The Search for the Future of Work with RPA

The Search for the Future of Work with RPA
March 19, 2019 | By Bryant Bell

Is it a rise of Artificial Intelligence or Human Intelligence?

Have you ever just typed in a couple of keywords in Google out of curiosity to see what the results would be?  Random combinations that simply feed your curiosity. Well, when I was doing some research for this blog, I typed in “Future and Intelligence.” My premise was to find out what people smarter than I thought about what the future holds for our intelligence: human intelligence. My interest was driven by information that I read from the World Economic Forum and whitepapers from Accenture and others who prognosticate on how automation will affect our future workforce.
The top 10 results from my “Future and Intelligence” search focused on Artificial Intelligence (AI). Hmm, is the future of intelligence artificial? I clicked on the link from BBC, mainly because I trust them more than some company called alphr. The BBC site was actually really cool.  Did you know the BBC thinks that Artificial Intelligence is the key to world peace? It is a great theory: “Predicting where and when conflicts will escalate into war or where food shortages might lead to famine could help peacekeepers and aid agencies intervene before they turn into humanitarian disasters.” 

Of course, that would be awesome. But what I was really trying to find out was, as the World Economic Forum predicts, will human intelligence move more toward strategy, creativity, ideation, intuition, context, initiative, and digital savvy? Or will we be so reliant on machines and artificial intelligence that we end up more like the populations depicted in the movies WALL-E or Idiocracy--all dumbed down and unable to make a decision? In my opinion, the use of automation combined with AI will provide great opportunities, while changing how we need to think and apply our human intelligence. 

The future of jobs survey by the World Economic Forum asked hundreds of organizations around the globe what skills would be in demand in 2022. The results, in my opinion, point to where human intelligence will grow. The top 5 demands were: analytical thinking and innovation; active learning and learning strategies; creativity, originality, and initiative; technology design and programming; and critical thinking and analysis. Besides being my opinion, it’s also my hope that we develop as a society where we are more innovative, creative, original and analytical.

But the question is, how do we get there? How do we harness automation and AI to free our human talent from the mundane, brain-numbing activities that we must endure?

Have you ever been to the DMV in California (ugh)? Filled out an expense report after a two-week business trip (OMG)? In these processes, and numerous more, we can enable AI with automation like RPA (Robotic Process Automation) to free us from the checkbox, paper shuffling, approve here, route there, copy/paste activities that deprive us of exercising our minds to be more creative, more personal, more innovative. 

Yes, many like to point out that automation is disrupting the traditional workforce. That jobs will be lost. The fact is that automation and AI are creating more jobs than are being lost. A good example, though from three decades ago, is the fear that ATMs would eliminate teller jobs; obviously, this was false. It actually created an uptick in hiring at banks. The future is exciting, and we are at a new cusp where new jobs will be created that we can’t even conceive of now. In 1983, did you think there would be people with jobs and titles like webmaster, data scientist, podcast producer, cloud architect or digital maven? 

This is also why I like my job working with RPA and AI; I see where the combination of these technologies and their applications enrich our lives. The product I help position in the market is Kofax RPA. Our current release, I believe, is groundbreaking: we have combined RPA with AI. And it’s not a loose integration of third-party products that wouldn’t be scalable for enterprises that want to progress quickly. All RPA and AI technology is all Kofax.  We have increased the power of RPA with Machine Learning, Cognitive Technologies, Natural Language Processing, Advanced Analytics, and more.  This enables companies to not only automate processes reliant on structured data, but also the ability to include the 60% of all corporate information that exists in unstructured data such as documents, emails, records, presentations, etc.

Besides freeing human talent, a few of the benefits are:

  • Increased productivity of document and data handling by processing more documents and electronic data faster
  • Improved data quality and reduced errors and exceptions in document-based and data-intensive business processes
  • Ensured compliance and an enhanced level of customer engagement

These and the other benefits allow us, the humans, to accomplish more with a digital workforce and free us to develop our creative, innovative, analytical selves. It is creating an environment where our human talent can be focused on non-routine tasks that require social intelligence, complex critical thinking and creative problem solving. Just remember, a computer will never ask an original question.

Learn more about the latest Kofax RPA.

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