Many bosses are often accused of megalomania and a distinct lack of empathy with their fellow man, which at times can make them appear quite inhuman; but would we really prefer to work for machines than flesh and blood?
Apparently so! New research has claimed humans; that’s us, would rather take orders from robots than fellow homo sapiens.
In a series of management experiments, researchers were shocked to find that human workers were more content and more productive, when a robot was in charge.
Research from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) suggest that robots should be given more control in the future because they appear to get the best out of their human employees.
During their study, groups of two humans and one robot worked together in one of three conditions.
Condition one was manual and involved all tasks being allocated by the human. Condition two was fully autonomous and involved all tasks allocated by the robot. And condition three was semi-autonomous involving one human allocating task to self and a robot allocating tasks to the other human.
Surprisingly the fully autonomous condition was not only the method preferred by human workers, but it also proved more effective in terms of the task.
Project leader Matthew Gombolay explained to The Daily Mail:
“In our research we were seeking to find that sweet spot for ensuring that the human workforce is both satisfied and productive. We discovered that the answer is to actually give machines more autonomy, if it helps people to work together more fluently with robot teammates.
The workers were more likely to say that the robots ‘better understood them’ and ‘improved the efficiency of the team.”
Just because we seem happier working for our robotic masters, Gombolay is quick to stress that relinquishing control to the machines doesn’t mean a team of psychopathic cyborgs will soon be running the show, hell-bent on dragging the world into a reality not that dissimilar to The Matrix.
“Giving robots control means the tasks are delegated, scheduled, and coordinated via a human-generated algorithm. Instead of coming up with a plan by hand, it’s about developing tools to help create plans automatically.”
It’s all very well, giving machines control, but what happens when our robot bosses decide they’d like to chance their arm at coding their own algorithms, before deciding that other robots would not only be better at obeying orders but also more productive?
It’s an emotional issue. Over to you, Nero.