Automation and identity loss

Everybody automates. And everything can be automated. We are giving up human contact to achieve higher efficiency. Companies will need fewer workers, and most senior managers who are trained to view this through the “shareholder value” lense see this as a great development that reduces the cost base of their companies. As an example, Rune Bjerke, CEO of the biggest Norwegian bank DNB, recently said he is convinced that in 5 years the staff of the bank will be halved. 

For the consumer this means that dealing with the bank is a personalized experience based on collected data and machine learning instead of human interaction. This may be efficient but it leaves less room for flexibility and for a more meaningful and real customer relationship. 

If we push hard on automating everything, the jobs humans do today will be mostly unnecessary. Interactions with firms will be by proxy through computers. We need to start thinking about the path we are taking. Today there is a vacuum in the area of regulations, and generally in the thinking around how people can find purpose in life when jobs are few and our identities can no longer be interchangeable with our professional titles. 

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