Someday, A Robot Could Be Your Boss

By Rex Huppke
Chicago Tribune.

I peered into the future of the workplace, my friends, and came away with both bad and good news.

The bad news is there’s a very good chance that by 2018, some of you will be fired by a robot.

The good news is you’ll be able to tell people that you were fired by a robot, which, quite frankly, is such a good story that it might be worth getting fired over.

Technology research and advisory firm Gartner recently released a report called “Top Strategic Predictions for 2016 and Beyond: The Future Is a Digital Thing.” (The Future Is a Digital Thing is also the name of my underground techno band.)

The company’s analysts predict how smart machines will change the way we comparably simple humans function at work, and they use ominous phrases like “dramatic rise of smart machines and autonomous devices” and “urgent need to define and develop harmonious relationships between people and machines.”

Gulp.

The report is actually quite fascinating, and it hints at issues we would be wise to consider before the predictions become reality.

For example, the Gartner analysts believe that by 2018, “6 billion connected things will be requesting support.” That means companies that provide support services will have to start viewing things, like smart machines, as customers.

Per the report: “They will need to develop mechanisms for responding to significantly larger numbers of support requests communicated directly by things. They will also need to develop strategies for responding to them that are distinctly different from traditional human customer communication and problem solving.”

There are other interesting prognostications, like one that says 20 percent of all business content will soon be authored by machines. (I assure you, this column was written by a locally sourced, 100 percent organic human. Bleep blorp.)

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