasingly, machines have been performing the tasks only humans could do. So why is the talk about Robots so topical, and how should it affect the mindset of graduates entering the jobs market?
To understand the interest in robots just glance at the number of applications that have recently been introduced. The Washington Post described a restaurant chain that has installed 45,000 computer tablets to enable customers, to place orders, play games and pay their bills. The New York Times has recently featured a hotel that uses a robot to deliver items to guests rooms, and the Wall Street Journal has written about a hardware chain that is testing the use of robots to greet customers and direct them to the correct aisle. While The Times spoke about the rise of robot waiters in China, and apparently China has overtaken Japan as the world’s biggest consumer of robots with 37,000 being sold on the Chinese market in 2014
What’s so interesting about these examples is how robots are increasingly being trusted with front of house roles, and this illustrates how far the predictive and interactive character of robots has developed. Artificial Intelligence has certainly come on leaps and bounds since Hal in 2001 A Space Odyssey.
So how should graduates prepare for a more robotic workplace? It goes without saying they will need to be digitally savvy and possess strong organisational design skills. But above all, Gary Miles from Roffy Park believes that employees should be optimistic about their new colleagues. Not only do robots improve productivity and profitability, but also they give employees the opportunity to fulfill their potential and do more exciting, creative and satisfying work.
Be optimistic about robotic colleagues