As automation technology has progressed over the years, so too has its impact on the workplace. Increasingly sophisticated systems are able to take on more complex tasks, freeing up employees to focus on other responsibilities. While there is some apprehension about how automation will affect jobs in the future, it’s hard to deny the benefits that it has brought to businesses and their employees alike. Here’s a brief look at the history of automation technology and its impact on workforces around the world.
From the 1950s to 1960s: The Stage of Early Machine Learning
On IBM’s first fully digital computer, Arthur Samuel, an IBM scientist, developed a program in 1952 that could play a game of checkers. The program was self-learning and eventually turned into the first concrete illustration of contemporary machine learning, a word Samuel himself would develop in 1959 and a notion that would later serve as the cornerstone of contemporary artificial intelligence.
Frank Rosenblatt created the first neural network capable of addressing more complicated problems in 1957. Then, in the 1960s, pattern recognition helped to popularize the concept of algorithms, and programs like ELIZA showed early promise in the field of natural language processing (NLP).
Computers will acquire memory, capacity, intelligence, and processing power during the next 30 years as a result of these core technologies. By the 1990s, computers had become affordable enough to be found in almost every home and business throughout the world.
From the 1990s to Early 2000s: The Rising Period of Automation Technology
We had screen scraping long before current robotic process automation (RPA), which helped to integrate incompatible systems and sometimes worked as a data extraction tool. However, this system is dependent on site HTML and can have very difficult to navigate variations. As a result, while functional, it is not particularly user-friendly.
To overcome this barrier, engineers in the 1990s focused on new business support using workflow automation systems. This aided in the improvement of business processes by substituting paper-based work with electronic processing, increasing task speed and efficiency, despite the fact that humans were still involved in the majority of components of the workflow.
From that point, automation technology advanced further, introducing primitive RPA and AI tools into the mix in the late 1990s and early 2000s, along with modeling graphical tools for as-is and to-be processes. The tools might complete and execute certain jobs in the workflow utilizing rules-based formats.
After 2005: RPA and AI Appeared as Modern Solutions
By 2005, business process management had evolved into a discipline from precursors such as enterprise resource planning and management information systems.
Meanwhile, following Big Data, process mining technology appeared on the market, delivering strong discovery tools focused on business process analysis. And RPA is expanding from basic modeling tools to integrating with AI technology, allowing businesses to streamline work across numerous applications.
And it is around this point that we can see the beginnings of the fragmented approach to automation technology. While some companies see the benefits of business process management evolving as a discipline, others believe that process mining is the greatest technique to improve and handle Big Data discovery. On the other hand, other businesses are still focused on RPA and AI, believing that these are the instruments that will bring in the next era.
Although automation technology has been around for centuries, it wasn’t until the industrial revolution that it began to be widely used in manufacturing. Today, there are endless applications for automation technology in all industries. If you’re interested in learning more about how automation can benefit your business, contact us today. We would be happy to discuss your specific needs and help you find the perfect solution for automating your workflow.
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