Should Your Company Use Humans or Robots?

Nowadays, robots can do perform pretty much any task. However, that doesn’t always mean that they should perform every task – there are still some instances where humans have the edge. To help you choose between the two, here are just a few times when humans perform better and few times where robots have the advantage.

Robots are better at repetitive tasks

As a general rule, humans aren’t very good at repetitive tasks. Too much repetition can become monotonous – many humans start to lose their focus or become demotivated. It’s for this reason that many industrial manufacturing jobs are better automated.

Some repetitive tasks can be stimulating enough that humans can do them well, especially if part of the appeal to the customer is the human skill. This could include preparing food and drink in a restaurant or crafting hand-made jewellery. Often in such cases, companies can still add enough variety. For instance, a restaurant may regularly change up its menu, whilst an artisan jewellery maker may make custom jewellery for certain clients even if there are certain set designs.

Humans are better at creative tasks

Robots are playing a greater part in creative tasks, helping to discover new scientific formulae for instance, however this is generally the result of processing huge amounts of data. When it comes to sheer out-of-the-box thinking, humans are still better at coming up with results. This is because much of this creativity relies on going against what may be proven by previous data – it may involve experimenting or appealing to new trends.

Automation is starting to play a role in marketing, but in many cases humans are still better at it due to it’s fundamental reliance on creativity. Whilst you can create automated emails and social media posts, they generally don’t get results unless you’re already an established company. Some of the best promotional emails and social media posts react to recent news and trends or deliberately go against the rules.

Robots aren’t great conversationalists

Because robots lack empathy, they’re generally not very good conversationalists. As a result, automated customer service robots have proven to not be very popular. Being able to deal with customer complaints and concerns involves being able to relate to human emotions – which is something only humans can do.

Whilst robots are still often used to answer the phone, they function better as an operator helping to filter people through to the right department. Robots shouldn’t be used to try and solve customer problems – many of us get frustrated when trying to talk to a robot as they may not understand the urgency or the intricacies of the matter.

Humans aren’t as strong, fast or as accurate

Robots come up tops when it comes to strength, speed and accuracy in most cases. They have gained growing usage in industries such as car manufacturing and agriculture as a result where humans simply cannot compete.

There are some instances where robots may lapses in accuracy. For instance, whilst robots can often speak a multitude of languages, they are not always perfect translators – when it comes to translation for medical and healthcare purposes, human translators may be necessary to prevent potentially costly errors. Similarly, whilst voice recognition software can often be used to transcribe conversations, they too are prone to errors – when recording transcribing a conversation for legal purposes, a human transcriber may be needed to ensure that the details of the conversation are transcribed accurately.  

Robots can work in dangerous environments

Robots are also much better suited to working in dangerous environments. They are often used in mining and may be used to fix the tops of radio masts in bad weather. Whilst humans can sometimes carry out such jobs more quickly, the high risk of fatality makes it a job that few humans are willing to sign up for. In cases where humans do take on such jobs, they often require high pay, whilst various strict health and safety measures need to be put in place.

Robots can’t always be used in all dangerous environments – there are times when humans are still needed to make negotiations, as with fighting crime.

Humans are better at building trust

Despite all of robots’ advantages, we still inherently trust humans over robots. When discussing sensitive information, we prefer to talk to a human. Many people still like to set up a bank account in person or talk to an employer on the phone before accepting a job offer. Automated sales calls have failed to leave a mark as a result – if someone can tell they’re being sent a recording, they’ll generally hang up. Events such as conferences are still some of the best sales strategies as it allows consumers to talk to a human being in person.

There are some cases where robots can build more trust. For instance, robots can help when choosing where to make investments – many companies may be more willing to use a robo-advisor that offers unbiased advice than outsourcing a stockbroker.

Hiring robots is an investment – but in the long run it can save you money

Robots are expensive. As a result, many small companies avoid making the investment, because they simply don’t have the funds to splash out thousands on a robot. However, in the long run a robot can save you money. You don’t have to pay a robot a wage or benefits and it will work for hours on end without needing rest.

Robots do need be to be regularly maintained (which is still a job for humans that does cost money), however even with regular servicing you’ll likely spend less than were you to get a human to do the same job. It’s worth seeking out the help of a financial advisor, who may be able to tell you the best steps to take when choosing whether to invest in a robot. Not all robots are expensive – when it comes to integrating automation into software, it can be quite cheap.

Hiring robots could result in job losses though

If you’ve already got a human workforce in place, hiring robots could be a tough ethical decision. Whilst robots can be used to make humans’ jobs easier and could be a useful tool for staff, the use of certain robots could result in no longer needing certain staff members. Having to make job cuts could result in having to make redundancy payments and it could have costs to your reputation. This is something to carefully consider before you take on robots – if employees are likely to be replaced, you will need to warn them in advance and try to make the process as painless as possible.

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