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Gregory Blondeau
Gregory Blondeau

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07 May 2019 Gregory Blondeau

Gregory Blondeau questions whether working with robots is making us more robotic.

Just as robots are getting better at interacting with us, using more natural language and understanding social cues, we are becoming more robot-like in our interactions with them. 

Take Alexa, Siri and Google as examples. To be understood, we have to talk in a loud, commanding voice: “Alexa, turn the light on.” “Hey Google, play The Beatles on Spotify.” 

Please and thank yous aren’t necessary. And while many people initially use these pleasantries when interacting with AI, they quickly lose the habit. 

As we share our workplace with robots – actroids in reception, robot vacuums, autonomous vehicles delivering food, and security drones – how will this affect our interactions with humans and robots at work? 

Are we likely to develop dual ways of interacting with human and non-human colleagues, like we do with colleagues compared with friends and family? 

Might our standards fall, making us more curt with everyone? If you find yourself speaking in a commanding way to non-human colleagues for much of the day, the habit might be hard to break when you start interacting with people. 

This is particularly pertinent with the new generation of collaborative robots, or robots, which are specifically designed to interact with humans. 

The FM sector is labour-intensive and already affected by AI – particularly in cleaning, catering and front of house – where humans and robots work side by side. 

Is there a risk that visitors and occupiers start to address human receptionists in the same way they might address an actroid? And what does that mean for those on the receiving end of a more commanding communication style?

There are numerous opportunities in embracing AI in FM, but we must beware of learning behaviours that could be detrimental to our human workforce. 

Gregory Blondeau is founder and CEO of Proxyclick