Okay, this isn’t some sex robot post! I mean those are creepy. This is about your super cool and hip work robots that we’ll all have at some point in the near future because for some reason we can’t grow enough humans to do all the work so we can watch TIkTok all day.
The University of Michigan did a study, which should have you already questioning its validity, because, well, it’s Michigan, but I digress. The study was about the relationship between humans and robots in a work setting and team dynamics:
A new study by the University of Michigan and Sungkyunkwan University (South Korea) researchers indicates that these bonds can be detrimental as workers become more attached to the robot than their colleagues.
Human-robot teams can actually fracture into subgroups functioning more like two competing teams rather than one overall coherent team, the study showed. Much attention has been directed at the positive outcomes of bonding, such as higher work engagement and enjoyment, but few studies have looked at the negative repercussions for team relationships and performance.
In the lab study, 88 people were assigned to 44 teams, each consisting of two humans and two robots, that would move bottles from different points in a competition. The participants answered questions about their performance and connection to their human and robot partners. Among the results: When humans connected more with the robot, a subgroup within the team pairings emerged, which negatively altered the teamwork quality and performance...
So, is it good or bad to fall in love with your robot co-worker?
Turns out, humans get jealous and robots don’t! Within a team setting, if you get tight with your robot co-worker more than your human co-worker, the team performance will suffer!
If you flip the script, and you get tight with your human co-workers, but you don’t get tight with your robot co-workers, the performance of the team does not fall, and actually increases a bit. Why? Because robots don’t give a shit about your feelings! Good or bad. They don’t care if you like them or don’t like them. Now, with advances in A.I. far above what we have now, that might change, but as of today, robots do robot stuff and they do it pretty well.
The funny part of all of this is that we, as humans, can actually think we build a relationship with a robot that is more fulfilling than what you can build with a real human. I guess that shouldn’t be surprising. Most of us would rather spend time with our pets than most people, so spending time with a robot that never talks back and just works really hard, is probably a great alternative to real human co-workers!
What if you’ve already fallen in love with your Robot co-worker?
Well, all I can say is:
Love is love is love is love is love…
Also, don’t push it in Debbie’s face around the lunch room table. That’s never good for team dynamics.