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Workplace Trends: The Artificially Intelligent Manager

Think your boss seems robotic? Think again. In Japan, Hitachi is rolling out "artificially intelligent" middle managers -- er, robots -- to do some management while rolling around!

That's right, folks. Just when you're starting to feel like you're going through the motions at work, here comes your new manager rolling down the hallway to tell you how to improve your efficiency just a little bit more. Is it Friday yet?

We've already discussed the trendy holographic boss, which as far as I can tell is a future trend that has yet to take off. Hey, I never said I have a crystal blogging ball.

But this "AI Boss" thing? It might just go places. According to an excellent post on the Institute For Ethics and Emerging Technologies website:

According to the Hitachi release, it’s able to provide appropriate work orders "based on an understanding of demand fluctuation and on-site kaizen activity derived from big data accumulated daily in corporate business systems, and its verification in logistics tasks." So unlike previous efforts at automation, this system can adjust work orders in real time, basing its decisions on huge stores of data.

In one workplace, Hitachi put an AI Boss in charge of warehouse management that resulted in an 8% increase in employee efficiency. (Shh, nobody tell Amazon!)

Maybe it's not all bad? I mean, a true robot boss wouldn't know how to be passive-aggressive, or downright mean. It wouldn't invite us to, and expect our presence at, after-hours business events. It wouldn't eat smelly lunches at its desk, or leave angry Post-It notes about cleaning the office refrigerator by quitting time.

No, the AI Boss would simply be a binary-based know-it-all that's monitoring every keystroke, every processed order and every single step in the process, and then stopping by our desks to assign more work.

So, glimpse the future. New boss not same as the old boss. Maybe your current boss isn't so bad, after all?


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