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AI

Report: 63% of millennials approve of automation in the workplace

This article is part of a VB special issue. Read the full series: Automation and jobs in the new normal.


According to a new study by the human-centered automation company Hyperscience, 81% of people believe automation can lead to more meaningful work, despite common misperceptions around what automation is, how it’s being used today, and how the U.S. workforce views it.

In its 2021 Automation Pulse Report, Hyperscience found that there continues to be widespread misunderstanding of what automation is. Specifically, while 75% of respondents believe they know what automation is, 55% brought up popular misconceptions when asked to explain that understanding further. Responses included technology existing solely to replace people (17%), automation is a job killer (3%), and conflating AI with automation (10%).

Despite the increasing adoption of automation in today’s digital-first workforce, many respondents did not identify particular benefits and use cases of automation across various industries. While 70% of respondents said automation could add value for the transportation and logistics sector, and 66% believe it adds value for financial services and banking, responses were less convinced of value adds for healthcare (48%), insurance (47%), and government/public sector (45%).

Automation provides more time to focus on valuable tasks. Pie chart. 81% of respondents agree that if automation technology can remove data entry tasks--like manually entering insurance information or details from a handwritten form into a computer--the employee would have more time to focus on more valuable tasks in their everyday job.

One of the bigger highlights from the study specifically focused on millennials, the largest generation in the U.S. labor force today, who are increasingly ready to work side-by-side with this technology. In fact, more than a third (35%) of millennials believe humans and machines can work together and 63% believe automation in the workplace is a good thing — especially if used to alleviate certain work burdens.

Forty-three percent of all respondents agreed with this sentiment, ranking a better employee experience as a result of using automation as the most important part of technological advancement in the workplace. Technology affecting the customer and overall customer experience (34%) ranked a close second, while only 23% of respondents selected the company as the most important beneficiary of technology.

Read the full report by Hyperscience.

This article is part of a VB special issue. Read the full series: Automation and jobs in the new normal.

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Categories
Tech News

Hey millennials, stop ruining emoji for Gen Z

When I saw the news that Apple would be releasing 217 new emojis into the world, I did what I always do: I asked my undergraduates what it meant to them. “We barely use them anymore,” they scoffed. To them, many emojis are like overenthusiastic dance moves at weddings: reserved for awkward millennials. “And they use them all wrong anyway,” my cohort from generation Z added earnestly.

My work focuses on how people use technology, and I’ve been following the rise of emoji for a decade. With 3,353 characters available and 5 billion sent each day, emojis are now a significant language system.

When the emoji database is updated, it usually reflects the needs of the time. This latest update, for instance, features a new vaccine syringe and more same-sex couples.

But if my undergraduates are anything to go by, emojis are also a generational battleground. Like skinny jeans and side partings, the “laughing crying emoji,” better known as ????, fell into disrepute among the young in 2020 – just five years after being picked as the Oxford Dictionaries’ 2015 Word of the Year. For gen Z TikTok users, clueless millennials are responsible for rendering many emojis utterly unusable – to the point that some in gen Z barely use emojis at all.

[Read: How do you build a pet-friendly gadget? We asked experts and animal owners]

Research can help explain these spats over emojis. Because their meaning is interpreted by users, not dictated from above, emojis have a rich history of creative use and coded messaging. Apple’s 217 new emojis will be subjected to the same process of creative interpretation: accepted, rejected, or repurposed by different generations based on pop culture currents and digital trends.