As someone that has embraced technology, developed software and evangelized about its use, I think we are very close to the point where the paradigm is about to shift in a dramatic fashion. Up to this point, I would argue that, in total, technology has made humankind work more than it should. Technology by its very nature is supposed to make our lives more efficient, connected and allow us to focus on what’s most important – our relationships, hobbies and direction in life. It’s interesting that throughout the years, whether I have used, implemented, developed or supported anything related to technology, the one common theme is in order to use it some measure of “work” is required.
Think about it… Anything related to technology requires some level of work. A common retort might be: “Well, smart phones make our lives so much easier, right?” If you look at the amount of time we spend on smart phones it is astronomical. Thanks to that iPhone daily usage report, I apparently spend somewhere between 5-7 hours per day using my phone somehow. While some of that is passive, listening to Sirius XMU or music on the phone, it illustrates the time spent. As a side note, that doesn’t include the time spent on my PC, iPad or AppleTV. I don’t know if I am a light or heavy user of technology but my feeling is that I am not an outlier.
People use technology in so many ways, whether it’s plugging data into systems, emails, online-shopping, ordering tickets, social media etc. Most of these activities involve clicking, typing and, in some cases, the use of voice commands. All of these activities require some type of interaction with the technical device(s) you are interacting with.
Take that thought process a bit further and imagine a world where a lot of this interactivity would be eliminated. No more garbled texts because Siri didn’t understand that “car” in a New England accent isn’t a “cow” and so forth. Imagine not having to type anything “for real”. Imagine all the data entry you were doing into systems to plug in repetitive data that makes you go cross-eyed. Image if a new employee comes onboard and not having to login to 15+ systems to make sure all the relevant data is entered. The human race expends too much effort than it should to get technology to work for them. I am fairly certain if you accounted for every hour a human has spent developing, configuring and using technology it far outweighs the “hours saved” that companies tout. In the early 2000s, my brother told me that it actually took more energy to make a solar panel than the amount of energy it will save in its lifetime. So what’s the point?
It’s really worth taking a moment to think about this from a high level. Ask yourself “Why are we using technology and, in the end, does it really help us?” I’m a glass half-full type of person. I will always say “yes” but a truly critical thinker, like my brother, would probably lean towards “no.”
The good news is that we are about to “flip the script”. The three main reasons are AI, RPA and Machine Learning. In combination, these technologies will transform our lives in so many ways.
They will eliminate the need for repetitive data entry for back office workers, cellphone users and AppleTV watchers alike. This will all be eliminated in the near future (within 10 years). As the adoption of this technology increases, the popular narrative that robots and AI are going to overtake the human race will be replaced with a more preferable scenario. However, humans will control the robots and they will work for us instead. It will be the next step in human evolution and hopefully free up our lives enough to truly realize its meaning.
Peter S. Camp is the CTO and Founder of CampTek Software. He has been developing RPA Applications for over 15 years. For further questions, discussion or inquiry about CampTek Software Services, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.