How robot coworkers will impact our emotional well-being

Mar 18, 2019, 8:46 AM EDT
(Source: 4652 Paces/flickr)
(Source: 4652 Paces/flickr)

Talks of an ultimate robot takeover have been a frequent tenant of media columns of late. In the discussions, the loss of jobs to robots and its impact on humans remain the dominant issue, but a new study focuses on the problem with a different perspective.

The study done by academics at Cornell University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem found that human workers — battling it out against their robot colleagues at monotonous, routine jobs — suffer productivity decline as well as deterioration in their self-esteem, notes Fast Company.

In an experiment, the researchers pitted humans against robots to perform mundane jobs and promised a monetary reward for the winner. As the robots excelled at the repetitive stuff, showing no signs of fatigue, errors or drop in speeds, the humans grew more frustrated at their inability to keep up with the competition.

Over the course of the experiment, human workers began using more “self-deprecating words” and gradually showed a resigned attitude, not caring about giving their best shot. The findings probe a relatively overlooked problem — how automation and robotics will affect the emotional well-being of those working alongside robots.