Will the HR Director of the future literally need screwdrivers, nuts and bolts in their workforce management toolkit? If the smart office robots that are now under development begin supplementing the human workforce, the pejorative about “having a screw loose” may take on a new meaning. BusinessWeek takes a look at the current crop of office-helper robots noting that there are currently 8.6 million robots in use around the world. “Many of them have been doing jobs that humans can’t do in places humans can’t go, such as plugging oil leaks in the Gulf of Mexico.” But are a new breed of helper machines about to be unleashed in the nation’s office settings, accomplishing tasks like document sorting, mail delivery, and going for coffee?
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Here are links to more information for a few of the robots mentioned in the article.
HRP-4 could easily take on a “secretarial role…in the near future.”
QB, a “remote presence robot”by Anybots is basically a videoconferencing system on wheels.
PR2 robot can do remedial problem solving, open doors without instruction, and plug itself into a wall socket when its battery is running low.
Also, meet some of your future colleagues in this slide show of workplace robots.
The idea of robots in the workplace helping with rote tasks and operations is not a new one – machines and technology have been helping humans perform work through the ages and they’ve been a mainstay in industrialized operations for decades now, albeit not with such humanoid incarnations. For more on this emerging office workforce, see the CEO Guide to Robots in the Workplace.

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