Are you going to lose your job to robots?

The main question we will be addressing is: Should we continue to advance automation during the COVID-19 pandemic?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the unemployment rate skyrocketed from 3.7 percent in December 2019, to 11.1 percent in June 2020. Numerous small businesses closed, workers were laid off, and the economy took a massive hit. Now, a bounce back from this situation is the most ideal option for the benefit of both the general public and the economy on the global stage. Nevertheless, technological advancements are also key to improving quality of living for the common Joe, but more importantly, to help increase efficiency and productivity to maximize business revenue. Unsurprisingly, a modern buzzword comes into play when speaking of efficiency and productivity maximization: automation.

Between 2000 and 2010, the U.S. lost 5.6 million manufacturing jobs, 85 percent of which were made redundant by automation. With the clear advancement and interest in artificial intelligence throughout the 21st century, jobs like receptionists, customer service/support agents, clerks, and market opportunity researchers will be consumed and replaced with emotionless, unpaid, efficient algorithms or robots. As jobs slip away from voting citizens due to COVID-19, and even more being automated with AI, ML and robotics, we must consider whether advancements in automation should be temporarily stopped in order to give people jobs during the weird and unpredictable times we are living in.

Now what we should really focus on is whether AI can completely remove the need for what we like to call “a human touch.” The TL;DR version of my answer is no, AI can never replace the “human touch.” To explain my answer, let’s break automation down into a couple of parts, and focus specifically on Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

We need to start with how CRM has grown over the past decade, and whether it is on the same trajectory people predicted CRM would be on with automation. For a long time, CRM has been a mundane task about figuring out how companies have done in the previous quarter, but nothing about future goals based on CRM quarterly assessments.

“Finally, with more data, analytics and automation, the evolution of CRM has enabled businesses to streamline data to get optimum results. Ultimately, it’s evolution is about automating mundane tasks, allowing humans to focus on tasks that only humans at present can do.” (Larry Augustin, CEO of Sugar CRM)

This leads us to the core point of this debate: importance of the “human touch.” Currently, we see the rise of AI chatbots which handle a lot of companies’ common inquiries and problems for customers. In essence, AI can be applied to large scale projects. However, if we are talking about something dealing with high investment and risk, such as a house, loans, buying a car, etc., it is much more comfortable for consumers to deal with another person. Now in these instances, AI and automation cannot replace humans. Here comes a key point about AI in the CR world: the two work in tandem, not in replacement. You cannot have one side take over another, as they complement each other.

So what will this lead to? Will AI take over half of the jobs then? The simple answer to that is no. DISCLAIMER: the answer is much more tough than just that. With proper retraining programs for many people, we can keep jobs for Americans, in the US without increasing the poverty rate. With hundreds of thousands of jobs opening up in the tech industry, Americans losing their job due to COVID and automation can now work in a sector where they develop the AI that possibly took their job in the first place. It is like the Industrial Revolution; without change and increase in productivity (like the factories and machines did), we cannot progress forward as a society. We must adopt automation with open arms and allow history to run its course.

Thank you for making it to the end of my article. Here is a little about me:

Hi, my name is Shivam Syal, and I am currently a junior at the MCA for SM&ET. I’m a passionate computer science enthusiast with advanced knowledge in Python, Artificial Intelligence, Machine/Deep Learning, and Cybersecurity. As an independent researcher and innovator, I’ve presented my research projects in AI, ML, and Neurotechnology at Rutgers University, and won at multiple hackathon events. I’m Co-Founder of the Cybersecurity Club, Vice President of TSA, and President of the Model UN National Team at my school. Outside of STEM, I’m an avid public speaker, Life Rank Boy Scout, and swim for the JPS HS Varsity team. In my free time, I love to learn more about AI & ML! I’ve also founded STEMninjas to spread awareness, foster inspiration, and increase proficiency in STEM among youth.




17 y/o disruptive innovator, computer science enthusiast, and emerging entrepreneur

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Shivam Syal

Shivam Syal

17 y/o disruptive innovator, computer science enthusiast, and emerging entrepreneur

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