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Future of Design Sciences

Practice Design: Human or Machine

Autonomous Automation Technologies In Future

You mastered the art of design sciences. Designed and developed prototype of digital product services and functions for real-world business.

You can design and develop again for yet another digital product, or automate function.

Consumers want technology that helps them pay a bill, return an item, or book a hotel, among other things. They want to do it in an intuitive and conversational way, just as they would with a human. While natural language technology is advancing quickly, there will still be times when machines won’t understand humans, and that’s when there needs to be a seamless hand-off to a human agent. The holy grail for businesses is machines and humans working in harmony and making it simple for consumers to get things done.

While the recent rise of automated technology like chat bots might bring forth visions of a machine-dominated future, the reality is that machines cannot replace humans entirely. The future of customer service is one in which human and machines work together to deliver the right customer treatment, at the right time and through the right channel. Businesses need to use the data they have about their customers and continually analyze their intents to determine, in real-time, what will be most effective: self-service through automation, or assisted service from a human agent.

Relationships With Technology

As our relationship with technology and AI continues to intensify, we’ll be seeing employers putting greater emphasis on A+ “human skills,” rather than simple technical skills. Indeed, as machines continue to overtake the mundane and menial tasks, it gives room for deeper cognitive traits like compassion, empathy and complex problem-solving within the human brain to partner alongside machines to create new jobs, new experiences and solve problems that have to this day been unsolvable.

Even when machines do take over some human activities in an occupation, this does not necessarily spell the end of the jobs in that line of work. On the contrary, their number at times increases in occupations that have been partly automated, because overall demand for their remaining activities has continued to grow. 

Moreover, just because an activity can be automated doesn’t mean that it will be – broader economic factors are at play. The jobs of yoga teacher, accountants, baseball coach, radiology and auditing clerks, for example, require skills and training, so they are scarcer than basic cooks. The hardest activities to automate with currently available technologies are those that involve managing and developing people or that apply expertise to decision making, planning, or creative work. These activities, often characterized as knowledge work, can be as varied as coding software, creating menus, or writing promotional materials. For now, computers do an excellent job with very well-defined activities, such as optimizing trucking routes, but humans still need to determine the proper goals, interpret results, or provide common-sense checks for solutions. The importance of human interaction is evident in many sectors.

Looking Ahead

As technology develops, robotics and machine learning will make greater inroads into activities that today have only a low technical potential for automation. New techniques, for example, are enabling safer and more enhanced collaboration between “physical” or humans and “digital” or machine in what are now considered unpredictable.

It is never too early to prepare for the future.

To get ready for automation’s advances tomorrow and human hand-off events, participants must prepare and challenge themselves to understand the data and automation technologies on the horizon today. The greater challenges are the workforce and organizational changes that leaders and seekers will have to put in place as automation upends entire business, as well as the culture of organizations. Both leaders and seekers, for their part, will need to “let go” in ways that run counter to a century of career development.

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