Automation: Impact on SMEs & society

Automation: Impact on SMEs & society

Digital & Technology

Bala Subramanian

Bala Subramanian

357 week ago — 4 min read

In this 21st century it has become common to see automation and the adoption of machine learning solutions to perform routine tasks. Bots can be used to help in the management of institutions like SMEs, large corporates and even governments. In business, there is infinite possibility to create income streams from these new technologies.


Automation is defined as ‘the use or introduction of automatic equipment in a manufacturing or other process or facility’ and machine learning is when ‘computers have the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed’. Machine learning complements automation - it is the software that makes modern-day automation such a game-changer in providing solutions in fields as varied as medicine, business and construction.


SMEs are learning or will soon see the value of automation in assuming various roles of entrepreneurship such as the manager, recruiter, trainer, book-keeper, service provider, customer care, salesman etc. By using existing solutions, then, their valuable resource of time spent on work in a day is multiplied and augmented without having to hire employees. Even after adding staff, when that becomes necessary, SMEs can continue to augment that staff’s capabilities by extending the role’s function by including 'collaborative bots' in the process of work. The time needed to learn and create bots for individual use is minimal and in most, if not in all cases, could be done from the comfort of one’s own home or office.


One of the additional benefits of this transition to automation based employment is that it makes it easier to be an entrepreneur or innovator. While engineering one’s own growth strategies, the lessons learned can be shared in social media. Appreciation by the like-minded can help increase both personal satisfaction and the societal harmony. While the languages of business, finance and social interactions are very many, they are manageable without having to learn them per se, as the bots attend to the details.


More generally, students and retiring generations of humanity can and should embrace automation possibilities to improve their quality of life while concurrently increasing the standards of living of the rest of the global populations.


Practice of medical arts and sciences might become easier for all thus spurring innovations for all business large or small. Many services could be delivered and consumed from and at residential locations without the need for travel. With 3-D printing local manufacture might be easier and cost effective than centralised manufacturing and transportation of finished products. These and many other such promising technologies might help eliminate the chronic poverty from among many societies as outlined by this movement. 


Frictions, such as language, culture, laws, regulations, ideologies, geographical boundaries need not slow down interactions with the rest when digitisation can help comply with all of those at the speed of sub-atomic transitions. With computing powers in the hands of every child, meaningful collaborations can lead to healthy, wealthy and peaceful society.


Automation may be feared for taking away jobs but adopting automation for individual and societal benefit can lead to prosperous and healthy living. Economies have a way of restructuring over time - industrialisation brought with it changes but human society coped after a period. Automation will bring with it many changes, but society will adapt, incorporating automation as it goes forward. 


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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.


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Bala R Subramanian

Create solutions that transform, delight and empower everyone.

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