So here is quite an interesting article about the use of robots to replace humans in the workplace.
“Just give it electricity, and a robot can work for long hours, even doing repetitive work, and you don’t have to worry about labor laws,” Sudo said.
I can see the appeal from the business perspective but my first personal reaction was negative. It’s bad enough to be greeted by a less than enthusiastic (some might say robotic) employee, but what about being greeted by an actual robot? Anecdotally, but from hours of user tests (albeit in Europe), being able to talk to a human being is still important to customers. For example, people are reassured when they able to easily identify the phone number for a company on a website, even if they won’t really use it.
Where would we europeans sit on the robot receptionist in a hospital debate?
Robots are very popular in Japan partly because of the popularity of “manga” comics and animation that portray robots as friends and aides to humans.
One of the things I am interested in are these aspects of multi-cultural design. Would we, as european consumers, be pleased to deal with robots instead of humans? What affect would it have on the customer experience and willingness to engage with a business? For the balance of the books the labour savings may not cover the impact.
In the interest of being positive about advances in technology where do I think robots have a place? er…I’ll have a think and revert!