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An ethical compass in the automation age: Decisions require deep dive into company core values

Apr 15, 2017
From the Advisory Institute

Thrilling possibilities spawn a major dilemma

If used strategically, cognitive automation can augment human knowledge workers’ brain power. —Todd Lohr, principal, U.S. Intelligent Automation leader, KPMG LLP

About 45 percent of the activities people perform in the workplace today can be automated using already demonstrated technology.

While these activities, representing nearly $2 trillion in annual wages, can be automated, should they? Nearly two-thirds of senior leaders reported in a KPMG survey that they are looking at automation and robotics with the specific purpose of reducing their reliance on labor. However, making such sweeping, impactful decisions can’t be taken lightly.

It’s not the first time companies have enjoyed significant advances while also wrestling with them.  —Cliff Justice, Innovation & Enterprise Solutions lead, KPMG LLP

With the right tools, knowledge and attention, technology can be the great enabler. But company and personal ethics must serve as the compass. You are the steward of powerful technology. It’s up to you to use it right.


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Decisions on how to use cognitive automation can have lasting effects on your workforce, on communities and on the entire world. They require digging into a company’s deepest core values. Read this article to discover compelling steps to take and questions to consider when making these tough choices.

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Related insight

For ethical considerations to keep humans top of mind read the Reality Check blog, Busting three intelligent automation myths.

Discover more from Todd Lohr on the subject of digital labor, listen to the podcast Governance and the digital labor workforce.

For more on the impact of digital labor and the automation of jobs on sourcing and service delivery, explore our Digital Labor site to view articles, videos, and podcasts.