I recently read on Harvard Business Review that robots are now becoming managers. All I can say, is that I hope they get paid well. After work, the robots hang out at a bar that specializes in “oil tasting.” No, not olive oil either. Just kidding about the oil tasting. The robots only use a highly refined type of synthetic “designer oil.”
Robot managers are better than humans in various ways.
1. You can’t have a personality conflict with a robot, unless you program it to have a difficult personality (which would be interesting.)
2. Robots can analyze large amounts of data to come up with good decisions that would be too vast for a human to compile.
3. Robots don’t mind working overtime just as long as they get their union mandated 15 minute oil break.
4. Robots don’t quit their job or have maternity leave so long as you hire a guy robot with a solid work ethic (and solid circuits.)
5. Robots don’t make intuitive decisions based on biases. Decision making would be more fair.
6. Many human managers are mediocre and fail to inspire their workers which leads to disengaged workers.
In my opinion, disengaged workers are the biggest problem that management has to deal with. The biggest part of the problem is that workers don’t feel appreciated or part of the team. Personality clashes or lack of compatibility are part of that. Having a robot doesn’t seem to solve this problem as a robot cannot stimulate that joy of working on a team with other humans.
I personally feel that robots should be used to assist managers at managing, but should not replace them completely. With more robot managers to help out, you might need less human managers. But, the main theme that I have seen in management is the ability to choose the right people, train them and bring out their best. A lot of bringing out someone’s best has to do with how often and how well you interact with them. A robot cannot interact with a human in a meaningful way unless you can program a personality into it (which might be a reality sooner than you think.)
It seems clear that a robot manager could decide purely based on numbers what to do, when to do it, and the most efficient way to do it. But, human concerns require a more intuitive touch that a robot would only be able to handle the numerical side of. So, yes, let’s use robots, but use them in proportion and use them the right way!
By the way, this blog entry was not written by a robot!