Robot Bosses

Automation is changing the way we work, play and interact with each other. When we discuss automation it is typically in the vein of having your job replaced by robots or some other automated process in which software or machinery is enabled to perform a task in a cheaper, quicker and more efficient manner. But what if your job isn’t one of the ones on the chopping block? How will you be affected by the swiftly growing trend of robotics and automation?

Introducing the Robo-boss.

That’s right, your next boss just may be a robot, or rather a “smart machine”. Gartner’s analysis suggests that by 2018 more than 3 million workers will be supervised by these robo-bosses. The roles supervisors play in many fields today is highlighted by performance reviews, monitoring employee success through key performance indicators and acting on those metrics. As businesses invest more heavily in smart machines there will be less of a need to have a physical presence to track employee performance and direct task based workers.

With more sensors, device interconnectivity and data analysis capability being driven through the Internet of Things and Big Data algorithm advances, the ability to monitor, predict and act upon the data being gathered is enabling the progression of smart machines. These smart machines can also eliminate the need for multiple supervisors managing multiple business functions as they are able to process data from many resources, provide feedback and adjust inputs and outputs.

So, are you safe from the cold grip of the new metallic overlords? While millions of jobs will likely be displaced by the advancement of technology there will still be a need for human driven management. Humans are still going to be required to make decisions and react to more complex personnel issues, relationships, coaching and conflicts within the organization. In fact, the implementation of smart machines will likely enable managers to focus more deeply on growing their staff professionally instead of focusing on metrics and not having time to act or respond to the data.

To see this technology in action look no further than companies like Lyft and Uber. Prior to these companies becoming a large presence in the transportation market, taxi company’s relied on staff to handle dispatching duties, customer satisfaction and tracking employee performance. Now many of these functions are being handled by digital systems that automate the majority of tasks that would have required a fleet of people to perform and manage.

Fortunately the transition to AI based management will take time and will still require human interaction in many cases. At this time the primary role of robo-bosses will be the tasks that can be fully automated, but with the exponential growth rate of technology, it will only be a matter of time before your manager will be AI, algorithmic based automaton.