This is my continuing series on emerging technology trends and libraries. This week’s trend focuses on shifts in the job world.
Ok – my boss isn’t really a robot. But as smart machines, artificial intelligence, and big data continue to grow and mature, it’s very possible that some performance-based jobs will be measured by a machine instead of a human. Hence – a robo-boss.
I know – that sounds sorta weird! But guess what? Some people already have robot bosses! Some examples:
- Uber drivers. They interact with their mobile app, which gives them pickup requests, provides performance feedback, etc.
- Starbucks – uses a software program to schedule baristas, based on sales and other data.
- Hitachi has experimented with warehouse robot bosses (more here)
While you might not have a robot as a boss, there are a lot of jobs that are being replaced by smart machines. Some examples include:
- Writers: Business-focused content like shareholder reports (who the heck actually reads those?), legal documents, short sports articles, etc. can be automated.
- Paralegal research: Hunting for specific words or phrases in a bunch of legal documents can be automated.
- Call centers: That first-tier, “let me help direct you to the right person” part of the call is already automated.
- Drivers: Taxi drivers and truck drivers. Companies are experimenting with driverless taxis, and the trucking industry has been saying that there will be automated truck deliveries within 5-10 years.
- Warehouse workers: Amazon has already replaced some warehouse workers with their Kiva robots.
Any library examples? Besides the paralegal research example seen above (that one strikes pretty close to home), there are some examples. Not completely replacing jobs, but replacing human work with automated work:
- Automated Materials Handling (AMH) systems – they presort returned items so people don’t have to.
- Online desk scheduling systems: Not quite AI yet, but some of these systems are smart enough to automatically schedule another person to work a desk when someone calls in sick, and it certainly keeps the schedule so you don’t have to.
There are probably other examples – do you have any? Please share!
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