- April 22, 2022
There’s no doubt that automation is on the rise. Many people are now able to automate significant parts of their day-to-day lives, from turning lights off and on, to ordering groceries and even performing complex tasks at work. But what about automating your job? Is it ethical to accept a salary for a full-time position, when you’re actually automating your job, and only spending perhaps one hour a day doing work?
Is It Possible to Automate Your Job?
The answer to this question is a resounding “it depends.” It’s possible to automate just about any task, given the right tools and know-how. However, whether or not it’s ethical to do so is another question entirely.
For example, let’s say you’re a software developer. You could write a script that automation testing for your company’s products. This would free up a significant amount of time that you would otherwise spend manually testing the software. However, is it ethical to do this?
On one hand, automation can help improve efficiency and quality at work. On the other hand, automation also has the potential to take away jobs from people who need them. So, ultimately, the decision of whether or not to automate your job comes down to a personal ethical dilemma.
Should You Tell Your Employer?
This is a difficult question to answer. On one hand, if you’re getting paid for a job and only spending an hour doing it, that doesn’t seem fair to your employer. They are essentially paying you for automation, not your time or effort. On the other hand, however, if you don’t tell your employer and they find out, you could be in trouble. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.
There are some cases where it might be better to tell your employer. For example, if you’re doing a job that is dangerous or requires a lot of training, automation might make it safer or easier for you to do your job. In this case, it might be worth telling your employer so they can make changes to the job or automation itself.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide whether or not to tell your employer about automation. There is no right or wrong answer, but be sure to think carefully before making a decision. Whichever route you choose, be prepared to defend your decision.
There is also a very strong argument that if the outcome is the same as if you performed the task manually, does it matter? Your employer ultimately pays you for the results you provide, and not the time you put it. Many argue that looking at your job as a time expenditure is actually an unhealthy outlook to have.
Selling Time Not Results
The automation of our work is inevitable. It has already begun to happen and will only continue to increase. We should not be surprised when more and more jobs that can be done by machines are automated. This automation will result in increased free time for many people, but it also raises ethical questions about the value of human labor.
Some may argue that it is not ethical to receive a salary for a full-time job when you are only actually working for a small portion of that time. automation may make our lives more efficient, but does that mean we should be paid less for our work? After all, the automation of jobs could result in mass unemployment and economic instability.
Others may argue that it is ethical to automate because it allows us to have more free time. If we can automate our jobs, we can use that extra time to pursue other interests, spend time with family and friends, or simply relax. We should not be slaves to our jobs; automation can help us achieve a better work-life balance.
We should flip the heading around, and focus on selling results, and not time. We live in a world where everything is paid by the hour, and not on the results it brings.
For example, let’s say two people are working in a factory creating a product. Both are paid the same hourly rate. Person A completes 10 products per hour, and Person B creates 20 products per hour. Despite this obvious outperformance, Person B does not receive any additional remuneration. If Person B were to only create 10 products and then take a break for the rest of the hour, would they be in the wrong?
The way societies pay is set up promotes the usage of time and not the usage of output. There are some variances to this. For example, sales jobs are often remunerated based on how many sales they make. One could argue that if more jobs were paid based on performance rather than time, we would see people strive to improve more, and we would see better output from employees.
To bring this back to the topic of automation. Could we, therefore, argue that the employee who has automated 75% of his/her job is actually more valuable than the employee spending 100% of their time completing the job? The employee who has automated the task opens their time up to more projects, learn more, read more, and socialize more. There are experiences outside the day-to-day work that can significantly benefit our work. Therefore, with more time, the employee who has automated their job may ultimately become a far more valuable asset to the business.
Is it Ethical to Automate your Job?
The automation of jobs is something that has been happening for centuries. The industrial revolution saw machines taking over many manual tasks in factories, for example. This automation has continued and accelerated, with computers now able to do many tasks that used to be done by human beings. This automation can free up significant amounts of time for people, but it also raises ethical questions. Is it right to accept a salary for a full-time job when you are actually only spending perhaps one hour a day doing work?
There is no easy answer to this question. Some people would say that it is perfectly ethical, as you are still providing value to your employer by automating the tasks that you have been assigned. Others would say that it is unethical, as you are not doing the job that you were hired to do.
Benefits of Automation
Automation can help to improve efficiency and productivity in the workplace. It can also help to free up time for employees to focus on more creative tasks or tasks that require human interaction. Additionally, automation can help to reduce costs associated with manual labor. A large benefit in many fields is the reduction in human error. Many manual tasks inherently come with error management. When a task is automated, it is possible to almost eliminate all instances of human error.
In conclusion, there is no solid answer. It somewhat depends on where your ethical line is drawn. Some will find automating your job ethical, others will not. To some extent, I think it depends on whether you are secretive about it. But equally, some of us may have employers who just would not understand how automating the job benefits them.
Therefore, the conclusion really is “it depends”. My personal view is that if you can automate your job, you should. However, there are varying factors to consider. For example, if your job could result in harm to others if it goes wrong, you need to be 110% sure that your automation has no possibility of errors.
My ethical boundaries would lead me to conclude that automating your job is ethical, as long as it has no negative impact on other people. If you are just saving yourself time and effort, then I see no issue. Ultimately, if you can be more efficient at producing the results, then how you get that efficiency is somewhat irrelevant.