Not only that, but in areas like IT service management, automated responses were also hailed as the solution for reliable, rapid intervention that solved problems even before human operators became aware of their existence.
The problem is that in doing so, these different inventions may have simultaneously removed an important element of job satisfaction, linked to the notion of building and accomplishing. If so, should we try to get this element back?
The satisfaction of building something for oneself is the reason why jigsaw puzzle manufacturers and home furniture “flat-pack” providers continue to exist. Rationally speaking, it would seem that neither served a useful purpose.
After all, why go through the hassle of assembling things, when you can buy them ready-to-use, and often at only a marginal or zero price difference?
The answer is that people (some of them, at least) still need the satisfaction of doing it for themselves, quenching their thirst for knowledge about how things work, and boosting their self-image through their accomplishment.
In IT service management, automation has advanced to a level where “lights-out” operations are almost feasible. By the nature of automation, there will always be an exceptional event or incident that the automated procedures cannot handle, and for which a knowledgeable human must intervene.
However, most humans need time to get back into the swim of things, and the satisfaction of solving a problem may be offset by the effort of trying to remember how things worked in the first place. At some stage, artificial intelligence and machine learning may plug the gap and take humans out of the equation all together.
Until that happens, IT managers may do well to remember that many people need continually to nourish a feeling that they are useful members of an organisation, making a positive and valuable contribution.