Automation

Automation and AI during the Pandemic The Fourth Industrial Revolution COVID-19 helped to accelerate the adoption of automation and AI, not just for luxury but more as a need to continue working without closing the production lines

Automation and AI during the Pandemic The Fourth Industrial Revolution


automation during the pandemic

Photo courtesy www.xflower.software.com


Talking about automation and artificial intelligence was a trend even before COVID-19. Long before this global situation happened, there was already talk about the future of work being in automating processes. We always saw that issue as something that would happen gradually and over several years. Who would tell us that a virus would accelerate this process.

COVID-19 helped to accelerate the adoption of automation and AI, not just for luxury but more as a need to continue working without closing the production lines. Automation allows both workers and companies to increase productivity through the use of technology and has become one way to reduce transmission, protect employees and customers from a highly contagious disease and to keep operating costs low.


automation during the pandemic

Photo courtesy www.kearney.com


The pandemic pushed companies and consumers to rapidly adopt new behaviors that are likely to stick. During last year, automation allowed millions of workers and students to work and learn from home to mitigate the spread of the pandemic.

Businesses have controlled unpredicted costs during the pandemic by adopting automation and redesigning work processes, which reduce the share of jobs involving mainly routine tasks.

Machines have made jobs obsolete for centuries. The spinning jenny replaced weavers, buttons displaced elevator operators, and the Internet drove travel agencies out of business. The pandemic has caused millions of lost jobs, and a quick adjustment to working from home for those who kept their jobs as offices closed.

The actual trends, given how fast the pandemic shut down certain industries, are that many companies are considering seriously automating part of their process line, both manufacturing and administrative replacing employees with automation, to avoid taking risks in the face of another possible pandemic.


automation during the pandemic

Photo courtesy www.bernardmarr.co



automation during the pandemic

Photo courtesy www.kearney.com


Pandemic Trends, which are likely to continue even when this ends

From sending employees home to limiting in-person interactions, COVID-19 has completely changed the way we live, work, and interact with each other.

Maybe the most obvious impact of the actual pandemic on the labor force is the increase in employees working remotely.

Working from home might become much more widespread and accepted, now that it has been tested on a large scale. Remote work and virtual meetings are likely to continue, even after the pandemic, although not as much as when it started.


automation during the pandemic

Photo courtesy www.atriainnovation.com


Companies are shifting to flexible workspaces after the experiences with remote work during the pandemic, this move will reduce costs incurred in running a large office with many employees.

E-commerce and other virtual transactions are booming. Thanks to the current situation many consumers discovered the convenience of e-commerce and other online activities that they can perform from the comfort of their home and within reach from any mobile device.

The pandemic has changed the way we work and interact with machines. From being a tool that helps in some processes, to becoming an essential instrument to carry out work even without being in front of it. The surge in remote working has magnified the need for unmanned work operations.


automation during the pandemic

Photo courtesy www mckinsey.com


Many companies deployed automation and AI in warehouses, grocery stores, call centers, and manufacturing plants to reduce workplace density and cope with surges in demand. However, not everyone benefits from the effects of automation, specially those whose jobs are eliminated as a result of automation.

A study by the McKinsey Global Institute (Manyika et al. 2017) estimated that accelerated automation could raise productivity growth significantly and replace half of today’s work activities by 2055.

While COVID-19 pandemic came to reinforce the trend that has been happening for many years, automation will continue to have vastly different effects depending on the sector we are we are analyzing.

Should this situation be considered the fourth industrial revolution?

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