Offshoring Automated Away?

from the and-so-it-goes... dept

While the whole offshoring debate seems to have quieted down over the last few months, one thing that was never explained clearly was why people who have no problem with jobs being automated out of existence (progress!) were so upset about offshoring. However, those who recognized the parallels may be amused to see that offshored call centers are getting increasingly worried that the latest speech recognition technology is a “threat” to their business. The latest versions of the technology are actually doing a decent job of handling basic call center tasks (without hold time, and with a more uniformed, accurate response level). In the meantime, we’re still wondering what the difference is between the anger against automation (luddites) and the anger against offshoring?

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Comments on “Offshoring Automated Away?”

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dorpus says:

The non-English world

So far, the notion of jobs getting outsourced has been largely unique to the English-speaking world. In other countries like Japan or Germany, which is not spoken widely outside of the country, no outsourcing to speak of has occurred. Sophisticated speech recognition will be the first time that call center jobs will disappear in those countries. For now, young people still have this attitude that they can get temp jobs when they want, therefore they don’t have to take life seriously. It will be nice to make them fear starvation.
This happily unemployed 24-year-old on Japanese TV
describes his day: (from top) sleep, eat, bathe, sleep, TV, lunch at convenience store, TV, sleep, bathe, dinner at convenience store, lounge around in room, sleep.

Danno (user link) says:

Different Reasons

Most tech workers aren’t upset about being downsized by technology because they know that there’s nothing that can stop it from happening. New technology comes out and somebody loses a job. And since they’re tech workers, they appreciate how hard it is to stop technological innovation.

Outsourcing to another country however is a near totally social condition. Yes, some technology is involved (instant communication), but for the most part, it’s a human decision rather than a progressive necessity.

You shouldn’t treat everything like a force of nature because then you’re just a reactionary and will always be caught behind the curve.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Different Reasons


You are such a dick.
this is the most slanted blurp you’ve ever posted.
Automation and human replacement are not the same things.
If your job were offshored to some idiot that couldn’t write in English I would gather that you too wouldn’t be too pleased.
Stop being so fucking pro-offshoring and stick to the topic @ hand.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Different Reasons

Ah. Well, if you read what I actually write, you’d realize I’m not “pro-offshoring.” I actually think most companies that do it are making a huge mistake — moving critical components of their business somewhere where they have very little control over it. I think most businesses that offshore underestimate the costs of managing an operation halfway around the world.

That said… what I’m against is protectionism… as that only serves to destroy the economy. If offshoring makes a company more efficient, it often leads to many more jobs in the original country.

It is, clearly, the same thing as the issue with automation. It’s all about moving work to something cheaper or more efficient. You can make the claim that it isn’t cheaper or more efficient — but you can’t say that in cases where it is that it’s a bad thing.

Also, as I’ve said plenty of times before… if my job was somehow “offshored,” then so be it. I’d know it’s time for me to adjust and find a different job that can’t easily be offshored. That’s my responsibility. No one deserves a job for life.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Different Reasons

The difference I see is in where the money spent to implement the “cheaper solutions” winds up. From a U.S. perspective, an automated solution will (most likely) have the expenditures wind up with another U.S. company providing the technology. Offshoring moves the expenditures, read $$$, to non-U.S. companies providing the service. Comparatively, I’d rather see the money stay in the good old U.S.A.

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