Automation for the masses!

By on October 14th, 2016 in Editorial

In their study The Future of Employment: How Susceptible are Jobs to Computerisation?, Carl Frey and Michael Osborne estimate that 47% of US employment is at risk, and have compiled a table listing a wide variety of jobs arranged in order of most to least likely to become automated.

Some examples conjure up an intriguingly absurd vision of the future; funeral attendants and actors are both listed as 37% likely to be computerised. Models (i.e. professionally attractive people) apparently face a 98% probability of being replaced by some form of machine – surprising, given that one of the major responsibilities of a fashion model (walking up and down) also happens to be one of the hardest things to train a robot to do convincingly.

On the whole, however, the positions most likely to be delegated to our programmable chums fall into the categories of office jobs and service roles. It’s no longer low-paid manual labour that’s at risk, but any repetitive task that requires data processing, minimal errors and relatively little social intelligence.

At the very top of the list is telemarketing, with a 99% likelihood of being automated. You may have noticed the tide turning already, perhaps as the lucky recipient of a strangely-intoned phone call asking whether you have been mis-sold PPI insurance. It may seem surprising that social intelligence is deemed unnecessary for telemarketers, but on deeper reflection it’s clear that a lack of social awareness would be a real boon in a role that involves being told to get bent several hundred times a day.

Also high up on the list is ‘Bookkeeping, Accounting and Auditing Clerks’, which is where we start to move into the area of automated fintech software. As processing power continues to increase, humans become increasingly irrelevant to any task requiring data or calculations. And this is not necessarily a bad thing – it’s tedious, mind-numbing work (particularly for SME owners who don’t consider themselves bookkeepers or accountants), ill-served by human error.

In this sense, automation software is likely to help democratise entrepreneurship, making the process of starting and operating a business easier for those who lack the time and/or expertise to run their accounts or perform other data-heavy admin chores. What’s exciting is the potential that automation has to free employees up for tasks requiring the unique inventiveness of the human mind.

With freemarket, customers have already cleverly found a way of using our platform as an alternative bank statement that automatically helps streamline their bookkeeping operations. And rest assured, as our company grows, we are increasingly committed to developing and incorporating a raft of innovative features that will make the lives and jobs of our customers easier.

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James is freemarket’s Chief Commercial Officer. He has a history of finding new ways to solve age-old financial challenges and was responsible for launching some of the first online money transfer and prepaid card initiatives in Europe.

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