A recent Article states that automation will result in the biggest reduction in headcount across the U.S. banking industry in its history, with an estimated 200,000 job cuts over the next decade – this according to Wells Fargo & Co.
Automation is likely to usher in the Next Generation of Productivity – I say that realizing full well that we keep saying that – and yet expected productivity is not realized. But as automation increasingly replaces knowledge workers, we enter a new era of productivity potential. Emerging exponential technologies will converge in a way that automates that which we never believed possible (e.g., knowledge work, driving cars, etc.). As described in my productivity post, as technology like Blockchain, AI, and robotics mature, the realization of completely decentralized and autonomous organizations becomes viable. It is possible for the rules that drive business to be executed without a central authority, leveraging autonomous agents to enable fully automated business entities.
Movement on a continuum between our current centralized, controlled structures and decentralized autonomous structures moves the productivity needle. No one can predict how far we move on that continuum – but it is safe to assume movement will occur – witness the first Unmanned Factory in China or the job cuts described in the banking article above. These are examples of movement in this direction – as chatbots with an A.I. engine answer our questions, unbeknownst to us.
I like to say that we cannot predict the future – we can only rehearse it. Much can happen to alter the path of automation. Many still believe that we cannot automate knowledge work – we can only alter it – 200,000 banking professionals might soon disagree.