When It's Time for a Robot's Job Review

The presence of robots and other intelligent machines is only going to grow in our workplaces and in our personal lives. While plenty of people worry about robots putting them out of work, another consideration has to do with how we view those machines and their new jobs.

Research shows that we tend to view humanlike robots and software agents as real people, whether they are merely a voice on the phone or are crafted in a humanoid form factor with a face, arms and legs. Or, consider a situation where humans have to evaluate a robot's job performance.

The latter is a topic that MIT Sloan Management Center for Digital Business Research Fellow Michael Schrage has examined in a recent Harvard Business Review article. Will we be disappointed when an autonomous car doesn't drive the way that we do? Is that fair to the robot, or at least its designer? Will a robot in the workplace be held to the same key performance indicators (KPIs) as a human employee? Is that fair to the human employee?

Schrage, author of the books Serious Play, Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become? and The Innovator's Hypothesis, joins All Analytics Radio to discuss some of the ways that dealing with autonomous and intelligent machines will call for changes in our processes and our viewpoints. Designers, managers, owners, and "co-workers" might have to rethink how they deal with machines doing what once were human jobs.

Be sure to bring your questions and comments to the streaming audio page and join the discussion on the All Analytics text chat, Wednesday, April 27, at 1 pm (EDT).

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