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UE.co Weighs in on Automation in the Workplace: Is It a Good Thing or Bad? 

Originally published on hr.com

A lot has been written in the last few years about workplace automation. On the one hand, a lot of alarmism says that automation, while it increases productivity, ultimately reduces the number of jobs, particularly entry-level jobs. Some of the alarmism points out, somewhat correctly, that automation is coming for nearly every job category. Proponents of automation point out that automation is helping and even creates jobs. So, who's right and who's wrong? 

One of the major problems is the oversimplification of the subject. A lot of the alarmist headlines have an agenda of being against automation. Other pundits see automation as a sign that wages are too high for entry-level jobs.  The reality, of course, is that customer-facing businesses are looking to automation as a way to make customers happier; rather than dealing with mistakes due to common human error, mistakes only happen when the equipment is malfunctioning. Companies such as UE.co, which emphasize streamlining workflows and employee satisfaction, hope to implement programs that would make their services more user-friendly. In addition, in some companies, automation has actually led to new job categories. 
UE.co, a San Diego based provider of software platforms, digital marketing services, and customer acquisition solutions, has embraced automation. Their platforms are custom-built and designed to help people manage consumer data more efficiently. Additionally, Walmart and other grocery stores and pharmacies have recently embraced automation in the form of self-checkouts. They have sold the public on the idea that they can have more checkouts available while putting more employees on the sales floor. Whether that plays out in the future is debatable, of course; some customers have complained that it's customer-hostile, taking a previously paid position and putting the onus on the paying customer. 
Several companies have added services such as curbside delivery or even home delivery, with items like groceries. Employees are tasked with retrieving groceries and having them ready for the customer when they drive up. This leads to more work for people who might otherwise not be working and potentially reducing congestion in the store. 
Of course, as with many things, the truth may be somewhere in the middle. Several companies argue that rather than eliminating jobs, automation is adding higher-paying jobs to the economy. Detractors point out that some of these forms of automation are eliminating entry-level jobs that are normally done by young people, and that without entry-level jobs they'll have trouble seeking employment later on.  In past periods of automation, new job categories have always risen to take the place of jobs lost. However, there is a concern that this time, with so many job categories being disrupted by automation, we may be in for a shock soon.

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