With tech gurus making plans to live forever and artificial intelligence gathering pace at breakneck speed, the future might look a little bleak for mere mortals soon to be replaced by robot workers.
In our darkest moments we might imagine our descendants performing the most menial tasks in exchange for food and shelter — under the all-seeing eyes of giant Elon Musk avatars chanting motivational mantras.
But dystopia might not be the only tech-powered destination for humanity — here are three reasons automation might actually make work wonderful.
No more bad managers
The difference between a bad manager and a born leader feels tangible to their teams.
But too many bumbling bosses cling onto their positions like corporate barnacles — leaving staff languishing in the depths of frustration and underdevelopment.
Leadership requires emotional intelligence and human empathy — skills in short supply for chiefs who split their time between fiddling with spreadsheets and shirking responsibilities.
AI will replace bad managers because it’s better at predictive tasks like staff hiring and onerous administrative tasks like scheduling.
And once ineffective management is deleted, teams can survive and thrive under new instruction from genuine leaders with appropriate skillsets.
So the arrival of AI management might provide a boost for employees who feel driven over the edge by incompetent bosses.
HR departments can find themselves caught in the middle of a complex management and staff interface while they struggle with endless yet important administrative tasks.
But human resources software can provide integrated cloud-based solutions for large-scale admin duties that are faster, cheaper and more efficient.
And people analytics lets HR departments monitor staff stress levels more closely, offering support and advice at crucial moments.
This frees HR to adopt a new role as a department of people’s champions who focus on protecting corporate cultures that humanise all aspects of work and encourage collaborations that smash silos.
So used appropriately, tech and automation can build employee trust and engagement.
And happier, healthier employees are better for the bottom line.
Universal Basic Income
The harsh reality is that as technology becomes more sophisticated, robotics and automation will replace many jobs currently undertaken by humans.
But socially conscious tech firms are amongst the strongest proponents for the introduction of a universal basic income payable to all citizens regardless of wealth.
This could cost less to maintain than the working-age benefits paid out by many western governments.
And it could also support people in developing national who haven’t benefitted from globalisation and have no social security safety net to support them.
It wouldn’t stop the wage gap increasing, but it would provide peace of mind that basic human necessities and dignity are guaranteed to all.
Only careful management and stringent international regulation will ensure that automation slides the world of work further along the spectrum towards a more equitable future.
But these three reasons why automation might make work wonderful should provide some reassurance.
Do you think technology has improved work? Share your views in the comments section.