Productivity

People Prefer Robot Bosses, Study Shows

Entrepreneur Staff
Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.
2 min read

Here's a question: would you rather have a human boss or a robot boss? Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found when humans and robots teamed up to perform tasks, people actually preferred it when the robots were in the driver's seat.

The study, which came out of the school's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), looked at the satisfaction of employees in automated work environments. Researchers wanted to understand how to best integrate robotics and new technology into factories that would help workers be more productive without alienating them.

Related: This Robotic Butler Could Make Your Next Hotel Stay...Interesting

The aim of the project was to develop an algorithm that in a manufacturing environment could "conduct on-the-fly replanning, instantly developing an alternate “schedule” for a task" in the event of an unforeseen issue.

The research team studied three different working environments by observing teams of two humans and a robot. One group had all of the tasks distributed by a human, the second had the human assign herself tasks while the robot delegated to the other human in the group and the third had the tasks organized solely by the robot. The participants liked the third environment best.

Related: How Workplace Happiness Affects Your Paycheck

According to a release from MIT, with the third environment, the workers "were more likely to say that the robots 'better understood them' and 'improved the efficiency of the team.'" They explained in their report of the study that the results suggest workers would prefer to be a part of a team that's firing on all cylinders, rather than make decisions about delegating tasks and scheduling, especially if that position would keep them from getting work done.

Tell us: Do the findings of the MIT study line up with how you feel about management and team work? Is the realization of Skynet only a matter of time? Let us know in the comments.

Related: Feeling Unproductive? Blame Your Co-Workers.

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