Self-automation

Sometimes corporate innovation can lag individual ingenuity. A report in The Atlantic this week cites a series of instances where employees have beaten the automation curve. Among the more compelling disclosures was one by a Reddit user who asked, ‘Is it unethical for me not to tell my employer I’ve automated my job?’. The canny coder had reduced a data entry role that would ordinarily take a month, to 10 seconds worth of whirring algorithms. Being allowed to work from home with limited supervision, the employee then put their feet up for 40 hours each week and watched the cash roll in. Another had managed to achieve this same feat undetected for 6 years. Opinion appears divided as to whom the benefit should accrue in these instances, the employee or the employer. If the labour was outsourced then surely the supplier should be rewarded for their efficiency, but when you’re on the payroll it becomes more debatable. The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times both have robot reporters that prodigiously cover matters such as earnings reporting and sporting events. Hopefully no one will find out that I’ve had a bot writing this briefing for the past 50 editions, although the improvements in grammar might be a giveaway.