Following the news that The Reform thinktank said using websites and artificially intelligent “chat bots” could improve efficiency and save billions of pounds – but at huge cost for workers who lose steady jobs.
The technology could remove the need for some 130,000 Whitehall administrators – around 90% of the total – by 2030 and save £2.6bn a year in the process, the report said. IT security experts from Redwood Software and Ricoh UK commented below.
Neil Kinson, Chief of Staff at Redwood Software:
“The implementation of robotics across the public sector will ensure that efficiencies will be gained, simply by “taking the robot out the human”. That is, freeing staff up from repetitive manual tasks to allow them to focus their efforts on more value-add, strategic activities. However, as long as we remain fixated on the idea that robots replace humans, or narrowly define the sets of tasks to which we can apply robotics, the true potential of robotic process automation will be overlooked. Robotics brings the opportunity to completely re-imagine how the entire process is executed – e.g. cash to billing, record to report, procure to pay – as well as the interdependencies between these processes. It’s time for a shift in language on how the ‘robotics revolution’ is defined and explained.”
Chas Moloney, Director at Ricoh UK:
“The rising tide of technology change brings with it seismic shifts to workplace culture, with digitisation and automation becoming core elements of public sector operations.
As the government presses ahead with its paperless agenda in areas such as the NHS, public sector decision makers should concentrate on skills development and training for employees adapting to new ways of working. There can be no complacency when it comes to improving the digital dexterity of the workforce and it’s vital that every effort is made to ensure workers are equipped with the necessary skills to thrive in new digital working environments.”