Watch your terminology
Robots aren’t cyborgs, dig? While it may be hard to know the difference – especially when dealing with human-looking replicants or heavily modified cyborgs, getting it right is important. Whether or not robots have feelings isn’t something I’m prepared to comment on, but cyborgs certainly do, and won’t appreciate being called robots. Keep in mind that this terminology may also be important when filling out forms and employment contracts. When in doubt, ask – but tread lightly.
Have appropriate facilities in place
Robots and cyborgs aren’t like people. They have different needs, such as electricity, to keep going. You provide a coffee machine for your workers? Well you better have ample charging stations too, otherwise you could be on the receiving end of a discrimination complaint. It is also important to keep magnetic surfaces to a minimum.
Don’t be afraid
This is probably the most important step – especially something to run passed techno-phobic employees. Remember, robots can’t hurt people – Isaac Asimov’s laws of robotics explicitly state:
Don’t input conflicting directives
- A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
The handy thing about cyborgs and robots over people is you can implant your own directives into them. Too long a lunch break? System shuts down. Spending too much time on Facebook? Not anymore, sleepyhead.
But you need to be careful about these directives. The system might interpret that meeting with the client as too long a lunch break, or updating the company Twitter as too much social media. You also need to be wary of possible OH&S problems – you don’t want your cyborgs collapsing on the tiles while chatting about the KPIs in the kitchen, do you? Not only will you have to pay for damages, but if they hit one of their human bits things can get messy…
Advancements in cybernetics and jobs going automated all points to the fact that – sooner or later – we’re going to all have to deal with cyborgs and robots in the workplace. As an avid sci-fi fan, I’ve got some prime directives for HR pros who might not quite be ready for the chrome collar workers: