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Software Robots Are Gaining Ground in White-Collar Office World


two workers at a laptop computer

Research suggests that automation speeds up when economies shrink, leaving firms with less revenue to pay workers.

Credit: Bloomberg

Machines are making inroads into the kind of white-collar office work once thought to be the exclusive preserve of humans.

The latest wave of automation is building on advances in artificial intelligence and machine-learning that allow computers to perform tasks and make some of the decisions that used to be reserved for employees.

With wages rising fast, workers in short supply, and near-record job vacancies, U.S. businesses are racing to automate as much as they can. Companies say they've been able to do it without cutting jobs.

"We're not going to automate people out of the process," says Barbara Humpton, CEO of Siemens USA. "By optimizing automation systems, and by using digital tools and AI, workers have increased productivity at Amberg [electronics factory] by more than 1,000%."

From Bloomberg
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