Friday, 27 July 2012

On Software Automation (and Dilbert)

Serious point to these comics -- automation used to be mainly associated with manual tasks, but we've seen a steady march into elements of office service work that secretaries, call centre operators, bank tellers etc. used to do. In many companies now, even CVs and job applications are being read and discarded automatically by clever software identifying the best fits, so that only a shortlist, a fraction, of the applications is passed to a human for the final decision.

Pretty much any clerical task that can be done using a computer or network can be automated by sufficiently advanced software. Because software is replicable, it is stunningly cheap compared to hiring human brains. Unlike machinery and people, software does not really wear out over time, and it is can be very quickly upgraded. Institutions in the service sector are becoming increasingly lean with IT technologies, a trend that started in the early 90. This is probably why the disruptive start-ups of the internet age don't create as many jobs as they destroy.

Anyway, I've always loved Dilbert, enjoy :)

March 18, 2004

 November 09, 1990
(From Scott Adam's Dilbert cartoon,


  1. High level of integrity, commitment and professional responsibility.
    Ability to tolerate cultural, educational and religious diversity in the work place.

    Office Automation Software

  2. Well I was looking forward to my first comment. Looks like it was automated. How ironic.

    If you are a person, anthonydavis, any comment on the pace of automation technologies, and what it will do to employment for average workers?