The IT industry is no stranger to the upside of automation. In fact, if you’re in IT, you've probably encountered a good deal of automation in the workplace over the past several decades. One of the first widespread automation technologies to displace humans, Interactive Voice Response systems are now familiar to anyone who dares to use a phone for technical assistance -- whether it's for checking on your computer, your bank statement, or your kids' lunch money account at school.
More recently, IT automation software like Puppet, Chef, and Ansible can do much of the work that used to be managed by hand, such as configuring servers and handling certain analysis and troubleshooting jobs. As these "virtual engineers" continue to automate routine tasks, it seems only logical that the Machines will decide they want fellow Machines handling this business.
The specter of autonomic computing, “cognitive” tech like IBM’s Watson taking over predictive analysis, machine learning for data analysis, natural language processing -- it's almost as if every tool we create to solve business problems threatens to put many of us one step closer to the permanent unemployment line.