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13 November 2019

Is Automation a Threat?

With the wonders of the digital age, it seems like we are heading toward the sci-fi utopia in movies where robots can do everything. So what will humans do then? If your job can be replaced by a robot, then wouldn’t that make automation or RPA a threat? That depends, please read on.

Indeed, according to a research by McKinsey, 49% of the jobs out there can be automated. This would translate to a value of USD 15.8 trillion in wages and would affect the lives of 1.1 billion people worldwide. But “can be automated” is actually still a very broad term; most of the time it means some of the occupation can be assisted with automation, although a small portion does mean complete replacement.

For a clearer picture, the study stated that about 60% of occupations have at least 30% of their activities that are automatable. Meanwhile, only less than 5% of occupations consist of activities that are 100% automatable; those are purely administrational matters without any decision making or human considerations, such as pure data input. Jobs that require creativity, decision making, and other human considerations are hard to automate.

Most other jobs would actually benefit from RPA. As robotic algorithms can help do the repetitive work faster, the employees would have more time for conceptual tasks. And of course, no more overtime only for menial tasks like scanning papers. RPA may actually be a stepping stone so more employees can prepare themselves for higher positions, such as in the management. It’s not a threat, it’s an opportunity!