Optimising financial processes

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Something to Consider: Automation Anxiety

Something to Consider February 2018 2

Falling Behind Due to Fear of Change?

Since the original Industrial Revolution, each generation has suffered pendulum swing reactions to emerging technologies, from condemnation of such change as the ‘work of the devil’, to over-exuberant hyperbole that overstates the scale of potential benefit, with no unintended consequences.

But governments and businesses have good reason to want to exploit new technologies, as the ‘size of the prize’ can be enormous, from customer/stakeholder benefit, to enhanced flexibility, cost savings, greater efficiency and enhanced effectiveness, not just in process driven tasks but in higher skilled occupations as well.

Whilst it is important to have a balanced view of technological progress, it is reported that anxiety is a notable issue in implementation. Naturally people will be reluctant to champion any technology that they believe might take their job, creating further roadblocks to progression and transformation.

There is a need to switch the focus and change the language we use around transformation. ‘Transformation’ and ‘Automation’ are often regarded as something that is done ‘to people’. It is understandable that some people feel that such progress is not a ‘victimless crime’.

Our very own co-founder, Dr Tom Gruber (of Apple’s Siri fame), gave an important talk at a recent TED conference on ‘Humanistic AI’, focussing on how new technologies can augment and enhance human activity, not just replace it.

Emerging technologies can serve to enhance people’s lives, job roles current roles and impact, working in tandem to help, not hinder.

We need a balanced view for the future. Business leaders need to develop a vision of transformation that delivers value for all stakeholders in a ‘humanistic’ way. Of course, there will be challenges of re-skilling and restructuring work, but these should be addressed upfront.

Support and buy-in across the organization is crucial to realising value from transformation enabled by new technologies, and there is a middle ground to be found between stubborn resistance and wild evangelism, to embrace the new and to achieve continuous improvement.

If history tells us anything, it is that if we don’t adapt and wilfully ignore new technologies, we will be left behind…!

Have a read of the full article that leads us away from ‘automation anxiety’, towards taking a more balanced view, which you can find here

You can also see Dr Tom’s TED talk on Humanistic AI here

Our ‘Something To Consider’ snippets are framed as small, digestible, ‘dashes of insight’ around the pillars of what we define as “World Class Finance” – Process Optimization, Financial Control and Compliance, and Risk Assurance, all underpinned by technology enablement and integration.