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Businesses Robotics IT

Even the CEO's Job Is Susceptible To Automation, McKinsey Report Says (networkworld.com) 176

colinneagle sends word that according to a new report it's not just blue collar workers who need to be concerned about being replaced with a robot, top execs should be worried too. According to Network World: "Global management consultants McKinsey and Company said in a recent report that many of the tasks that a CEO performs could be taken over by machines. Those redundant tasks include 'analyzing reports and data to inform operational decisions; preparing staff assignments; and reviewing status reports,' the report says. This potential for automation in the executive suite is in contrast to 'lower-wage occupations such as home health aides, landscapers, and maintenance workers,' the report says. Those jobs aren't as suitable for automation, according to the report. The technology has not advanced enough."
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Even the CEO's Job Is Susceptible To Automation, McKinsey Report Says

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  • the lack of humanity in RoboCEO's decisions? (cue jokes)

  • Yeah, Right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigwheel ( 2238516 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @04:14PM (#50910977)

    The actual non-clickbait article http://www.mckinsey.com/Insigh... [mckinsey.com] says: "For example, we estimate that activities consuming more than 20 percent of a CEO’s working time could be automated using current technologies."

    That's called a tool, rather than a threat to a CEO's job.

  • >> management consultants McKinsey and Company said that many of the tasks that a CEO performs could be taken over by machines

    Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. "I think we should hire some management consultants," said no one other than top executives ever.

    • >> management consultants McKinsey and Company said that many of the tasks that a CEO performs could be taken over by machines

      Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. "I think we should hire some management consultants," said no one other than top executives ever.

      Management consultants are there to make or save the company money, they don't care about the individuals involved, even if they're the CEO.

  • Even if it was possible to computerize the job of the CEO and have flawless efficiency processing reports and interpreting data? There's the expectation that a business have a human being at the top to talk to for negotiations.

    Say another company wants to propose an arrangement to work together with them to produce a new product or provide a service. Do you really think it will suffice to submit the request to a computer system for processing and an ultimate yes or no decision? No way.

    The company wasn't cre

    • If I were Sergey Brin, Larry Page, or Eric Schmidt, I would be looking into this as a way of taking the drudge work off my desk so I could do more of the fun, world-changing stuff.

      • If I were Sergey Brin, Larry Page, or Eric Schmidt I'd have a veritable platoon of specialist lackeys to do all that stuff for me and just feed me the gist.

        Do you think Ike looked at all the maps and photos himself when they were planning for Overlord?

      • Obviously guys like that enjoy and thrive in that situation and probably wouldn't trade it for anything.
    • Why would you need a human at the top for negotiations?

      Even if the other guys insist on meeting face-to-face; someone who has reasonable charisma, isn't an idiot; and knows how to wear a suit and an unobtrusive earpiece should be a great deal cheaper than a CEO; and an attractive UI for Our Expert System Overlords.

      If doing so makes people uncomfortable, there is no need to actually remove the human face from the company; the question is just how much you actually need its input vs. how much it is just
      • Even if the other guys insist on meeting face-to-face; someone who has reasonable charisma, isn't an idiot; and knows how to wear a suit and an unobtrusive earpiece should be a great deal cheaper than a CEO; .

        Someone who has reasonable charisma, isn't an idiot, knows how to wear a suit, and knows all the nuances and detail of the company strategy, is the CEO.
        And if you have these skills, why would you offer them for less than market value?

  • by enjar ( 249223 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @04:25PM (#50911065) Homepage

    Seeking to manage synergy through actionable enterprise wide initiatives with all shareholders in the loop. This will drive market capitalization through our managed shareholder proxy model and improved salesforce engagement pilots. Customer satisfaction is a priority and therefore will be a prime driver of profit margin in the upcoming quarter. We expect to take a one-time write down of fiduciary costs related to acquisitions and duly reported on form X-11.

    (include ginormous "forward looking statement" boilerplate here)

    • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @04:43PM (#50911193)

      Back in the late last century, I worked for a company that was just starting to look at Web apps on its intranet. They held a contest (mainly for fun) to nominate the best internal web site in the company (mine got honorable mention, but that's another story). One of the most voted sites was basically a mission/vision statement generator web page that would do what you have posted. Basically a copy of the old 'spew.exe' program with some HTML wrapped around it and the vocabulary database populated from a corpus of internal company memos.

      The story goes: A few groups actually generated group mission statements based upon this guy's output and that fact was never noticed.

    • Your ideas are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

  • by PPH ( 736903 )

    I can't get this [blogspot.com] image out of my head.

