Autonomous Economy? Not So Much, Yet

Eager to replace people your business processes? Uber is reconsidering its approach to autonomous vehicles after racing ahead with the project in Pittsburgh, the Bay Area, and Arizona, where a fatal accident with an Uber car raised serious safety questions. The company is laying off 100 autonomous car operators after one of them was found to be streaming The Voice during the deadly collision in Tempe earlier this year. However, many of the operators will be retained in other roles, so that Uber doesn’t lose their experience during the trials. Uber isn’t quitting, it’s rethinking how to provide autonomous transportation.

After an Uber self-driving car fatally struck a pedestrian in Tempe, Ariz., in March, Uber paused testing of its experimental vehicles on public roads. On Wednesday, it laid off approximately 100 autonomous vehicle operators.

Here’s the question for all companies thinking about automation: When is it appropriate to put your brand entirely in machine hands? I’d argue the answer is “Never.” People are essential. They add so much to the customer engagement that simple savings on staffing cannot justify their wholesale replacement. In sales, service, and transportation, people represent brands and deal with the unexpected.

The right way to use machine learning for the foreseeable future is to augment people with information, guidance, and inspiration, not to drop them from the customer equation.

Source: Uber Layoffs Signal Hard Look at Public AV Testing

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Gallup Intros The Real Future of Work” Magazine

Gallup, the surveying organization, has launched an intriguing new publication, The Real Future of Work. A data-intensive publication, the first issue addresses European workers’ sense that they will be able to keep up with automation and how workplace assessment programs align with corporate and personal goals. 

The publication is worth downloading for its clear charts explaining national variations on worker confidence. Notably, like many parts of the world, companies are not seen as reliable venues for personal development. For example, only 32 percent of Britons feel they have worthwhile growth opportunities with their current company while 42 percent of French and 60 percent of German workers anticipate career growth in their current company.

Better management is needed, Gallup concludes. At GEG, we think better managers need better data that looks beyond results to leading indicators in order to analyze the resources workers are offered. Great employees with great tools will change management’s role to one of collaborative guidance in which workers develop innovations in customer experience.