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Dec. 17, 2021

E229 - Can we Improve Our Relationship With Robots Through Dance?

This week on the show, we talk about how scientists are building trust in human-robot relationships through performative music and dance and answer some questions from the community about the ethics of working for companies that encourage detrimental behaviors and how to improve morale in companies and teams.


This week on the show, we talk about how scientists are building trust in human-robot relationships through performative music and dance and answer some questions from the community about the ethics of working for companies that encourage detrimental behaviors and how to improve morale in companies and teams.

 

Recorded live on December 16th, 2021, hosted by Nick Roome, &  Barry Kirby.

 

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  • Building Human-Robot Relationships Through Music and Dance
  • Image Source: Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology

 

 

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Transcript

Welcome to human factors yeah your weekly podcast for human factors psychology and design. Hello everybody what's going on it is episode 200 29 we're recording this live on 12/16/2021 this is human factors cast I'm your host Nick Rome join today across the pond by Mister berry Kirby good evening good evening good afternoon everybody watching live thank you we got a great show for you tonight we're gonna be talking about building human robot relationships through the power of music and dance performing arts and later we're gonna answer some questions from the community about the ethics of working for companies that encouraged detrimental behaviors. And how to improve morale and companies and in teens but first we got some programming notes in a community update for you just if you're watching live or listening early Friday you can join us on Friday December 17 that is tomorrow as of the time of this recording at 1:00 PM eastern. For our first ever HM VS presidential town hall I'm gonna be sitting down with that Chris reed and Caroline some rec. And we are going to talk about the latest trends in human factors Chris is going to kind of give a state of the union address about H. FES and we're gonna take some questions from everybody listening in and who has submitted questions it's gonna be a great time lots of people going to be there we'll be across live across all of our platforms over here human factors cast as well as the H. FES official channels you can find it on their you tube on their Twitter on their Facebook. So we're kind of all over the place so you can find it anywhere on either our channels are there channels and then just to remind everyone of our upcoming holiday schedule here so this is our last live show of 2021 and even seem to think about it that way. But this is our last normal show will have another show for you later this month this is going to be dropping on the thirtieth next recording me off for the holidays on the thirtieth we're gonna have a show drop for you about every single human factors news story of 2021 it's gonna be a long 1 second 1 strap in for that and then on January 6 will be back with another live episode with the story chosen by you all speaking of the story. This story tonight was actually a tiebreaker we had a 3 way tie in our peach tree on and go figure that the tiebreaker goes to the social thoughts so very this is the part of the show where we talk about human factors news so I say we get into it let's go. Yes like I said even factors news very what is the story for this week. So this week we talk about building human robot relationships 3 music and dance and I'll apologise now for any left right get into as we go through this when was the last time you felt a deep and meaningful connection with the robot when was the last time you had a deep meaningful conversation with the robot when was the last time you trust a robot with your most pressing secrets. Part of the problem is that robots generally just do whatever the program today and for human there's typically no feeling that the robot is in the is in the slightest bit interested in making any sort of a non functional connection because it's simply not in the programming this is a real challenge when it comes to trust in robots and a team from Georgia tech center for music technology upon it with the console a state university dance department on a forest of improving robot musicians and dancers who interacts with humans to explore creative collaboration and the establishment of human robot trust. This will get more complicated than aids more expectation the building trust with humans socially that gap between what is technically predictable amount is meaningfully predictable by the end user can get very very white which is why more abstract kind of trust becomes increasingly important. You can dance may not be the way to make the home for every robot hell left but he certainly interesting place to stop. Nick have you a what's the video and I guess the listeners will see the at the link to the the article in the in the show notes and I encourage everybody to go March the video Nick if you watched and what do you think I watch the video. I'm so lucky here's here's the thing the video is an interesting experiment for. For human robot interaction I think ever it is worth going and watching to see exactly what we're talking about here. So it is literally a forest of robots and these dancers dancing in between them interacting with them doing I'm gonna I'm gonna do this live on air here so I'm gonna describe it for everyone listening on audio I am I am doing interpretive dance with my boom microphone and caressing it like they're doing with the. With the robots. It's it's it's an interesting experiment and I really hate to leave it there but I think my biggest question about this type of research is where's the application and I can see where this might increase trust in in automation and robotics. But this is this is kind of crazy what what are your initial takeaways of this thing. Some. I guess just to paint the picture a little bit ball the not even I said not even then not like humanoid robots or anything like that they are literally I guess articulated arms is a better expression so say almost a single out on a podium there's a number of them the create this forest of I. idea and then these dances were doing very I would say very traditional Denzel's ballet very expressive expressive movement around them it's an interesting concept I struggled with with with art anyway it was to my elder daughter's annoyance but this I guess it's it's not my back and I struggle to soci. Y. L. what what does this actually do you don't wanna go down to the the car 70 line and stop dancing with the yeah the the the the welding machine that's that's putting the cart together I'm so it is very conceptualised is very. Devry fresh. Well I struggle I have to say let let me okay you know what I I was going to say the discussion about the article until the very end but you brought up a great point you're not going to dance with the construction missing that's putting together the car but you are you really are you're performing a dance in which they perform an action and then you move out of the way to let them perform their action then you come in and do your action and so that it's it's a matter for the dance is a metaphor for interacting with robots in a way where you are teaming with them to create something or to perform a task and so that was going to be my take away from this article at the very end of this but since you mentioned that exactly no no it's okay it's a we can go off script a little bit that's fine I'm I'm cool with that. Let's just quickly so you'll screw them let's go right now we're already off the rails go you know interact with in do you not interacting with them