Of robots and so forth

I traveled to the beautiful Latin American island, attracted by a historical CIAT meeting and the promise of a title: The human factor: the brain of the tax administration (Human resources selection, management and capacity building). I am one of the oldest “factors” involved in the topic of the assembly.

I was greatly surprised to listen to some administrations that pay heed to the expectations of their operators to last 30 years in their active life. As well, those which maintain aged and outdated generations to extrapolate surpassed experiences and communicate them to the new generations of designers, data scientists and engineers, or devote budget to their adaptation to the technologies that substitute the obsolete processes.

I have always thought that the unlimited guarantees of man’s stability in the administration or the conversion of their facilities into children’s nurseries constitutes obstacles to the development required by management for adapting it to a future as close as well as threatening for society.

Not to mention some administration that said it had “frozen” staff with undesirable background or indexes to overcome provisions that shield their labor stability. There is no valid justification for an organization to keep human staff with indications of corruption because the legal rough tracks prevent them from getting rid of them.

On the other hand, I do not recall having heard about the restrictions of processes such as recovery that obliges to keep the human factor detained in the past, to the detriment of the recovery of the lost credit.

It would seem that the aging of the staff, the modern gender trends, and the happiness of the operators or the definition of the career lines are of greater concern to certain administrations than the informality that corrodes institutional management before their sight and patience.

Some observations of the interesting meeting that pervaded my memory and mainly the blog wherein you hinted at a better future for the institutional objectives, motivated some reflections originating from my professional concerns and while apologizing for their extension, I will now relate, Raul.

During my long life, I had the opportunity to witness the most important transformation of human activity since the industrial revolution: which has developed electronics, artificial intelligence, control engineering and others that have given origin to robotics and fundamentally to Internet. This gave way to my thoughts and expectations of a Utopian future.

Since the beginning of my tax profession, a perhaps excessively rigorous synthesis made me believe it was the tax obligation the one in charge of collection, while the administrations devoted their activities to dissuade tax noncompliance supported by three iron columns: information, interpretation and control.

INFORMATION to respond to the requirements of the programming of the State’s Treasury; CONTROL to establish the veracity of the contribution and dissuade noncompliance and INTERPRETATION to clarify opacities of the legal rule that defined the obligations.

I thus began to dream Utopias:

  • A logical diagram – clear and objective legal decisions – that would summarize the tax obligation would render interpretation an unnecessary function.

  • The control function would be discarded by the community’s positive response to its obligations, generated by solidarity founded on the conviction that it is thus required by: a state service that responds to their requirements; the fair distribution of income; the equity of the tax burden and acceptable compliance costs.

  • Remaining unharmed in any case, the information function, sole purpose of the administration, which outlasts the policy and management errors and difficulties imposed by reality.

The current trend of the administrations and its projection toward the future could promote an administrative awareness wherein the intellectual rigor of the definitions of a legal nature, voluntary compliance with the obligations and the technology to support the State Treasury’s information would play the leading role in the change.

But reality is different; the basic functions of the administrations are nullified by manual processes that require for their operation numerous and scarcely trained staff, which incorporate to the original errors of the information that supports them, their own errors, thereby converting the validation of consistencies and congruences into painful restrictions to compliance with the institutional objectives.

Currently, the administrations may have available robotic technology capable of substituting the less qualified human labor to strengthen their capacities and to some extent, they have done so, and thus we could go over their processes:

 

  • The taxpayer assistance service responds to an axiom: THE BEST CONTACT IS NO CONTACT and it is thus shown by the service currents in the webs of the administrations.

  • It is possible to virtually structure the identity and location of the economic operators if one electronically coordinates the data transfers from the individual and corporate, as well as the properties and business registries.

  • The production at the place of origin as well as the entry of information of activities in the administration are carried out by electronic systems that facilitate obtaining and virtually validating data for the administrative assessment of the obligations.

  • It could be said that technological advances of the financial system ensure a virtual behavior for the registration of payments.

  • El almacenamiento de la información recibida ofrece condiciones para el registro de volúmenes inimaginables en la nube.

  • Data scientists have the capacity for understanding and analyzing the real phenomena for posing the evasion hypothesis in substitution of the old and limited selection processes, to replace them with others derived from the interpretation of the stored data and detect with high objectivity the inconsistencies and illegal incongruences.

