back to article Office wage slaves face extinction at hands of ROBOTS - if bosses listen to Gartner

Analyst house Gartner is warning management that they are missing the chance to sack lots of middle-class employees and replace them with computer systems by 2020. "We certainly will not approach a state of mass unemployment at any time in the near future. What is also certain, however, is that many new combinations of …

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Analysts Replaced by ROBOTS

I've got a TRS-80 that can replace the worlds entire population of tech analysts. It'll be cheaper and at least as accurate. The world will also be a better place.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Analysts Replaced by ROBOTS

Computationally plausible. After all, how hard can it be to read a few articles on the Web, then allocate probabilities ranging from 61% to 78%? You could probably get away with doing it randomly. The computer complex in Robert Harris' novel "The Fear Index" does a lot more than that - it actually earns billions on the stock exchanges.

But - and here is the gaping flaw - how would the TRS-80 fulfil the real functions of an analyst firm? Namely flattering bosses, giving them a great excuse for an all-expenses-paid jolly every few months, and taking the blame when things (predictably) go pear-shaped?

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Anonymous Coward

I've a better idea ...

"but the analysts stand by their belief that these luddites will be crippling their businesses with higher wage costs if they don’t start preparing to sack staff and replace them with software. .."

Maybe we could start by sacking Gartner and replacing their reports with a random prognosticator generator.

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Re: I've a better idea ...

It's Gartner CEO linkbait.

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Holmes

How would we tell if CEOs believed them ?

do they mean mass sacking of the dwindling middle classes is not already SOP ?

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Translation:

"Are the outrageous demands for improved working conditions in third-world countries ruining your bottom-line . . . ?"

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Re: Translation:

It's not about third world countries though.

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Unhappy

Re: Translation:

We'll all be 3d world countries soon...

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Watch out for those Joneses . . .

". . . will not perform in the top quartile for productivity and operating profit margin improvement in their industry."

Note that the warning here is not: "you won't be profitable" but "you won't be AS profitable as someone who does make swathes of loyal staff unemployed".

Or, more simply: "someone will make more money than you".

(I know I come across as a hopeless undergrad arts student - no offence to arts students.)

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This is why call centers were outsourced

By making the staffers harder to understand, have more difficulty understanding you, and be overall less helpful in resolving your issue, it will be easier to replace them with some beefed up version of Siri or Google Now. By 2020 anyone calling a customer support line will have been trained by 20 years of poor customer service to fully expect to have to repeat themselves several times, not have expressions or slang understood properly, and to be presented with an answer to a question often quite different than the one that was asked.

They'll know they've reached their goal when the number of people who shout "representative", scream obscenities or randomly hit numbers on their phone hoping to escape the automated help system and talk to a human falls to zero, because we start seeing speaking to a human as even worse than the automated system.

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FAIL

Paperless office, anyone?

Computationally maybe

Developmentally. Hahahahahahahaha.

Managerially. See "Developmentally"

You need managers who "get it" to begin with, then you need the software to hook into their applications (possibly very bespoke and "just work") and of course you'll need the computing hardware to deliver an adequate response in real time, as managers hate to be kept waiting.

The fail is strong in this one. ...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Paperless office, anyone?

I think Gartner may be right, but their rationale is fundamentally flawed.

The future isn't w@nky digital assistants answering the phones - we already know people hate unempowered call centre employees, hate IVR ("press 4 to be kept on hold..."), and hate rubbish voice recognition.

I think there's a renewed focus on the basics that we've always known, but ignored. Deming was right all along, but most companies don't apply his thinking outside of production. A large part of the back office staff are busy doing things to keep leaky ships afloat. If the systems work and the processes are right (which they rarely are) then you can reduce (for example) the number of accountants doing month end journals, reduce the effort put into audit, shrink your compliance and risk teams. When it comes to front office my outfit have thousands of people doing call centre roles, but probably around 40% of all call volumes come from what in quality terms amounts to rework - incorrect bills, failures in customer recruitment processes, queries where our bills are too confusing, or account shutdown errors. If the processes and systems worked first time, we'd offer a better customer experience, our front office labour costs would fall, our per seat property, IT costs would fall, we'd have a need for fewer back office staff doing everthing from security, HR, payroll.

That's bad for the low to mid-grade employees because fewer are needed (and reduced hardware demands, so not good news for the hardware or helldesk boys and girsl). It means slightly more work for the software techies, the change management guys, the compliance and process design people.

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Re: Paperless office, anyone?

@AC 08:48

Many years of mangling management, including systematization of processes, developing new businesses and running them (including my own), has shown that when something is stuffed-up it requires more than twice the original effort to fix.

So when 10-30% of what you do is stuffed, it takes more effort to fix the stuff-ups than it does to deal with the 70-90% that you got right. This leads to fire brigade management, potential loss of your most talented staff (who see what is happening); increased sick-leave because of stress; and a reduction in what the organization can charge for its products- Unless or course you are running an oligopoly.

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Anonymous Coward

Morons

Who the hell are you going to sell shit no one needs to, if no one has a job?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Moron

If it's sh*t no one needs, why does it matter if isn't then sold?

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Garter is more right than they think.

Right now, I could replace half my co-workers with a hundred line QBASIC program.

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You do have to wonder

There is the idea that technology frees up people from being wage slaves and allows them to expand their horizons in new directions, becoming self employed with vibrant craft businesses, being bloggers, starving....

The trouble is you need a market to buy and sell stuff, the financial markets seem to do very well buying and selling between computer systems, note I did say seem. Ultimately you have to sell something to someone, to make money, and if you automate the selling process you could land up with computers selling each other stuff, so could we have Ford selling Inchcape futures on a 2020 Focus that drives itself, but before it's even made Inchcape sell the future to RBS Fleet who trade it in for a 2021 model at a discount that they can sell back to Inchcape a profit, and so on, without a human ever buying a car.

Could be, daft though it may sounds.

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Expert predictions!

The one sure thing about time is the present, if you're experiencing it then you are probably alive.

The past depending on who recorded it and how far back it goes is variably dependable but the future does not yet exist and potentially may never exist.

It is reasonable to assume a prediction made, based on good facts and information about tomorrow or next week could well be accurate but the further into the future a prediction is the more unlikely it is to be accurate.

Seven years is a stab in the dark! In real and practicable terms there are so many possible alternative or sudden discoveries, disasters etc that the crap organisations like Gartner spout is meaningless.

The great thing about experts is ; before an event they will tell you precisely what is going to happen and when and why.

After it hasn't happened they will be able to tell you exactly what didn't happen, when it didn't happen and why!

Personally I think unless Omni Consumer Corp is about to take over the world that governments can't afford for large numbers of consumer/voters to be taken out of the loop either politically or economically

( Later I will tell you why they could afford it.)

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Not going to happen before...

...Companies stop ...

... putting data into non machine-readable formats like Word or Excel sheets

... spending most of their time with internal fights and pointless regulations

... refusing to pick up sensible new developments

But then again, if you manage to sort out those problems, you have probably already increased your productivity 100 fold while reducing the work time in half at full pay... just because you can afford it.

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