We’re probably still a few years away from humanoids roaming around doing the chores at home (and work). However, they definitely are here in spirit. These robots don’t have a physical shape or form but are intelligent pieces of software that mimic tasks that would otherwise been carried out mechanically by humans. The technical term one will come across is “Robotic Process Automation”, RPA in short. In other, a method of automating other repetitive computer based tasks by smart software.
So, what is the impact of RPA for organisations and the society. The organisational impact can be quite huge, depending on the current level of dependency on humans. Banks (and other large organisations), who have been outsourcing their business processes to places such as India, Vietnam, etc., will soon be bringing back some of those processes in-house. This will result in headcount, cost savings and in a large number of cases, improvement in compliance levels as well. The savings in cost and headcount are relatively obvious. The improvement in compliance levels is down to removal of potential manual errors and improve quality of data entry and handling. It also makes the organisations compliant in terms of data jurisdiction.
The societal impact, of course, can be huge. Particularly for economies that have been depending heavily on BPO (Business Process Outsourcing). Millions of jobs could get lost as a result of this – and these industries need to think fast in order to be able to re-allocate such work forces to other (potentially higher value) areas.
However, one thing we should be very clear about, (as we see in the case of Deutsche Bank), the machines have arrived – and we should be prepared.