Fast Company’s Anya Kamenetz looks at studies that suggest robots work better when you treat them as your equal:
If your job is in manufacturing, medicine, mining, automotive repair, underwater or space exploration, maybe even elder care, some of your coworkers are probably semi-autonomous programmable mechanical machines–in a word, robots. But humans and robots don’t understand each other well, and they work very differently: a robot does exactly what it’s told, over and over, taking the same amount of time every time, while a human acts with intention, deliberation, and variation. Their strengths and weaknesses can be complementary, but only if they each have good models of how the other works.
In a breakthrough experiment, the Interactive Robotics Group at MIT discovered that cross-training, which is swapping jobs with someone else on your team to help everyone understand the work better, works even when your coworker doesn’t have a mind. In short, when humans and robots model doing each others’ job they end up working together more smoothly.