Are Robots Ready for Primetime or Not?
Thu, February 2, 2023

Are Robots Ready for Primetime or Not?

Perhaps robots should be passive assistants / Photo Credit: Willyam Bradberry (via Shutterstock)


Karen Lachtanski of digital customer experience news platform CMS Wire writes that robots are too clumsy, impersonal, and unsympathetic for use when human interaction is required. This may change in the future, but physical robots are best suited in B2B environments for now. Robots are more accurate than humans but they are not yet programmed to empathize with humans or make moral judgment calls. It is not always the “best course of action.” Frankly, robots are programmed to make decisions based on pre-defined morals or cost. When it involves human interaction, we don’t trust them to make the right decisions. 

Robots can thrive well in business settings. Businesses serve as a testing ground when introducing or testing human interactions. As robots start to become more mainstream in the business world, incremental learning can help program them to be more human-like “through analysis of terabytes of human decision-making scenarios.” In Lachtanski’s perspective, creating robots that require human interaction to consumers is counterproductive. Any mishaps involving robots lead to mistrust, giving the technology a “black eye.” 

Efforts are better spent on business-related robotics and the AI that is required to train robots until they are well-prepared to be deployed for primetime. Businesses can leverage robots to introduce human qualities and decision-making. Let’s take employees working in manufacturing and logistics as an example. They have been exposed to physical robots who leverage an indoor location system to aid in delivery and parts location. They are great at performing repetitive tasks and providing quality assurance testing. In this case, robots are working with humans but they are not interacting with them. Can they be a testing ground for human interaction? Can the data they collect and the human actions they observe be used to learn how humans behave and make decisions? 

Or should robots be merely confined to the role of passive assistants? For Lanchtaski, the benefits of robots sound murky due to the lack of empathy, including the creepiness or fear factor associated with them.