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Will Robots Replace Testers?

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Will tools and automation continue to support testing or will robots replace testers in the future? This talk sets the scene and perhaps a direction for the future of tools and automation in testing.

Right now, the software world is going “bot mad”. It looks like many jobs in the next ten to twenty years will be done by bots and those jobs will effectively disappear as career choices. Inevitably, there has been some talk of testers being replaced by bots and tools. The common response to date has been to say, “Impossible!” But I’m not sure such a kneejerk reaction is sensible.

Futurists might suggest the destination is intelligent robot testers. I’m not sure that is where we are heading. The next steps we take will not require sophisticated AI or Deep Learning. But the next generation of testing tools will force a change of thinking and culture. Our goals with tools will change too and we may then have a clearer view of where we are heading. Tools that use ML may then be part of the tester’s armoury.

This talk suggests how we might make sense of the tools landscape of the near future, where the pressure to modernise processes and automate is greatest, and what a new test process supported by tools might look like.


  • We need to take machine learning in testing seriously, but it won’t be taking our jobs just yet
  • We don’t need more test automation tools; today we need tools that capture tester knowledge
  • Tools that that learn and think can’t work for testers until we solve the knowledge capture challenge.


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Editor's Image

Paul Gerrard (Gerrard Consulting, UK)

Paul is a consultant, teacher, author, webmaster, developer, tester, conference speaker, rowing coach and a publisher. He has conducted consulting assignments in all aspects of software testing and quality assurance, specialising in test assurance. He has presented keynote talks and tutorials at many testing conferences around the world and won several best presentation awards.

In 2010, Paul won the Eurostar European Testing Excellence Award and in 2013, won The European Software Testing Awards (TESTA) Lifetime Achievement Award.

He is Principal of Gerrard Consulting Limited and is the host of the Assurance Leadership Forum in the UK.

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