It's all about robots. Sometimes, we seem to care more about robots than the humans they are intended to replace. On the surface, it is easy to see why. Robots are faster, stronger, more accurate, less expensive, and less maintenance in the long run. They don't complain, they don't form unions or demand any rights whatsoever. They can be worked all day and night without a break and without overtime. There are no age limits. They can start work the moment they are assembled, and work until they break. They are the perfect worker. Robots are like people that we do not have to treat like people.
What factory wouldn't want to replace some portion of their workforce with these software-powered machines? Foxconn, the company most responsible for assembling the iPhone is looking froward to doing just that. They are putting 10,000 shiny new metal employees in place, perhaps in time to assemble your shiny new iPhone 6. But despite the many apparent benefits of replacing men of flesh with men of steel, there are some very good reasons why software should be used to empower rather than replace humans.
Here are a few:
Humans are more powerful when they are empowered
Computers running the right software simulate intelligence at a very high level. But that is just an illusion. Software isn't smart. The one using it is smart. Software will only every be a very useful tool. It can also never be more than its programing allows. Humans, on the other hand, are intelligent, and get more so when the right tools are available. The human plus software combination can increase productivity and save companies a whole lot of money.
Software solutions can greatly enhance efficiency and streamline the workflow by allowing the skilled user to get more done with less work in less time. For example, ADP.com services allow you to upgrade to electronic invoicing, which saves you two to three times more over paper invoicing. But achieving those savings starts with a skilled account specialist who is then empowered by advanced software.
An empowered human is always more valuable than software alone.
Humans are creative
There are many problems that simply cannot be solved by brute force. Physical and mental braun buys you only so much. The smartest software in the world is incapable of experiencing the empathy necessary for creation that speaks to the core of humanity. But creativity is not just about music and poetry. It is a type of out-of-box thinking that can be applied to all aspects of business. Software is very good at what might be described as straight line or parallel thinking. What computers cannot do is think around corners, read between the lines, come at a problem from a different angle, and when necessary, get completely outside the box. It can never escape its programming to come up with a genuinely new idea. That is the sort of thing creative people do by nature.
We need the imperfections
Finally, we need all of our imperfections that software can eliminate. A face is not beautiful because it is perfect and without blemish. It is the occasional blemish that highlights the beauty. Without the blemish, we wouldn't be able to appreciate the beauty. The same is true of anything that is carefully, lovingly, and humanly crafted. No one is impressed by a piece of clothing that came off of an assembly line. But that same article of clothing crafted by hand, small imperfections in tact, can be worth a fortune.
While it is true that there are some things that can only be done by the precision of software and computers, most things that create an emotional connection do so, not despite the fact that it has human imperfections, but because of it. A business that completely removes the human element from its offerings also removes the possibility of an emotional connection with the end user.
Software, computers, robots: they are all tools that serve the needs of humans. An empowered human will always be more amazing than technology alone.