In response to the technology advancements accelerated by the pandemic, Dental Offices and DSOs are rapidly introducing digital workers to the workplace. People fear this is a step toward a dystopian future where robots rule and command humans. This idea remains popular in science fiction because it is alarming and sensationalistic. Sadly, this is not the case in reality. Our CEO, Manuel Barroso, breaks down some of the most common misconceptions and explains why robots cannot and will not replace humans.
In this current time, why are people becoming anxious about technology and automation?
The beginning of every industrial revolution has been marked by uneasiness over technology. The very first industrial revolution was opposed to mechanization. But what followed? Living standards rose and businesses prospered as productivity skyrocketed. Any technological revolution has historically followed this pattern. Fear and anxiety were always followed by an improvement in living standards. As long as change occurs, there will always be technophobia.
Could technological advancements lead to mass unemployment?
This is a misconception I find especially frustrating because it is the opposite of the truth. There will not be a reduction in jobs due to the current industrial revolution. Automating will lead to the creation of nearly 58 million new jobs, according to the World Economic Forum; the evolution of the operations staff members is already happening in some of our dental office clients. Initially, many staff members may find this surprising, but once they understand the impact of automation, they will understand why this is true. Staff members won’t be replaced, but rather they will be unburdened from monotony and instead can focus on areas requiring human thought.
There are concerns that bots may soon be able to perform tasks normally assigned to humans.
Humans will always have the advantage over AI-powered bots, which can recognize patterns to make certain decisions as well as automate some cognitive functions. Think about computing power, for example. We measure computational performance by the number of floating-point operations per second, which is used to determine the number of operations that can be performed in a given period of time. However, there are maintenance and labor costs involved. Also, development time is involved. Ultimately, humans will always be superior to machines. Computers are still a long way off from truly matching humans, say most experts.
Are you saying that humans will still perform a number of tasks while robots will merely assist rather than replace them?
Absolutely. Rather than a competitive relationship, it will be a collaborative one. Recently, I worked on a project in which a Dental DSO recruiter received more than 300 CVs per day for a particular position. It would take your team about two minutes to read each CV and decide whether or not to shortlist a candidate for an interview. Imagine how long it would take! Using our DentalRPA bots, the shortlisting process took less than a day with the help of 24/7 bots.
It is still up to the human being to interview and make the final decision regarding employment. Many people do not realize that bots are only able to help with a single aspect of a project, namely those that a human employee probably wouldn’t be very interested in undertaking anyway. In terms of data entry, report generation, and account reconciliation, some of the processes that are involved in it can be summed up as follows. As robots are just taking over routine tasks, humans are negotiating, collaborating, and making the crucial decisions that make the organization successful. These are tasks those human beings will always be required to complete.
How likely is it that we will ever experience the robocalypse?
There will be an increase in the number of robots in the workplace and in our lives, but for the better. While they may be able to assist us in our everyday lives, they will not be able to replace us. We often underestimate the power that we possess. There is a long tradition that we have imagined the world in a new way, that we have made transformational progress, and that’s exactly what we’re doing now.