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专栏 - 管理实践课

我和机器人的PK

Stanley Bing 2016年03月10日

生死循环是自然规律,实体经济的兴衰也是正常的。在自己的实体经济感受到压力时,应该反思自身存在的问题,以及社会大环境,找到解决办法。
机器人能完成我的工作吗?拼体力,机器人当然更胜一筹;但是拼情商,机器人就不是我们的对手了。所以,会思考、会拉关系、会拍马屁的人不用太担心被机器人抢走饭碗。当然,最理想的情形是人机结合,一半人类,一般机器,等到退休以后再全身心做回人。

 

    自从我的保洁机器人碾过我的脚面,还弄坏了我的鞋,我就一直在想,机器人到底能不能代替人类完成工作。我尤其认为我所从事的管理工作还是安全的。即便职场面临着机器人入侵的威胁,但管理这种工作还不是机器人在头上画一个笑脸就能取代的,而他们的笑脸背后,只是肩膀上的一个金属物体,当然他们的肩膀也不是真正的肩膀。

    但现在我却不那么确定了。因为据《纽约时代》(New York Times )报道,麻省理工学院(MIT)的两位经济学家近日表示:“自动化的发展速度正在加快,而且机器人正在向新的职场领域进军,比如过去我们一向认为电脑无法代替的白领工作。”换句话说,可能让我的工作不保的,不仅仅有并购、重组、以及其他从事管理顾问行业的同行,现在还多了个机器人。

    你知道吗,我并不认为目前或不远的将来就会跑出个机器人来取代我的工作。我们来分析一下情况。

    首先,机器人能够长时间在高压下工作,即使最后高层管理者把兴趣转移到别的事情上,项目无疾而终,它们也不会沮丧吗?我想应该不会。机器人不会感到失望或是生气。他们不用吃不用喝,也不会倒在沙发上睡着了,甚至都不用回家!因此,这一轮比拼,机器人得一分。

    机器人在开会时能够不打盹、不涂涂画画、不搞小动作吗?当然可以。但是机器人是否能在会上提出观点鲜明的真知灼见,从大家的讨论中提取要点,从而确保它的发言条理一致,而且不招高管层讨厌呢?或许可以做得到,但是不会向你我那样用谨小慎微或派头十足的方式提出来。

    机器人能像我们一样谈笑风生、妙语连珠地让气氛活跃起来吗?不能。不过话说回来,机器人的头脑里可以储存一大堆笑话,在大家陷入沉默的时候丢出来一两个。这些在电脑控制下讲出的笑话甚至可能比人类讲出来的更好笑,尤其是与我知道的笑话相比。

    那拍马屁呢?我想在这一点上我还是有优势的。当我从电梯出来,电梯对我说“祝您愉快”时,我认为这句话毫无意义。因此那些能把领导拍得心花怒放的工作可能还是安全的。

    那么管理技能呢?当下属报怨、要求晋升、要求指导、要求情感关注的时候,一个安卓机器人能耐心倾听吗?当然能。老实说,机器人干这个比我更轻松。

    当然,机器人不能唠闲嗑儿。比如我就想象不出一个销售员机器人是什么样的。而且机器人也不能和同事一起啃香肠三明治,也不能在下班后和同事喝上一杯联络感情。当然你也可以设计出一个更蠢一点、行事更不合礼节一点的机器人。我想一个喝得醉醺醺的机器人可能比一半以上我认识的人更有意思。

    Ever since my Roomba carpet-cleaning robot ran over my foot and masticated my shoe, I have been wary of robots as substitutes for actual working persons. I particularly felt that my job in management was safe from the incursion of machines with friendly faces painted on the front of their heads, or whatever you call the metal constructions atop their shoulders, if those are indeed shoulders.

    Now I'm not so sure. Apparently there are two economists from MIT who believe, as the New York Times put it recently, "that the pace of automation is accelerating and that robotics is pushing into new areas of the workforce like white-collar jobs that were previously believed to be beyond the scope of computers." In other words, my position is now challenged not only by mergers, restructurings, and the incursions of management consultants who have to earn their bread and butter by eliminating mine, but also by robots.

    Well, you know what? I don't think there's a robot alive or on the horizon who could do my job. Let's look at it.

    Could a robot work long hours under intense pressure on a project only to see it evaporate when senior management turns its gaze to other enthusiasms? Well ... I guess so. Robots don't get frustrated or angry. They don't have drinks with dinner and fall asleep on the couch, either. They don't even need to go home! So ... fine. Chalk one up for the robots.

    Can a robot sit in long meetings without dozing, doodling, or disgracing itself? Okay, yes again. Ah, but could it contribute salient observations to secure its status, drawing on past discussions to make sure that what it said was organizationally consistent and not obnoxious to senior management? Probably. But not with the subtlety or panache that you or I would bring to the job.

    Can a robot interject a witticism or bon mot that adroitly lightens the mood? No! On the other hand, it could be stocked with a bank of jokes to deploy during silences. Such cybernetic jests would probably be even funnier than when cracked by a human being, especially the ones I know.

    What about sucking up? I think I have the edge here. I know that when an elevator says, "Have a nice day," it means nothing to me. So it's possible that jobs that support executives with big egos are still safe.

    How about management skills? Could an android listen to the whining, requests for advancement, and entreaties for guidance and affection that pour from subordinates? Sure it could. Frankly, all that would be easier on the robot than it is on me.

    Certainly, a robot cannot schmooze. I can't imagine a sales robot, for instance. And it won't be able to enjoy a sausage sandwich with the guys, or forge a bond with its colleagues over a vat of martinis after work. Although I guess you could program a robot to get progressively more stupid and inappropriate. A drunk robot would probably be more entertaining than half the guys I know.

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