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Betty the Robotic Manager Begins Two-Month Office Job

If you think your real-life office manager seems a bit robotic at times, then you haven't seen anything yet.

A team at the University of Birmingham has created a software-guided robot named Betty, and she's the new office manager on a "trial basis" at the Transport Systems Catapult in Milton Keynes, England.

Betty is part of the STRANDS Project, which is exploring how robots can work alongside humans in a "controlled workplace." Will Betty the Robotic Office Manager do our jobs better than we can, or will she be a big, metallic distraction? Can Betty check with HR to see if we can have a week off in August?

Betty is loaded with scanners and cameras as well as a working memory so she can spot minor changes. She will do the people's work -- in addition to recording the comings and goings of human employees, collecting data on everyone's office clutter, observing who is staying to work after hours...and OMG, she's starting to sound just like the nosey co-worker nobody likes very much. Here she comes, clean your desk!

Even worse, Betty doesn't complain or get tired, but she does need to recharge. Hey, don't we all? But humans don't retreat to a docking station. Usually we just retreat to a corner pub, where we proceed to complain about how tired we are.

It could be only the beginning, too! Betty the Robotic Office Manager could roll out a red carpet world tour soon. As the Inquisitr reports:

If the experiment is successful, Betty the Robot may make appearances worldwide in various office spaces and other work environments in an effort to increase productivity by allowing the human employees to focus on more important tasks.

Do these "important tasks" include creating a Plan B should we be replaced by a robot at work within the next decade?

I'm joking, sort of. Robotic technology is really cool, but we humans have yet to discuss the impact office robots could have on real, future human employment. At some point, we'll need to discuss it. Maybe we can all meet down the pub sometime. Betty is not invited.


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