Why automation requires humanity

Dik Vos
- Technology - Aug 10, 2016

Automation is becoming ubiquitous across most industries, whether it be banking, manufacturing or utilities. One of the biggest areas for automation is in the automotive industry, with the appetite for fully autonomous, self-drive vehicles growing. Earlier this month, automotive giant Mercedes-Benz previewed the potential future of urban transportation by trialling its autonomous CityPilot bus in Amsterdam, in a move it claimed would make public transport operate “even more safely, efficiently, and comfortably”.

This claim is maybe not as flippant as it first sounds. Science fiction films often feature a central computer that is a collective amalgamation of numerous thoughts. But there is no reason for it to remain fiction. An automated vehicle could be the safest on the road were it to tap into a collective driving experience. Think of how you yourself drive home from work, go through traffic lights and circumvent roundabouts; it is all done naturally through a built-up knowledge from experience. Now, imagine that the experiences from all of the drivers in the UK are uploaded into one database and used to drive the automated cars of the future. The automated car would be a driver with millions of years’ experience.

Driven, in part, by the wider trend for digital transformation, automation is here to stay, however thought must be put into quality assurance to ensure that speed-to-market and innovation are not jeopardised by software quality issues. The software behind automation is being developed in agile environments, meaning there are quick and regular iterations of software development. Therefore, thought must be put into ensuring that the quality assurance testing itself is able to be undertaken in a timely manner and continuously at regular intervals.

Whilst it is possible to pool together combined knowledge into actionable digital intelligence that can be used to automate the majority of the quality assurance process, it is important to remember that it takes a human to predict what a human will do. It is never wise to completely remove humans from the quality assurance process.

Dik Vos is CEO of SQS


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