Major forces are the trends that shape our world. They push our societies, businesses, and governments to recalibrate their decisions and pursue the opportunities they provide. 

For 2022, The Conference Board of Canada decided to examine the major force of automation. In the context of economic growth, automation is defined as the minimization of human intervention in the production process by applying technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT).

As a major force, automation requires organizations to reshape themselves to enter into the future of work. They need to reshape their organization’s structures and practices, become more agile, and redefine their workforce roles. As this major force drives organizations forward, governments must also evaluate the need for automation within their departments and provide governance and accountability frameworks and guidelines for automation in the Canadian economy.

Here are the key findings from the report:

  • From the survey, the most widely adopted forms of automation are quality assurance artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), robotics, and risk management AI/ML. The least adopted are driverless vehicles, automated drones, and AI/ML sensors. However, over a third of the respondents have not adopted any automation technologies.
  • Respondents noted the two largest barriers to adopting automation technologies are lack of investment and lack of time, demonstrating that the most significant impediments are based on a lack of prioritizing automation. However, capability factors (i.e., capital and talent) were not far behind.
  • One in five respondents has no plans to invest in automation, with one in 10 seeing no potential for automation to improve their organization’s market share. This minority of organizations may see increased challenges as competitors adopt new automation technologies and the economy continues digitalizing. Those who have no investment plans are mostly organizations with one to 99 employees, and a large portion of them are in retail trade, accommodations and food services, construction, and other services (except public administration).
  • Many of the automation laggards in our survey are smaller organizations and mostly in service industries. Policy-makers may want to prioritize these organizations for extending automation capabilities in Canada. 

To read the full report, visit the Conference Board of Canada website. 

Source: Conference Board of Canada