A question that often arises in autonomic computing discussions is what happens to people's jobs and organizations as we evolve IT infrastructures forward towards the autonomic state?
This evolution of the IT infrastructure occurs across the five levels of autonomic maturity defined as basic, managed, predictive, adaptive, and autonomic. An infrastructure cannot evolve from any one of these levels to another simply on a technology basis. To successfully move forward requires adjusting relevant processes and corresponding roles and responsibilities while deploying the latest autonomic capabilities. Failing to spend the required time in reengineering process and roles is a common mistake in many IT based organizations as they tend to be mostly technology focused. This prevents many organizations from leveraging the latest autonomic capabilities and prevents(unknowingly in most cases) the ability to evolve forward.
Roles and processes will change - they must if you are to fully benefit from the latest autonomic technology. Rather than jobs going away this is driving jobs to evolve from ones that have a lot of repetitive tasks into a new set of more interesting roles and responsibilities.
A recent interview with Jeff Kephart of IBM Research entitled Computers That Fix Themselves in Forbes.com addresses fears of those who think they may lose their jobs to this technology: "We're not taking humans out of the loop," says Kephart. "What we're doing is elevating humans to a higher level where they specify what they want in terms that are closer to the business level, which is really what they're interested in, as opposed to the micro level, which is getting into bits and bytes."