Want a happy worker? Let the robots take control
21 August 2014
If you’ve seen a sci-fi flick with autonomous robots in the last 40 years, you may be wary of giving robots any semblance of control.
But new research coming out of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) suggests that letting robots have control over human tasks in manufacturing is not just more efficient — it’s actually preferred by workers.
While manufacturers have long recognized the benefits of automation in streamlining processes and freeing humans from tedious tasks, such as aisle-running, there’s always a concern that workers may feel devalued or even replaceable.
Specifically, in the study, groups of two humans and one robot worked together in one of three conditions: manual (all tasks allocated by a human); fully autonomous (all tasks allocated by the robot); and semi-autonomous (one human allocates tasks to self, and a robot allocates tasks to other human).