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Thursday, January 13, 2022

Human-Robot Teams

Giving systems  levels of automation, like IT today. 

Human-Robot Teams: The Next IT Management Challenge

Productivity can skyrocket when people and robots work together, yet so can human frustration and fury.

John Edwards in InformationWeek

The biggest challenge facing IT leaders managing human-robot teams is ensuring that the work environment has, and can maintain, a spirit of collaboration, says Kamyar Shah, CEO of management consulting firm World Consulting Group. When robots are added to a team, human workers often assume the worst -- that their jobs will be reduced or eliminated. “However, if IT leaders show that robots are put in place to help and not hurt or terminate, this will calm human employees and make them more open to learning and cooperating with the robots,” he says.

Robots have rapidly evolved to the point where they are much more than just a piece of hardware that can perform a few basic production tasks. “IT leaders need to tackle the role of advocating for the business value that these now software-driven machines can deliver in manufacturing and warehousing,” says Jim Lawton, vice president and general manager of robotics automation at inventory tracking firm Zebra Technologies.

Reassurance and support can go a long way toward calming workers' fears, notes Anita Williams Woolley, an associate professor of organizational behavior and theory at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business. “Broadly speaking, the biggest challenge is to establish trust so that the humans perceive the robots as teammates,” she says.

A Matter of Trust

Trust building, whether among humans or between humans and robot teammates, includes cognitive, affective, and emotional components. The cognitive component includes knowing the partner's capabilities; what they're good at versus what their weaknesses or blind spots are. That way you'll know when you can depend on them to carry out work independently, and as expected, versus when you'll need to more closely monitor or double-check what they're doing or how they are doing it, Woolley says.  .... ' 

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