ROBOTS Wanted!

Good video from The Atlantic on automation and the concern about Robots taking our jobs.

From the 1800’s, when “the Luddites,”–British textile workers–protested the loom to the 1900’s where 40% of our nations job were farm workers and now it’s just 2%…the question is where does automation stop?

Very likely it doesn’t (thanks to evolution)!

As robots can first mimic and then outdo their human developers and as artificial intelligence gets more intelligent, robots are moving from farm to factory to white collar jobs.

Computers and robotics, once relegated to repetitive tasks like on the assembly line, are becoming good at winning Jeopardy and as a surgical platform.

The bar is being raised not just on technology, but on humans to retrain to ever more sophisticated thinking and communicating positions (from software developers and product designers to branding and communications specialists).

People are constantly evolving to think and innovate better and are in turn building ever more capable technologies to replace more human jobs and leading once again to the need for even higher-level human performance.

Progress–a never-ending cycle of outperforming ourselves.

Where does it stop–the attainment of ever-higher levels of knowledge and productivity leading to heavenly bliss here on Earth or perhaps large elements of burnout, breakdown, and potentially self-destruction.

I often hear people recalling and reminiscing about earlier, simpler, and “better times.”

The Wall Street Journal (17 August 2013) just had such an editorial looking to bring back the tranquility and idleness of hot summer Augusts, instead now replaced by more work and school.

At the same time, very few of us would really want to go back in time before all the technology-wunderkind that we have now and enjoy (many seem think more like you’ll have to pry that iPhone from my cold, dead hands!).

The challenge: Robots may be taking jobs, but we need to stay ahead and to master not only ever higher levels of human knowledge and skills, but also the good sense to reconcile with the technology blitz and be able to actually find the time and inner-peace to sit back and enjoy it all as well. 😉

>Diffusion of Innovation Theory and Enterprise Architecture

>According to Everett Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations (DOI) Theory, adopters of any new innovation or idea can be categorized based on the bell curve, as follows:

  • Innovators (2.5%) — most likely to conceive and develop new methodologies and technologies; the most daring and especially prone to taking risks
  • Early Adopters (13.5%) — a person who embraces new technology before most other people do.
  • Early majority (34%)
  • Late majority (34%)
  • Laggards (Luddites) (16%) — slow or reluctant to embrace new technology; actively fear or loathe new technology, especially those they believe threaten existing jobs.

Each adopter’s willingness and ability to adopt an innovation would depend on their awareness, interest, evaluation, trial, and adoption. People could fall into different categories for different innovations — a farmer might be an early adopter of hybrid corn, but a late majority adopter of VCRs.

When graphed, the rate of adoption formed what came to typify the DOI model, an “s shaped curve.” (S curve) The graph essentially shows a cumulative percentage of adopters over time – slow at the start, more rapid as adoption increases, then leveling off until only a small percentage of laggards have not adopted. (Rogers Diffusion Of Innovations 1983)

From a User-centric EA perspective, each of these user roles is important and needs to be considered in providing useful and useable information products and governance services to them.

On one hand, for the innovators and early adopters, User-centric EA encourages innovation and creativity, but also works to mitigate risk though business and technical alignment and architectural assessment related to sound capital planning & investment control.

On the other hand, for the laggards, User-centric EA set targets for technology adoption and phases in new technology and process according to a transition plan. While EA cannot “make” people less hateful of new technology, it can create a more controlled environment for change management in the enterprise, one which reduces the fear factor. Additionally, by EA demonstrating the benefits to the organization and the individuals therein of new technologies aligned to the mission and strategy of the organization, perhaps those who fear the technology will come around to embrace it.