Will Automation and Artificial Intelligence Change the Course of Proposal Writing?

What is the future of Proposal Writing?  No one knows for sure and opinions vary greatly.  With automation and artificial intelligence growing at a speed never before seen, most jobs will be affected to varying degrees.  Automation no longer is comprised of one new technology.  It is the product of combining multiple advanced technologies.

The good news is that automation thought leaders believe automation will not eliminate most jobs, but rather, work activities within an occupation will be automated.  And, business processes and procedures will evolve at a much greater pace to adapt to new technology.

Automation has gradually been incorporated into proposal writing for many years.  Examples of the impact of automation include:

  • Software tools that build efficiency, quality and compliance into the process.
  • Improved efficiency results in an increase in the number of proposals that can be bid for.
  • Improved quality increases contract “win rates” resulting in increased revenue.

The concept of artificial intelligence used to create articles, documents, and proposals is a more recent development.  The terms automation and artificial intelligence are often used interchangeably, however the definition of the terms point to different types of human behavior.  Automation builds technology that mimics human behavior.  Artificial Intelligence mimics human intelligence and human decision making, and insight.  For the purposes of this article we will use the term automation.

Can computers be creative?

At the core of the discussion about automation of content writing is can computers be creative?  Historically, content writing was believed to be protected against automation because of the creativity and insight writers need to build into their stories.

Currently, however, multiple projects focused on automating creativity are underway.  Automated Insights, AnalytixInsight, and Narrative Science, are technology companies that use automation to aggregate large amounts of data and compose financial and marketing reports, and report on minor league baseball games.  Aaron, a project by Howard Cohen, is designed to automate original art.  Composer David Cope, teaches computers to create classical music.  In surveys, creative works completed by computers have on occasion scored better than those created by humans.

So How Should Proposal Writers Interpret These Trends?

Automation requires the professional to be in tune with technology changes; engaged in automation in the workplace; extremely flexible to adjust to rapid change; and committed to obtain ongoing education and certifications needed to stay current in the changing work environment.

Career Matters® Technology Framework provides the professional with a 10 question assessment tool that focuses on important questions that keep automation at the center of career planning.

  1. What technologies will impact my occupation?
  2. Which of my work activities may be automated or impacted by artificial intelligence?
  3. How will the processes associated with work activities be changed?
  4. What are the benefits to my industry/sector/company to automate? Quality? Cost Savings?  Productivity?
  5. How fast is technology developing?
  6. What are my resources to keep abreast of technology developments?
  7. How will I need to adjust my career path to keep my skills in line with automation?
  8. What additional education and certifications do I need?
  9. What are my occupation risks from automation?
  10. What are the benefits of automation for my occupation?

The common thread in articles about automated content creation is that computers cannot replace the human connection to the reader.  Ray Meiring, the CEO of Quorus, in his article, “Is Automation Turning Proposal Writing in a Dying Art?”, states that automated content loses the focus on the reader.  “A well written proposal will assure them that your company is the right partner.  That they can trust you to listen and understand them.”

How do individuals respond to automation?

What response do you have when thinking about automation within your industry?  A survey published in February, 2017, by LivePerson, reported that there is an automation disconnect.  “74% of Americans rarely or never worry that automation will take their jobs, but a majority think other professions are at risk.”  The pace of automation in the past leads people to believe this same pace will continue into the future.

How does your response to automation impact your career?  Generally, there are three common responses to automation:

  1. Fear automation
  2. Embrace automation
  3. Ignore automation

Fear Automation:            There is no need to fear automation.  It is broadly accepted that jobs are more likely to change activities and functions than to completely go away.

Embrace Automation:   Become a leader in your workplace for automation projects.  Monitor trends in your industry through engagement with your professional organizations and reading professional journals and leading research.   Watch for industry leading technology being introduced.  Adapt your skills through ongoing continuing education and certifications.

Ignore Automation:        All jobs will have a degree of automation.  Ignoring automation will leave you without the skills needed to perform your job in this new era.

 Research studies:  Automation and the Future of the Workforce

Two studies provide the most comprehensive insights into the impact of automation on jobs.

  1. The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerization

This research was published in 2013 by Carl Benedict and Michael Osborne from Oxford University.  In this study the impact of automation of 70 jobs was evaluated.  From this research they extrapolated the impact of technology on more than 700 jobs.

  1. The McKinsey Study

This study focused on the impact automation in the workplace, and published by Michael Chui, James Manyika and Mehdi Miremadi, in January, 2017.  The McKinsey Study is an analysis of about 2,000 work activities of more than 800 occupations. The study identifies 18 performance capabilities divided into four groups, sensory perception, cognitive capabilities, national language processing, social and emotional capabilities and physical capabilities.  The work activities of each occupation are associated with one or more of the performance capabilities and the impact of technology on each occupation was estimated.

What We Know About Automation

Automation is at the forefront of discussions about the future of all jobs.  Very few jobs will completely go away.  The good news is the focus of automation is now on how specific job functions can be automated, not eliminated.  Jobs and work processes will be redefined based on available technology.  One positive result is jobs will be enriched with more routine, repetitive work being automated.

Career Matters® will continue to monitor and analyze the most credible reports and studies.  We will document work activities being automated, the nature of the automation, and which occupations will be impacted.  We will also report on what new job opportunities are developing as a result of automation.


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