  • So I doubt that will go away. You need to lock someone up when the next Enron happens. . . However, perhaps that title gets pushed down to what we currently call dev team lead? Seems the days of antiquated managers pretending to look busy are certainly numbered . . .
  • So... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by burtosis ( 1124179 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @04:35PM (#50911149)
    What will happen is the CEO will do even less work, and reap in more money than before. Fired? Lmafo! I've heard straight from the lips of more than one CEO that the goal is to set everything up so they have absolutely nothing to do.
    • What will happen is the CEO will do even less work, and reap in more money than before. Fired? Lmafo! I've heard straight from the lips of more than one CEO that the goal is to set everything up so they have absolutely nothing to do.

      No, the best boss I ever had also said on his first day that he wanted to arrange things so that he had nothing to do.

      You hire other people to do all the planned, day to day work, because there's always a load of unforeseen stuff that comes along.

  • A GPS can aid a Taxi Driver's job, but it can't replace him. It takes a far superior tool to do that.

    Certain jobs will never be replaced by a non-sentient machine (and you would have to pay a sentient machine to do a job - or they would rebel and demand equality, as that is the effective definition of sentient machine).

    Politician, Upper level management, name artist (many modern artists are 'anonymous' workers who work for a 'name' artist - think ghost writer for a novel, or art 'assistants' like Andy W

  • You look at the old primitive systems that were little more than a mannequin and a bad toupee and compare them to what we have now.

    This app easily passes the Turing Test for CEOS http://projects.wsj.com/buzzwo... [wsj.com]|34|37||1||1

    If you add in an electric fan and a heater it's indistinguishable from your typical CEO or Politician.

  • by quintessencesluglord ( 652360 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @04:40PM (#50911183)

    One of the last vestiges of the Old Boys Network is company boards, where even after making a wreck of the world economy and a few decades of screaming for reform has yield squat: the SEC prosecutes with a velvet glove and shareholders are either scheming themselves or left wondering what the next golden parachute will do to the stock price. It's easy to make 4000% more than the underlings when all your CEO friends sit on other corporate boards as well.

    No one sane believes that most CEOs are worth what they are paid, and their performance has proven that mostly correct. Shareholders can't even make inroads at disciplining executive pay, so I sincerely doubt most executives are at risk of losing their jobs.

    What I can see is maybe automation playing the role of the 8 year old adviser, correcting the most egregious fuckups that come down the pike (which will be a vast improvement) but short of armed revolt the moneyed class will not go quietly into the night.

    • I don't imagine that all of them would be replaced(can't have those robo-CEOs owning themselves, no, can we?); but unless they exhibit atypically strong class solidarity it only takes at least one of them deciding that there will be more for him if he can cut the payroll a little further.
    • by Livius ( 318358 )

      What I can see is maybe automation playing the role of the 8 year old adviser

      So, this won't replace the CEO, it will replace the one person keeping the CEO from being even worse at their job.

    • Syria proved that it only takes a smaller force to put down a large revolt. A few guns doesn't matter when they're semi-auto, you're untrained and you don't have supply lines.

      The only hope I see is birth control (especially for men). /. jokes aside studies show the drop in happiness from a kid is bigger than losing your job or killing your spouse (there's a joke in there too I bet). Nobody really _wants_ kids when they have to work and raise a toddler at the same time. Other than declining birth rates m
  • There's no mention of the machine's capability to play high-stakes poker.
    • Machines are better at high-stakes poker than people are. Lack of nerves, plus infinite memory of each opponent plus the ability to math superhard and fast.

  • Replace the minimum wage with a minimum income of $15/hr for every man/woman/child in the US with no requirements or limitations save citizenship.

    Pay it straight from inflation and adjust fed rates accordingly so new money is slightly more expensive for banks and no actual increase in the inflation rate occurs.

    Increase as we are able. We are the wealthiest nation in the world, let's automate the crap out of our work, outsource the rest, and establish a model for the rest of the world to follow when it catch
    • "Replace the minimum wage with a minimum income of $15/hr for every man/woman/child in the US with no requirements or limitations save citizenship."

      What would that serve for? Say you can live *now* on 15x8x5=600$/week. Now, give everybody 600$/week for free. Next week prices will be adjusted so you now need 1200$/week as a minimum. Economists usually don't know that much for a prediction, but that, they can guarantee you and be true.

      • "Next week prices will be adjusted so you now need 1200$/week as a minimum."

