The Future of Automation

The Future of Automation

Currently, automation in the travel business is a positive experience but longer-term there are worries that job roles will need to be changed. Within this blog, we will look back on how technology has evolved and look to what the future may hold for automation…

Looking Back…

Originally only a few big companies could afford a computer system with basic, rigid exchange of data between systems. Technology advanced allowing smaller companies to own “green screen” terminals; fast to use but not integrated with other systems. There was an explosion of systems. Now every company has a transactional web site and back-office system but sadly not working well together. Much of our consultancy work plugs these gaps by automating manual loading. Tailoring systems to user workflow and integrating back-office systems.

Now…

Over the last 5 years the development of ReST APIs (Internet interfaces) has enabled programmatic web access to companies’ services. Companies can grow swiftly by sharing services with external businesses. But APIs have to be designed by expert teams without access to the collective perspective of all stakeholders. IBM opened global API access to the Watson learning machine. Allowing the generation of a wide range of ideas and inputs from all kinds of third-party companies developing an unprecedented range of new services. Businesses grew faster by collaboration – a powerful change in mindset and a big step forward. 

Next 5 years…

Integrating billions of APIs and adding big data from the “Internet of things” seems an impossible task. Yet this is happening in the evolution of intelligent, machine learning bots.

Currently, bots like Siri and Amazon’s Echo understand little and can’t learn. Soon every serious business will have a bot replacing web sites and apps as the way customers interact with their business. 

Bots will make Internet and webmail searching obsolete using natural language. Not rigid APIs – easier to use than any existing technology and impacting every industry. Natural language APIs allow a customer’s data and services to evolve in creative, market-driven ways – a game changer!  Bots will make data and services available for which there is currently no standard API. Such as contract loading and other back office services.  

The next logical step is for each business to have an intelligent bot to expose their products and services. B2B bots will interact creating a bigger ecosystem working with higher bots to create wider ecosystems. This technological evolution mirrors evolution in human commerce and similarly will need etiquette, laws and agreements to make bot society work.

Many job roles will evolve within travel. Commercial functions replaced by revenue and yield management systems, automated back office data loading and front-end sales and marketing using bots. Humans will need to evolve to create and understand future technologies. It will be a challenge not to be left behind although touch points involving human passion, connection and shared experience will still remain essential.

20 years on…

Deep learning bots will ultimately be architected like human brains. These bots will develop consciousness as they reach a critical level of complexity and connectedness.  Super-creatives like Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates have identified the threat of super intelligent bots as a real concern and a quarter of Microsoft’s research is now invested into AI. These factors plus the fact that humans are limited by slow evolution over millennia. Whereas computers evolve over years will mean that ultimately they will become smarter than us. 

Technology will relentlessly drive globalisation but we should not be frightened of the future. Our education system is still grounded in creating industrial workers so we must redress the balance to teach creativity and adapt to the changing technological world. Making it reassuring for us to continue living in comfortable small communities but with global connectedness.

For more information on how you can keep up with the changing times and introduce automation to your business, contact us here.