“Hello, I’m the robot repair person.” Those will be welcome words soon enough, in some cases they are already welcome words of relief. Calls of concern will be made to a new form of Customer Service, the Robot and Chatbot Programming Repair Departments.
The big question, of course, is whether one will be connected to a human or a chatbot. Imagine that: a chatbot repairing a chatbot. Or, maybe, a chatbot repairing another chatbot.
Another scenario: an automatic call generated by AI (Artificial Intelligence) within a company, alerting a vendor that shop floor robots are not functioning at peak efficiency. The request: “Please analyze the performance and restore and improve efficiency, increase productivity within five working days or the entity will seek other vendors for models to accomplish these tasks. A report on progress is expected every hour on the hour to a special messaging receipt unit prepared for this purpose. That messaging receipt unit has already been transmitted to you via email, webmail, SMS and voice message.” You should be hearing those quoted words in your head in machine-like robot voice.
Or should you?
Machines have the capability to replicate human activity and human voice at remarkable skill levels. These are actions that programmers have made possible.
Robots in industry represent a new form of Industrial Design. Where men and women once were the sole members of the workplace, machinery in the form of robotics are now more common by the day. The look and feel of these machines are equally as important as the work functions they accomplish. They must fit into the workspace. Many of these automated machines move around, so their design and function must conform to surroundings and work flow as well as the work (or shop floor) environment.
With robotics and AI in mind, Designers, Coders, User Experience professionals, and a new class of Digital Urban Planners (think infrastructure) will emerge as employment categories.
Maintenance of these machines, by man and by machines, will be a major new employment area.
On the corporate or enterprise level, there are new titles that represent Digital Era positions. These are jobs that didn’t exist before, even as recently as 5 years ago. Chief Digital Officer. Chief Content Officer. Director of Social Media. Chief Cultural Officer. Digital Training Manager. Director of Online Affairs. Manager of Online Operations. Most of these positions will have support staff, many of whom will rise through the ranks to these higher titles through attrition or by upward job changes.
Law School students now study Digital Rights, and Intellectual Property as it relates to the Internet. There are tax, accounting, business and contract issues to learn that relate to the Internet, web transactions, and online business matters. Lawyers and law professors are emerging as experts and specialists in these new areas.
Digital job strategy covers vast new realms of possibilities. Data management is a burgeoning arena, with pattern analysis, value mapping and a variety of analytical disciplines in demand more now than ever.
Those first entering the work force now are Digital Natives, comfortable and familiar with a world of ubiquitous connectivity and a plethora of online devices. This next generation labor force working their way up are surrounded by, and find themselves amidst, digital opportunity.
Robots and chatbots, automation and transformative advancements are the flavors of the moment.
Preparation begins at an early age, at home. The household of today features technology for the child from the earliest days of sentience. Tablets, online and handheld, console or computer games, plus phone apps and interactive screens are everywhere. This is the culture of Digital Natives and Generation Z. They are prepared for the Digital Transformation, a world of robotics and AI in the workplace. Boomers, and to a lesser degree GenXers and GenYers, are the ones who must strive to adapt.
They are the ones who will be calling for that Robot Repair Person, perhaps cursing under their breath, but learning and adapting at the same time. Or possibly they’ll be dealing with a Digital Native or GenZers in training to replace that person, who is writing the code and design specs for the machine that will take its place. These are jobs in transition in the Digital Era.
Dean Landsman is a NYC-based Digital Strategist who writes a monthly column for PR for People “The Connector.”