Performance appraisal with a robot? Hopefully it won't happen for a while yet. However, employees in Hitachi's warehouses already have to obey orders from robots.
The technology company is at the cutting edge of developments in artificial intelligence for workplaces and last month launched a quick, two-armed robot which can replace people in simple logistical tasks.
However, it has now successfully also tested a new robot manager, which can give employees instructions based on analyses of previous data. The robot manager can even make the work more efficient by, for example, helping warehouse workers to find the most efficient route to a particular shelf.
Hitachi itself is extremely pleased that efficiency has increased by fully 8% in the warehouses where there was a robot manager, compared with those managed by a human. They are so pleased that they are looking forward to being able to also apply the technology in other areas besides logistics, for example, transport, finance and healthcare. However, we don't need to start suspecting the nurse or taxi driver of being a robot quite yet. Hitachi says that it will be testing the manager robots for a few years before trying to launch them commercially.