Do you think we should partner with our robotic counterpar​ts?

I have talked a lot about how apps, robotics and technology are going to disrupt the workforce.

Is it better to join them than to be beat by them?

I’ve talked about how our employees better be trained and developed to be smarter than an app.

A recent article by Reshma Memon Yaqub in BusinessWeek highlighted a new MIT study which reveals when co-working humans and robots cross-train, productivity improves.

Robots already perform rote tasks and heavy lifting alongside humans in the manufacturing world. But increasingly, robots are partnering with people in places as complex and critical as the operating room and outer space

In the study, a human and robot (a big orange mechanical arm) had to work together on a task. The human placed screws in holes and the robot drilled them in. Then, the pair swapped roles, via a computer simulation. Afterwards, the pair returned to their original real-world tasks.

The scientists designed an algorithm that let robots perceive human preferences (for example, whether screws should be drilled immediately or whether they should be done in batches.)

The cross-trained teams were 71 % more productive than teams that used other training strategies. Cross-trained humans also reported a higher level of trust in their wired partner.

Robotics and apps are coming to

If you think about it, it does not matter if we are talking about human teammates or human / robot teams. Getting the right thing done, the right way, at the right time, happens when there is care, credibility and trust between teammates.

If you are not creating exceptional experiences, you better watch out for the robot who is.


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