Robots In Middle Management, Ctd

Jan 2 2013 @ 7:32am

Unlike Scott Adams, Alex Knapp believes that robots would make terrible managers:

In theory, it sounds awesome. Finally – an objective manager, without any human quirks or foibles. Your performance is measured objectively, so you know exactly where you stand, and there can’t be any favoritism. Everyone is kept on track, following the exact steps of the project that are known to everyone.

In practice, I’d expect what you’d see a lot more of is the same thing that happens when schools start getting judged solely by their students’ performance on certain standardized tests. Pretty soon, all the incentives for the schools become geared towards teaching to those tests, and everything else falls by the wayside. Similarly, when your manager is judging you solely on your performance of its project management tasks, everything else will fall by the wayside, too.

A reader calls Adams' proposal "absurb":

Management exists to remove obstacles to doing work for a company's employees, and as humans, many of these problems are motivational. Adams suggests that having callous robot managers would simply prevent people from bringing up emotional, interpersonal problems in the workplace (and therefore these problems wouldn't be an obstacle to doing work?). I suspect Scott himself is a bit robotic and would love such an arrangement.