Can Humans and Robots Work Side by Side in Harmony?

Can Humans and Robots Work Side by Side in Harmony?

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Humans and robots have been working together for some time now, but will we always be able to work side by side with our electronic coworkers?

Will our interactions with robots always be as friendly as with WALL-E? [Image Source: Pixabay]

Our constant fears of having our jobs taken over by robots are ones that have been perpetuated by movies but also by reality. It is hard to feel secure when there is constant robotic and technological innovation taking place right next door. As we seek to determine whether humans can and will work with them in harmony, we first have to determine what that means.

Humans and robots working together in harmony typically would suggest a mutual feeling of one another. In other words, the human workers have to be happy the robot is helping and not fearful that it will steal their job. On the other hand, the robot has to benefit or “feel” helped by the human worker. Not that robots have feelings, yet, but rather that there needs to be a mutual respect back and forth, as much as there can be. Now that we understand the thesis that we want to examine, let’s dig in.

Humans and robots already work together across the globe, and everyone seems to be fairly happy about it. For example, in the Ford factory in Cologne, according to New Atlas, humans and robots are even swapping jobs and training each other. That sounds like harmony to me.

There, we answered the question.  

Something tells me you won’t be satisfied with that. I mean, we all know that robots work in factories with other factory workers – but is that really harmony? And if it is, will that harmony continue?

These are the real questions we need to answer, and they are a little more difficult. In particular, when artificial intelligence comes into the picture we all seem to get a little scared. Perhaps it’s due to the Terminator, but AI scares us as humans. AI already is working for us, there are AI systems that can act as your personal assistant and schedule meetings. There are AI systems that can write boring news articles about stocks that no one wants to write. So, despite some people, I think we can assert that we are happy to have robots in the workforce. AI is helping us, but what about when it tries to kill us?

[Image Source: Pipimaru via Wikimedia Commons]

The BBC explores in depth the factors that need to be considered if we expect humans to always live in harmony with robots. Factors like facial structure, body type, etc. All factors that as humans, we consider a big deal in getting along with someone – or living in harmony.

Right now, robots are doing jobs that are otherwise unsafe or laborious to humans. This means that for the most part, humans and robots are living in harmony. Seimens‘ efforts to create the next generation of working robots all focus on the premise of humans and robots working in harmony. I want to suggest one thing that will be

I want to suggest one thing that will be pinnacle in our understanding of future human-robot harmony. Humans, despite your qualms of robot takeover, will always have control over robots. No human or humans will ever sacrifice the human race in favor of robots. You may think I’m wrong, but this premise is basic human nature.

Sure, robot takeover could happen accidentally, but that’s why we as engineers need to be smart to prevent this. However, no leader that wants to get elected by humans, will ever allow robots to destroy economies and take endless jobs at the expense of human labor. Either human living will be subsidized through AI workers, or humans jobs will shift and we will always remain in the workforce.

I suggest this to you as a well-researched opinion, but I understand if your research leads you elsewhere. Humans can and will and will continue to live in harmony with robots. That is our prime goal as we create them. To create better harmony in this world.

Want to discuss this topic further? Feel free to let me know in the comments.