Man Vs Machine Man vs. machine

Technology continues to evolve and advance what can be done by machines. Instead of fighting or fearing these advancements, embrace them.

Welcome to the age of automation. While automation isn’t new to the workforce, it’s rapidly increasing, as machines take over more and more tasks humans used to do manually — and performing them faster, cheaper, better.

Chances are, you encounter some type of automation at work every single day, multiple times a day. Maybe you use recruitment tools that filter through thousands of resumes to find the best candidate. Or marketing and sales software that automates email and social media campaigns. Or AI chatbots that answer customer questions in a live chat. Maybe you generate a document or form with pre-populated responses. Whatever work you’re doing, automation is likely a part of it in some way.

To succeed at work today, you have to be prepared for an automated work environment. And you have to get comfortable with the fact that machines are just better at some tasks than human workers will ever be. But instead of fearing that fact, embrace it. Realize what technology can do better than you, and use it to improve the work you do.

Moving past the fear

While most people can appreciate advancements in machines and automation, they also see it as a threat to their jobs and livelihood. A recent Pew survey says 60 percent of Americans have this belief. But even if you automate 30 percent of an employee’s tasks, as McKinsey Global Institute reports will happen in a majority of jobs, across all industries, by 2030, does that mean the employee is no longer needed? Hardly. What about the other 70 percent of the week?

60% of americans see automation as a threat

30% OF AN EMPLOYEE’s tasks will be automated

70% OF AN EMPLOYEE’s tasks will still need a human

Instead of fearing these advancements, we should really be asking ourselves what new feats we can now achieve with the help of automation and machines. It’s the idea of augmentation, where the work we do as humans is deepened rather than diminished by the use of machines.

And remember, the tasks machines perform are still very limited. Machines can only do what you or a programmer tell them to do. You can hold a long conversation with a humanoid robot named Sophia, where she can detect key words and phrases you’re saying and respond to them using pre-programmed responses — but she doesn’t actually understand what you’re saying.

We’re not close to the day when artificial intelligence and automation can replicate human qualities and abilities like critical thinking, leadership, creativity or empathy. There is still a need for big-picture thinking, problem solving and compassion that computers just aren’t capable of.

The power of machines

Claims can get complicated. Even seemingly straightforward claims can take a turn for the worse. It’s simply not possible for a case manager, assigned to multiple cases, to keep track of everything manually.

That’s where technology and predictive analytics come in. A person might not be able to analyze millions of data points across past claims for insights that can help manage current and future claims. But a machine can.

It can search through mass volumes of data across medical records, notes, documents and claims management systems, checking for indicators of what has driven up claim costs historically — things like opioid prescriptions, back sprains and comorbid conditions like obesity and hypertension. When it finds a current claim with one of these risk indicators, it flags it and alerts the case manager.

The power of the human element

Knowing early that a claim has the potential to be complex helps case managers better manage the claim and change its trajectory so it has a better outcome. By using technology, case managers have the incredible opportunity to intervene in a claim — in a person’s life — before something that can complicate the claim actually happens.

It’s sort of like predicting the future. In a case where a patient has been prescribed opioids for a long period of time, technology can alert a case manager about the situation, and the case manager can pick up where technology leaves off, closely monitoring the claim and using finely honed expertise to prevent an opioid addiction.

With the help of technology taking on some of the work, the case manager has more time to work directly with the claimant, the person, in a way that only another human being can — with compassion and understanding. The case manager cares about more than just numbers and knows that behind every claim is someone’s life. The case manager brings a human connection to help another person get through a difficult time … and that’s not something that can be coded.


Using one of these tools at work? You’re using automation!


What should you do amid so much automation?

Automation and machine learning have made their way to nearly every industry, and technology continues to evolve and advance what can be done by machines. Instead of fighting or fearing these advancements, embrace them. Focus on being innovative, strategic and compassionate in your decisions and actions, each and every day, and find ways to use technology to help you do that. When man and machine are able to do what they each do best, it’s a perfect partnership, where together, they’re able to do things that neither could do on their own.


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Beverly Westover

Well said!

Tracy Preusz

Technology is our built-in assistant . . . . it does the tedious parts of our job so we don’t have to.

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