If you happen to be one those unfortunate enough to believe that RPA is going to round up everyone’s jobs and leave us starving out in the streets, then you truly are, unfortunate.
Because you will spend your days fighting against a futile battle.
So It Is True!
Not at all.
You have been misinformed. Your job isn’t going to vanish into thin air because some new software is being used to automate mundane and repetitive tasks.
Your fighting will only invite more paranoia because you are fighting against something which is never going to happen.
Ok Smarty Pants, Will RPA Take Over Or Not?
Kind of, but mostly No.
RPA will only make your life easier.
It isn’t going to steal anyone’s job, because it isn’t smart enough, which is something my teachers routinely said to a student of theirs who is currently speaking in third person.
The RPA we have right now, is not the sort of RPA your corporate overlords would LOVE to have, simply because,
What do we know about robots?
What are they capable of?
Here is a question which answers both questions – what are robots capable of, if not without our inputs?
And not to mention,
RPA is a good slave, but a terrible master.
He isn’t going to do anything unless you define the process he is expected to perform, from start to finish. That isn’t him being lazy, that is just who he is.
And you have to accept people for who they are, otherwise its rude.
Worst of all, he isn’t smart enough to understand when he has to start working, and it is up to us to set up his schedule.
But once everything is set up, he will work day and night, taking zero days off.
Its every organization’s dream employee, which remains a dream because,
De ja vu?
This was done on purpose to highlight another point that may seem trivial at first, but does add to the conversation.
RPA contains just the “Process”, and what I mean by that is, it isn’t smart enough to understand what process ought to be called forth.
You might have developed numerous automations on your automation studio, but it simple doesn’t have the intelligence to run processes which are appropriate for the situation.
RPA isn’t equipped with the resources to understand that employees have to be notified when their passwords are about to expire. We not only have to code in “Check if expiry date is less than or equal to ten days from now”, but we also have to activate it daily.
It’s your job to schedule, arrange and govern the automations so that it checks the conditions we have provided and performs necessary actions.
I Thought You Were Trying To Sell Us On RPA. Why Highlight Its Shortcomings?
To tone down the paranoia, that’s why.
People have to realize that we aren’t technologically advanced enough to develop software which will replace each and every activity you as a human being perform at work.
The robots might have already come, but they are dumb.
Dumb enough for us to retain our jobs, but smart enough to transform into Digital Assistants.
Digital Assisting is The Future of RPA
And that future has arrived my friend.
UiPath, Automation Anywhere, and even Power Automate are slowly shifting gears and pushing forth into uncharted areas.
I never thought robots would be capable of processing documents, but it can now. Documents come in varying templates and formats, but the bot can be trained to address each type without fail, thanks to Machine Learning.
To someone unfamiliar with document processing, this might not seem like that much of a big deal, so here is a nonsensical analogy to show why this matters.
Imagine you have a robot (an actual one) and a farm with lots of fruits. Your parents might have berated you for purchasing that box of metal and wires despite having acres of fertile land that you could have cultivated fresh organic veggies onto, which would go to feed humanity.
But you have your ambitions.
You’ve got only one life, and you ought to spend it doing the things you love, which is why you have decided to let humanity starve while you run off into the sunset with your ambitions.
So you head over to amazon.com and order the best robot you could find, because you thought the R in RPA stood for the actual robot.
I have a bachelors in Mechanical Engineering, and I work in the software field. You have a robot which works in the muddy field. We aren’t very different, you and I.
You’ve realized your mistake, but decided to press on, and deployed your robot into production.
That’s when you noticed something odd.
Robot-chan was only capable of collecting fruits, without knowing the difference between them, and tosses everything into the exact same bin. Every once in a while he would toss in a wasp’s nest, thinking it was some new type of fruit.
It was a frickin’ wasp’s nest, Robot-chan.
Robot-chan really struggled to perform his tasks, but he was always a few IQ points off from completing them.
So you decided to offer Robot-chan an upgrade, to which he agreed.
After integrating Robot-chan with ML, he not only knows how to differentiate between various kinds of fruits, but is also capable of determining its texture, sweetness, ripeness, its nutritional value, which ones are good, which ones are bad, and so on and so forth.
And that’s not all.
Robot-chan now incinerates pests from your garden, ensuring your workplace remains spic and span and wasp free.
Coming back to RPA, the documents are analyzed thoroughly and its properties are extracted and tabulated, regardless whether it is digital, handwritten, contains a signature, if certain fields are marked or not, contains table values of varying formats, etc.
In case the ML model we uploaded to the bot was not adequately trained to find and extract data from documents, the robot will separate our files into separate bins and inform the developer/business users, that it requires their intervention to either train the model, or validate whether the extraction meets their requirements.
And a Lot More To Come…
RPA is promising, which is why Tech Giants like Microsoft and Google have decided to expand their services into this domain.
RPA is a great field to be in, and one that holds great promises.
In about a decade or so, RPA will become an integral component of not most, but ALL companies.
Want to learn why?
Stay tuned for more.