We know that automation benefits manufacturing. It saves money, improves efficiency, increases production, saves energy, and it helps minimize waste. Anyone who uses industrial robots recognizes that they lean heavily on machines.
But more and more robots are breaking free of the factory floor. We’re seeing an increasing number autonomous products designed for home use. Robotic vacuums and robotic lawnmowers are readily available, and a reliable laundry robot seems to be the holy grail that everyone is racing to produce.
We tend to think of robots and automation as something that generally improves our lives; it makes work easier, allows us to pursue more enjoyable work, or gives us more time for recreation.
Researchers from the Harvard Business School, the University of Lausanne, and the University of St. Gallen examined how autonomous products affect consumer happiness. They found that while robots generally increase happiness, there were some factors that may stand in the way.
Outsourcing the unpleasant tasks
People readily pay for domestic services. Sometimes this is for convenience or luxury, but more often than not people pay for someone else to do the things that they do not want to do.
Sure, you could clamber into your attic and handle the family of squirrels that have taken up residence on your own, or you could pay a professional to take care of it.
You can order takeout when you don’t feel like cooking, hire someone to scrub your bathroom squeaky clean, you can pay someone to do your laundry, and you can hire someone else to mow your lawn.
You can even pay someone to drive to the fast food restaurant a mile away from your home and deliver food straight to you if you don’t feel like getting shoes on and driving yourself.
Now we have robots that can do (some of) these things. There is an increasing number of machines that can carry out many of the tasks that people dislike. When you don’t have to do things that you dislike, it follows that you are going to be happier.
Why don’t home robots make us happy?
We have robots that can mow the lawn, clean up after our dogs, and handle vacuuming. Spending less time doing things that we dislike should translate to increased happiness, right?
One study found that consumers who own autonomous products report greater happiness and less stress with a couple of exceptions.
According to the study, people do not like products to remind them of humans.
People were generally happy with autonomous products as long as they weren’t too human. The more a product resembled a human, the more likely the consumer was to feel guilty about using it.
In other words people don’t want a robot vacuum to look like a tiny human cleaning lady. Similarly, you wouldn’t want your robot lawnmower to speak to you, “Your lawn is finished, sir. Where would you like the clippings?”.
The authors of the study pointed out that some say that humanizing machines can help reduce loneliness. Naming your home robots and having conversations with AI can create the sense that you have company.
However, according to their research, generally did not want their home robots to resemble a human.
The study also found that people worried automation would lead to laziness.
So your robot lawnmower or vacuum cleaner keeps you from an unpleasant task while simultaneously freeing up time for you. The question becomes, what do you do with that time?
Nap, watch television, or read a book? Watch your robot mow your lawn?
Maybe you will use that time to exercise, go for a hike, or take your family to the park.
Surprisingly, people weren’t as concerned with actually becoming lazy as there were concerned about being perceived as lazy. Mowing your own lawn might show that you can’t afford to pay someone else to mow your lawn, or worse, it shows that you aren’t too busy to mow your own lawn.
The article points out that some cultures regard being busy as a status symbol. The study found that people viewed those who own autonomous products that save time as lazy and less successful, and they were worried about being judged in the same way.
Concerns about how people perceive you have a real effect on happiness, but you could argue that this is an easy obstacle to overcome.
Consider how the robot affects your life rather than what people think of you for having a robot. Do you now have time to read a book, or can you spend more time doing things you enjoy with your family? Maybe you genuinely love not mowing the lawn anymore. Embrace it!
Call 479-422-0390 for Indramat service and repair
On the subject of hiring someone for their services, we offer Indramat maintenance, troubleshooting, and repair services. And unlike mowing your lawn or cooking dinner, Indramat repair is something that you can’t actually do own on your own.
Don’t hesitate. Contact us online or call 479-422-0390 for emergency Indramat services.