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What Not to Automate

During a talk at DevOps Days Seattle the speaker stated “Automate as much as you can”. While this seems like an obvious statement at first blush, on further inspection there are a number of exceptions to this rule, begging the question: What shouldn’t I automate? This talk will give you a framework for deciding whether something is worth automating. We’ll discuss:

  • The return on investment of time to automate
  • The ethical considerations of automating particular tasks, such as hiring
  • Things that require humans intervention
  • And more!

We’ll consider this question through the lens of economics, business, ethics, and psychology to explore the wide world of automation and it’s consequences.


Lucy Wyman

Lucy Wyman, OSU Open Source Lab

I’m a software engineer for Puppet, where I’m currently working on our open source remote task runner Bolt. I graduated from Oregon State University with a BS in Computer Science in June 2016, where I worked as a Front-End Engineer for the OSU Open Source Lab. In my free time I enjoy hanging out with friends, hiking, experiencing new things, and enjoying a wide variety of podcasts, tv shows, blogs, books, and other media.

You can see more of my work at and See conference presentations I’ve given at Or read my thoughts at