Classic cyberpunk films and video games of the late ‘80s through the late ‘90s always predicted one thing: by the first twenty years or so of the twenty-first century, we’re all either going to screw the robots over or get screwed over by the robots. Blade Runner predicted that we would create robots with consciousness and that eventually (after being enslaved for years) they’d stage a revolt and try to assimilate into society. Ghost In The Shell presented the idea that human consciousness can simply be hacked into and implemented into an electronic device, causing all sorts of lovely social problems for us to deal with. System Shock told the tale of making an artificial intelligence that controlled a space station lose its mind; all you had to do was disable its ethics. Well, here we are in 2019, and we have yet to see any of that happen. We don’t even have the flying cars and megalopolis cities these masterpieces promised us. But things are getting better. Case in point: here’s a robot that can replace people and their not-so-nice prejudices.
The Quest To Take Ourselves Out Of The Equation
They’re calling this thing “Tengai.” Honestly, there have been worse names for robots. The point of Tengai is to replace job interviewers with a non-biased, completely objective form of analyzing potential employees. If you think this thing is unnecessary, trust me: you wouldn’t believe all of the little things that make or break your chances of working for somebody. Something as irrelevant to your competency for a job as what music you listen to will easily put you in a good or bad standing with an interviewer. Of course, interviewers are trained not to do this, but that’s the thing: humans really suck at curbing their bias. In Sweden alone, where this thing’s being developed, a ton of non-Swedish foreigners reported feeling as though they are being judged for not being Swedish during job interviews (almost 75% of them, to be exact). And while some of them may be incorrect, it’s still an important step to remove any possible biases an interviewer may have. This robot, developed by Swedish robotics company “Furhat,” though still in its infancy, is being tested and built upon every day.
Hiring Managers, Breathe: It’s Not Ready Yet
However, in its current state, this thing isn’t without its faults. You know how most robots give you that uncanny vibe? You can always tell it’s a robot, and that just keeps nagging away in the back of your head. Though it’s intended to reduce that as much as possible, this robot has that to the extreme. What’s interesting though is that the process looks as if it’s been refined tremendously: compared to other robots, it’s easily the most lifelike facial simulation we’ve ever seen.
While pretty much all robots lack the dexterity of the human face, this one is much better than anything we’ve ever put out. At least it’s not as bad Sophia, that model robot that kept making constipated faces and spouting out fractured English during its interviews. Look at that thing. That’s something straight out of hell right there.
It’s Not The End Of The World
Now, for a lot of you, red flags are about to start going off. Curb your anxiety for a second: though this robot will take the place of human jobs, the position of “hiring manager” will likely provide some other skills that companies need. Compared to other automation of work previously done only by humans, this one is by far the nicest. Usually, robot jobs will displace workers en masse. Yes, provided that this robot reaches a point where it becomes more efficient than humans, the jobs of hiring managers everywhere will be pretty much annihilated. But because of all of the experience that hiring managers have, they will likely just be moved to a different position in the company. Or, if the company is evil enough to fire them outright, they can probably find a job at another company with ease. What’s important to remember though is that if a process can be automated, chances are it will be. From accountants to cashiers to fast food workers, always remember: a robot is a much better employee than you are. Yeah, it’s spooky. But it’s the way the world works, and we’ve got to adapt.