  • Without prejudice to the fact that persuasion is better than the sanction, the virtual notification of sanctions implies making noncompliance onerous by means of amounts that lead to processes that dissuade payment or admit enforced collection almost without objections.

La función de cobranza es otro capítulo, para muchos países de la región la participación de la robótica en ella es muy limitada, no son muchas las administraciones que tienen capacidad coactiva para recuperar por sí el crédito perdido, para ejercer sus derechos recurren a obsoletos sistemas judiciales limitantes de las posibilidades de cobro. Millones de deudas por diferencias y sanciones, se acumulan en algunas administraciones sujetas a penosas acciones de confirmaciones de saldos morosos, persuasivas al pago o archivadas en las secretarias de los juzgados.

La cobranza – función de efectividad para el recupero del crédito – y el completamiento de las funciones disuasivas, aparece en varias instituciones, atascada en un laberinto de errores si no de intereses en los que los hombres tienen mayor protagonismo que los sistemas y los procesos recaudatorios.

De todos modos, parece claro que el mar en que han comenzado a navegar las administraciones, está repleto de corrientes tecnológicas que tienden a sustituir la mano de obra de menor calidad por otra más especializada para el mantenimiento de los procesos en marcha derivada de la creación y abastecimiento del software. Las naves espaciales suelen cumplir mejor sus objetivos de navegación cuando no se las tripula.

La gestión debe apoyarse en sistemas y procesos que requieren conocimientos y creatividad de profesionales, que llevan a las administraciones a anticipar una gestión virtual desprendida de procesos manuales operados por elementos sindicalizados con más derechos que obligaciones, que necesariamente deben ser sustituidos en la ininterrumpida sucesión de los avances tecnológicos por otros profesionales de capacidad distinta.

La burbuja de confort o el espacio para las larvas terrestres era la opción para Ray Bradbury para quien el futuro estaba más cerca allá por los 1953…

Todo mi respeto para aquellos seres humanos que participan en las actividades de recaudación de impuestos y orientan sus vidas en beneficio de la sociedad, actualizándose en los medios que el hombre va creando para una mejor calidad de vida de la especie en comunicaciones o en servicios apoyados en tecnología, estimulando a la población joven a emularlos.

Raúl, creo haber entendido tu mensaje, el CIAT contribuye a la metáfora del robot, muchas administraciones han avanzado y sus tendencias auguran un porvenir mejor.

A partir de la globalización y los acuerdos de información, “la tierra es plana” y no requiere ser recorrida por auditores, la robótica podría encargarse de ella.

He de recordar por siempre en la vida, la presencia histórica del CIAT en la bella isla.

The recovery function is another chapter. In many countries of the region, the participation of robotics therein is very limited. There are not many administrations with coercive capacity for recovering the lost credit by themselves. To exercise their rights they resort to obsolete judicial systems that limit the collection possibilities. Millions of debts due to differences and sanctions are accumulated in some administrations, subject to distressing actions of confirmation of delinquent balances, persuading payment or filed in the secretariats of the courts.

Enforced collection – effective function for recovering the credit –and completing the dissuasive functions, appears in various institutions, bogged down in a labyrinth of errors, if not of interests, wherein men have greater prominence than the systems and the collection processes.

Anyway, it seems clear that the ocean wherein the administrations have begun to sail is full of technological streams that tend to substitute lower quality labor for another more specialized in order to keep the processes on the go derived from the creation and provision of software. Spaceships tend to better fulfill their navigation objectives when they are not manned.

Management should be based on systems and processes that require knowledge and creativity of professionals that lead the administrations to anticipate virtual management detached from manual processes operated by unionized individuals with more rights than obligations, who must necessarily be substituted in the uninterrupted succession of technological advances by other professionals with different talent.

The comfort bubble or the space for the land grubs was the option for Ray Bradbury for whom the future was closer way back in 1953…

All my respect for those human beings who participate in the tax collection activities and direct their lives toward the benefit of society, by updating themselves in the media which man creates for a better quality of life of the species in communications or in services supported by technology, while stimulating the young population to emulate them.

Raúl, I think I understood your message. CIAT contributes to the robot’s metaphor, many administrations have moved forward and their trends forebode a better future.

As of the globalization and the information agreements, “the earth is flat” and does not require to be traveled through by auditors, robotics could take care of it.

I will remember forever in my life, CIAT’s historical presence in the beautiful island.

 

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