Posts Tagged ‘robots taking jobs’

5 Ways to Determine if You Should Hire a Human or Robot

June 2nd, 2014

robot hiringThe robots are coming! The robots are coming! While robots are not actually an invading force akin to the British soldiers during the American Revolution, these mechanical constructs are definitely making a big impact in the modern business landscape.

In fact, it’s hard to open a newspaper these days without seeing stories about people losing their jobs to more efficient robots, such as in factory assembly lines or in emerging plans to use machines instead of people to flip burgers at fast food restaurants.

Benefits of hiring robots include their ability to work long hours without complaint or the need to rest, improved efficiency and more precision in delicate operations.

The rise of robots raises some questions among HR professionals. Will robots eventually take over more “white collar” jobs? How can employers prepare for the coming robot revolution with their hiring practices, and how can they know which jobs are better for robots and which are still more suitable for people to do?

With that in mind, here are five ways to determine if you should hire a human or a robot.

1. Does the job in question involve danger or a higher level of risk? Positions that involve moving heavy equipment or working with hazardous materials are prime candidates for robot replacement. We may even eventually see robotic police officers and military forces to ease some of the burden on our fragile human bodies.

2. Will your industry become increasingly reliant on automation in order to remain competitive? A recent report in Geekwire notes that the online giant Amazon is poised to deploy some 10,000 robots in warehouses across the globe by the end of 2014. Amazon currently uses about 1,000 robots, so this announced increase from CEO Jeff Bezos is likely going to catch the attention of other industry titans seeking to improve their efficiency.

3. Does the position you are hiring for require an artistic background or a high level of creative thinking? These kinds of jobs are not likely going to be filled any time soon with artificial creatures that have no sense of how the world really works.

4. Are you finding it tough to hire people for certain positions because they are boring or too repetitive? Technology Review noted that Aldo Zini of Aethon is developing robots on wheels to transport garbage, food trays, medicine and more in hospitals to free up people from such drudgery. As an added bonus, you should expect to see fewer repetitive-stress injuries in your workforce when you switch to robots for the most boring tasks.

5. What is your client base? You may be serving a population that is too squeamish around new technology, such as the very aged. Even if a robot can do a job faster and better than an ordinary person, you might lose business if the senior citizens you serve are creeped out by mechanical men and their strange noises and disproportional strength.

Artificial brains inside mechanical bodies do not have intuition, empathy and the vast amount of social experience and knowledge of human nature that HR professionals carry in spades. This means that hiring managers don’t need to worry about being replaced by these robots themselves any time soon, even as they cut the labor force with machines to do our most boring and repetitive tasks.