We're So Petty We'd Rather Take Orders From A Robot Than From Another Person

MIT's study reveals we feel better following automated commands

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© 2017 JD Hancock

Research carried out in MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) suggests that we prefer to let robots take control over human tasks in manufacturing. Apparently it's not just more efficient - it’s more enjoyable. 

Matthew Gombolay, a PhD student at CSAIL, said that the team is looking for ways to make the human workforce more satisfied and productive. “We discovered that the answer is to actually give machines more autonomy, if it helps people to work together more fluently with robot teammates.”

"robots better understood them"

Are we so petty that we can't stand to take orders off another human? Would we rather avoid the complexities of powerplay and save our egos by taking orders from a machine? The researchers bizarrely reported that workers were more likely to say that the robots “better understood them.” Should be we worried?

Gombolay emphasises that giving robots control meant that the tasks were carried out more effectively, and “improved the efficiency of the team.” Perhaps the preference for robots was more about stress and less about ego?

At any rate, Gombolay insists that it doesn't mean that a team of cyborgs will be taking over. The tasks will simply be delegated, scheduled, and coordinated via a human-generated algorithm.

“Instead of coming up with a plan by hand, it’s about developing tools to help create plans automatically,” he said.