While automation isn’t new we have seen it shoot up in popularity. It seems a growing wave of intelligent automation is sweeping across industries all over the world. As a next step for the technology, hyper-automation will allow enterprises to automate processes from beginning to end without the need for any human intervention.
All this tech is set to improve efficiency and quality everywhere – but there’s always a new challenge around the corner and in this case, it’s the ethics of automation as the technology spreads to every corner of our lives.
Why Businesses Need An Ethical Approach to Intelligent Automation (IA)
Businesses should be motivated to ensure they have an ethical approach to IA because of two key reasons. An ethical approach is going to give companies a competitive advantage on top of the many advantages attached to automation – let us explain how.
Firstly, customers everywhere are becoming more discerning of the brands they spend money with. If you’re not acting ethically customers will find a more conscious and socially responsible organisation to work with.
On the other side of the coin, as an employer, you need to appeal to potential employees by having an honest image of your ethical approach to automation. In a competitive job market, this sort of behaviour goes a long way.
There are a few key things to consider when you look at the ethics of automation. Their ranking on your list of importance will vary by your application and what industry you’re in but they’ll all be important to some degree in almost any situation.
With big changes on the horizon for industry, the role of people is going to change. The current skills that are valued won’t be required at as much scale or frequency and so businesses have a responsibility to keep their current employees up to date with modern skills. That means training them on the skills bots can’t take care of, particularly in managing and maintaining the bots themselves.
When it comes to the ethics of automation, transparency and accountability are vital. Businesses must have a deep understanding of the bots that are deployed especially as they become more integrated into critical processes. Now, there isn’t a danger of losing control because, as we’ve said many times before, these bots will not act on their own. However, as bots become more ‘intelligent’ we’ll be giving them more control and ownership and we need to be aware of how quickly that spreads throughout businesses.
Data Usage – Control and Governance
As technology improves and connection speeds increase, the amount of data that is collected and transmitted is going to continue to skyrocket. Automation is going to help handle all of this new data but companies need to lay out clear usage policies and programs that account for the fact bots are going to do most of the heavy lifting. Without these measures in place, the scale of data breaches or misuse could be huge.
The ethics of automation isn’t just a checkbox exercise. It should be a part of a wider approach to responsible management of people, data, and processes. As intelligent automation grows and becomes more widespread we will all encounter its impact. Businesses are going to play a big part in defining how well people deal with the rise of machines.
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