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Technology May Revolutionising Work but What About Emotional Impact of Automation on Humans?

How will automation of routine tasks impact employees emotionally?

How will automation of routine tasks impact employees emotionally?

A new study conducted in Finland suggests nearly 60 percent of all work will be revolutionized by technology and automated in the coming decades.

We are dependent on automation for a lot of daily tasks but we may not even realise how instrumental they are for our productivity. However, if every day routine tasks were also automated, the meaning we find in our work would be reduced, or so suggests the latest study by Åbo Akademi University. Replacing minor human tasks with intelligent technologies could reduce employee’s work satisfaction. Technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, and assisting apps, etc are all necessary in today’s date, but they also raise a question about work environments of the future.

A surprising statistic suggests nearly 60 percent of all work will be revolutionized by technology in the coming decades. In Finland, where the study was conducted, up to 35 percent of all tasks related to various fields of work would be automated in the next 10–20 years or so. This has formerly raised an ethical question if people skilled in tasks that can be taken over by technology, will become obsolete and left without work.

But Finnish researchers suggest those will be left employable will also not perform satisfyingly.Johnny Långstedt from the university mentioned that our day-to-day life choices are based on our values. “That’s why it is important to understand how the changes brought to work by novel technologies affect future work and if work will correspond to what we today view as meaningful,” he added. Långstedt is a doctoral student working on Comparative Religion and a project researcher in Industrial Management.

The value we give to any work will be diminished if parts of it are automated. There is a sense of joy and satisfaction in completing a task, which will soon be taken over by AI or robotics. The study by Långstedt suggests the immediate reaction to the change would be a “widespread decreased commitment.” Job satisfaction, as we know and understand today, will be greatly impacted. While currently, we can rejoice at the thought of eliminating routine work and freeing up more time, there might be those exceptionally skilled at that task and who actually derive joy from it. Automating parts of their job would diminish the sense of creation one would otherwise feel.

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first published:March 02, 2021, 18:25 IST