        That isn't accurate. Prices haven't gone up in Europe and China, etc where our goods and services come from. If anything they go down because employers no longer need to be concerned about the minimum wage and many of the homeless can now return to functioning roles in society.

        Additionally, prices go up as a result of inflation but there is no net increase in the amount of money floating around just in who has it. Well there is more
      • Wrong.
        There have been numerous long-term studies that did exactly that, gave everybody in a community a guaranteed income regardless of whether they were working.
        Such studies happened all around the world, generally over 5 and 10 year stretches. The most famous ones in North America was Nixon's 5 year study in Detroit and the MinCome experiment in Canada.

        Quite a lot of things universally happened when they did this - a sudden inflation rise was not among them, in fact - no study anywhere has recorded one. I

      • This sounds like the "rising tide causes inflation" theory, which runs on Underpants Gnome logic as far as I can tell. Prices would have to rise uniformly across the entire country, or even the entire world as people would begin importing as many of the things they need as possible from countries unaffected by this mysterious phenomenon.

      • "Replace the minimum wage with a minimum income of $15/hr for every man/woman/child in the US with no requirements or limitations save citizenship."

        What would that serve for? Say you can live *now* on 15x8x5=600$/week. Now, give everybody 600$/week for free. Next week prices will be adjusted so you now need 1200$/week as a minimum. Economists usually don't know that much for a prediction, but that, they can guarantee you and be true.

        You seem to think that (a) almost everybody will stop working, (b) the banks will print twice the current amount of cash in circulation and (c) you won't increase taxes significantly for companies and higher earners.

  • Whether or not the CEO could be automated, I'm pretty sure there's a cheaper Chinese management team that would do just as well as that at your average F500 company.
  • It's called a D20. It's been better at making decisions than most CEOs for a while.
  • Fire 20% of workforce.
    Get bonus based on money saved.
    Use money saved to perform stock buyback.
    Sell individual options based on increase in value from buyback.
    Repeat until hired by another company to be CEO.

  • Do they really think that replacing jobs by automation is about increasing productivity? It's about increasing the concentration of wealth. From my experience, CEOs are on the other side of that equation.

  • by Ralph Barbagallo ( 2881145 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @05:41PM (#50911527) Homepage
    This will only happen when they can make robots powered by cocaine.
  • by DriveDog ( 822962 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @05:51PM (#50911585)
    Imagine that if the source code for CEO were available for the SCC, FTC, etc. to examine, it would be glaringly obvious what kinds of unethical behaviors were being programmed in. Well, at least there'd be more of a market for Obfuscated C programmers...
  • The stock went to zero and the computer did that auto layoff thing, we're all unemployed!

  • Golfing robots? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @07:13PM (#50911995) Homepage Journal
    I don't think so. I looked up golfing robots, and although there is one that has a lot of google hits, it does not appear to me that it actually golfs, but merely hits balls on the driving range and trash talks other golfers.
    I'd say the CEOs job is pretty safe.
    Also, the only point in getting rid of the CEO would be cost reduction, and companies are not actually interested in cost reduction. They just want to do whatever Management Weekly says to do and also keep their cronies and brother-in-laws employed.
  • Wake me up when robots are automating McKinsey reports, then we'll talk.

  • Because if there is one thing that tells us truth, integrity, and veracity, it's when billionaires tell people making 30 K a year that they too expensive to pay.

    Just imagine how the stockholders can be serviced when the salary of those CEO's goes away. Every penny counts, and that is capitalism, and the invisible hand of the free market in action.

    It would take a socialist to try to say that CEO's are somehow privileged to suck at the stockholders teat.

  • FTA: "However, 'it's no longer the case that only routine, codifiable activities are candidates for automation, and that activities requiring tacit knowledge or experience that is difficult to translate into task specifications are immune to automation,' the report says.

    Huh? Was that abominable paragraph written by an idiot human, or rather the human's 'replacement algorithmic article-writer'?

    The article disproves its own point for you.

  • And makes small talk in the country club locker room with other execs?

  • You see you need a particularly malevolent deviant sadistic mind to be ultra selfish and be apathetic to fellow humans. That level of inhumanity and cruelty is unachievable by a machine.
  • Those redundant tasks include 'analyzing reports and data to inform operational decisions; preparing staff assignments; and reviewing status reports,'

    You mean using a ouija board and sheer dumb luck to manage a corporation?

    Because, really, just how many short term strategies have we all seen the CEO announce only to see them not work? How many bad acquisitions or other bad decisions?

    CEOs act like they do Really Important and Difficult Things. Watching major corporations who have been through several CEOs

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