Artificial Bosses and Robot Employees

5 Tips to Getting the Most Out of Your Robotic Workforce. 

So you’ve made the leap to automating part or all of your workforce with robotic employees or “roploys.” Congratulations, you are at the forefront of the robotics movement and are leading the charge forward towards a new era of workplace operations and productivity. However, with this change in the type of employees you surround yourself, there necessitates a change in how you as a manager of your new robotic workforce must lead and guide your team of roploys towards prosperity of your organization.

  1. Treat Them Appropriately

First and foremost, you must understand that a roploy is very different from a traditional human employee and as such, requires a different managerial style. All but the most experimental, high-end roploys are programmed without compassion, guilt, or fear, so your historical necessity to consider empathy and emotional intelligence when managing your workforce can go right out the door.

Remember that the word “robot” is derived from the word slave and you will have an easier starting point as a boss. Kindness, courtesy, and emotion only dilute and confuse your directive to the roploy and lead to potential misinterpretation. Clarity of task is paramount and while your roploy is designed to interpolate sub-steps of your higher-level tasks, specificity will be key to avoiding default assumptions that may go against your wishes. Don’t ask your roploys to do things, command them. Don’t give them feedback, demand better.

  1. The Customer is ALWAYS right

Though this old adage could never be further from the truth when dealing with a calculated, unbiased machine whose consistency and perfection are core to its being, the saying is more important now than it has ever been. With natural human skepticism towards robotic workers and growing support for the People First movement, many of your customers will be wary, suspicious, or even downright hostile to your roploys. This is understandable as people rightly consider robots to be lesser forms of being, and, as we have not quite crossed the Uncanny Valley, the humanoid presence of your roploys generates an expected mistrust of something that feels human, but not quite.

Though your tendency will be to immediately side with your roploy and its patented Contextual Instant Replay functionality, take a moment first to assess the situation and understand how it could escalate. Even in the face of alleged poor service, broken merchandise, harassment of your roploy, or theft, your customers are warranted in their unease and should not be called-out or chastised for risk of spreading negative sentiment or reviews around your business. Remember, your roploys are designed to take the abuse, so don’t be afraid to let a customer blow off some steam.

  1. Don’t Get Jealous

A somewhat awkward point that we should remember is that for a great many tasks, your roploy will be far better suited for the job than you. Beyond obvious things like numerical calculations, chess games, and driving, the list of functions where robots are outperforming humans is already staggering and growing by the day. Specialist roploys are now better accountants than humans. Novel logic engines and unstructured data analysis are slowly making lawyers obsolete. Even the US Military is currently experimenting with an AI General, whose compassionless calls have been dominating human counterparts in strategic war simulations.

The point is, there are going to be a number of times in your role when your roploy will correct you, undermine your authority, or make decisions you disagree with. The key to remember is that this is not being done out of malice, political motive, or a desire to marginalize you, but simply because it is the right call. Void yourself of emotion in these moments and realize that jealousy is simply an archaic response to a system that is trying to help you, sometimes in spite of yourself.

  1. Remember Who is in Charge

Tying to the previous point, a crucial aspect to remember in this new organizational structure is that while you are in control, it is typically your roploys who are in charge. Though settings can be adjusted, the default for most roploys is to engage them in full organizational autonomy based on your mandate. In short, you set the high-level objectives and your team takes care of the rest.

As such, a common pitfall for most new artificial bosses is to become power hungry and micromanage aspects of the day to day operations. While the roploys are indeed yours to control, becoming too involved in operational management can disrupt the optimized structure and workflow the team has generated. There will always be moments where your roploys will come to you for help and guidance, however, outside of these moments, it is best to realize that your main task is to become the trustworthy, human figurehead of your organization.

  1. Keep the Little Red Button Close

And lastly, while most manufacturers proudly claim 99% error free operations, that pesky little 1% is enough to warrant your attention. Though these platforms are superior to traditional employees in many ways, they are not without their bugs and quirks. As such, most current models are supplied with a kill switch to temporarily disengage your roploys in the event of catastrophic failure.

Since the human tendency for these kinds of accessories is to toss them in a drawer and forget about them, most manufacturers have offered their “little red buttons” through a variety of wearable formats – necklets, bracelets, belt clips – to ensure that you keep them close to you at all times. While it will hopefully be a rare occurrence that these buttons ever need to be pushed, you don’t want to be the person with their kill switch in their other pair of pants on the day that the robots rise up, do you?


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