Best of 2018: Robots in the workplace

Best of 2018: Robots in the workplace

2018 is the year of the robots. Whether they were celebrated for their advanced computing “skills” or fired by their human boss for lack thereof, our robotic newsmakers took center stage.

The rise of the robot CEO
Would robots make a better boss than humans? Nearly seven in 10 workers seem to think so, according to one study. But while employees are enthusiastic about replacing their human boss with a robotic one, the decision making process might still be too complex for a bot to take on. At least for now.

How about robot co-workers?
It isn’t just C-level bots that human workers are eagerly waiting for. In a study by Oracle and Future Workplace, 93% of employees would actually trust an AI co-worker. HR leaders, on the other hand, don’t seem as trusting as their subordinates when it comes to AI and automation.

Man ‘fired’ by machine?
This California-based software developer, who claims he was “fired” from his job by a machine, might have second thoughts about working with robot CEOs and colleagues. The man said the robotic process automation system at his former company executed a series of tasks that led to his accidental termination – and his supervisors couldn’t do anything to stop it.

The misfortunes of Fabio 
Robots have also seen their share of terminations. Just one week into its supermarket stint, Fabio had been fired by Scottish supermarket chain Margiotta. The in-store robot was designed to assist customers, but it reportedly struggled to move around the store and point shoppers to the right products. On a positive note, however, Fabio and other customer-oriented bots may one day lure people back to traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

Collaborative robots a.k.a. cobots
Fabio’s cousins in the automotive industry, however, are becoming smarter and more nimble. Collaborative robots or “cobots” are durable machines capable of industrial work. But they are also designed to move safely around humans whenever workers stand close to them. They have built-in sensors that allow them to “see” objects and people around them.