you're getting out of their way they are they performing their sections and so it's not a you know in the on the production line you know what what they going to do and we got a fair idea of what they can do and you're getting out of their way to let them do their thing it's they have no real cognisance of you in this relationship nothing this is what this is alluding to as well is that it there is no. M. bleak true relationship because even in even in this this downs leading the it is the machines doing the robots doing what they're doing and the humans almost having a fantasy that they go to relationship going where exactly the rubble still don't have the just look a bit more elegant right now all right now but but I think about it you're think about the future where the system's actually adapt and react to. Operator actions right because I mean they they this type of technology exists in. Workplaces where like let's say there's there's some danger with moving parts that you know like let's say a big robot arm is swinging across the floor it doesn't wanna close mind you know worker and so it might stop in its tracks so that way because it detects a worker and so the worker will then detect that movement and the stop of the robot arm get out of its way and then go right so it is almost a dance where you the computer might anticipate something or the robot I should say. Might anticipate an action from the worker the operator the user of the robot if you will and so so it I think it could be a debts I get I get the merits I get it so I guess. To take a step back then I think full for the sake let let's let's dive into the into these human **** excuse me I should we should we try and just walk through what human human robot interaction is let's talk about the outline of the let's let's talk about human robot interaction what it is and then we'll get to trust in robots and automation thank you for reigning me in and getting us back on track. The message. So let's let's break down. Human robot interaction here and this is. From I think a shared an article from 2016 so the basic premise here is that human robot interaction can be divided roughly into 4 areas of application we can kind of talk a little bit about each of these individually. But you have supervisory control of robots in the sort of performance or routine tasks those are like the you know grab putting putting this thing from here to there we can talk about the example a minute I want to get to the 4 types of remote controls space airborne terrestrial undersea vehicles then you have the third area. Of application which is kind of the automated vehicles where humans are passenger. Then lastly you have human robot social interaction and I think this is firmly where our story falls but I do want to back up and kind of talk about these do I give some examples of some of these me when talking together yes so the the human survivor so the the first when he mentioned he was surprised we control I mean that is basically what we were talking about and in the warehouses I'm doing some these tasks from there I guess the mall called the coldest tally robots and then baked they've got a limited function of the production based on a computer program so it's it's assembly lines it's it's moving packages around its mail it's Manson's eccentric xetra. When you go into the remote control of space abalones restrooms the vehicles they are they recite their room more bone density so that that tell your prices and so they really doing that mobility tasks in the remote particular varmint but it but that be remotely controlled by by human without human input. I'm so many automated vehicles which I think was a very familiar with so it's your it's your commercial aircraft with its. With auto pilot it's your you know you derail beagles are largely embody automated we just you've been served in the supervisory capacity order just literally as a passenger I am and then you get down to what we don't talk about tonight this human robot social interaction and then providing entertainments teachings us things way you this idea that almost echo robot sort of idea toys agree therapeutic animals something that is is trying to exhibits and an amount of empathy between all a bit at least trying to establish a relationship between the 2 that is more than just a servant leader type 7 Musta type a type relationship yeah I would have a couple points here so you you brought up the the supervisory control robots and I think there's a important thing. Orton definition encapsulated here that we were kind of talking about we're capable of sensing its environment and its own joint positions and communicating that information back to a human operator and as we're kind of talking about trust in automation and in human robot teaming that's where I was saying I think this. This story actually plays in well because if you look at that performance of putting together things on the assembly line that is a dance right if you do you think about the performance of. When you think about the remote control of these vehicles where you are providing an input like let's say to a helicopter on Mars we have a whole episode on that you're communicating to that robot or that device you are then expecting it to perform some output and then it will you know has automated systems on board that performance own actions and then it reports back to you and then you must react to its actions and so it is a dance between these 2. You see I'm I'm trying to link everything back to a dance as I see what I see on a day. It's tenuous but I'm trying to think you are right though if you do if you see it at the you know the dance as a as a as a choreographed interaction between 2 things then then yes and the result action reaction type approach. Yep I'll I'll let you have it all right thank you I I appreciate you let me have that one so yes it is thank you. So in this in this specific article that we're talking about. This this performance art between dancers and robots and. We're talking about trust in this context and what. I didn't. V. M. the appeal of this and I the appreciate what they're doing so here I am trying to defend the whole thing and now I'm going to tear it apart so. Look it's interesting because I'm not sure whether or not these are preprogrammed actions or if there are actual sensors on board that are reacting to the dance performance because like in some ways this requires a. A ton of trust because you have the dancers who are. But the fact of the caressing these robot arms with many many joints and enjoyable areas and so that requires a lot of trust for you to put your hand on the right spot so that way your hand doesn't get hitched like it requires an insane amount of care and if the robot can react to where the human is then that would indicate some trust right it's not no longer just a choreographed. Back and forth it is a symbiotic relationship where one action informs the actions of another thing which in this case as the robot and. Mmhm. I think that has a lot of value when you look at trust in automation we want to let's break down trust in automation or robots really and kind of get what's the state of things right kind of what affects the trust. Yes so when we look at Justin robots I mean I think what I have truly we out massively say flavor dole influenced by what we see I mean we we see robots mo mostly movies that way so and any sort of movie in Germany the robots go about emovis so everything from what what I'm done the the alien and well kept how long do sounds online in 2000 space Odyssey I'm all the way through to mobile films so but fundamentally we've got a look at what affects trust between us and open system all was in a robe on it breaks down to 3 main areas the first one is the system properties and so it is you just looking to sit at the robot as a system so just how reliable is it we would generally hold robotic systems ready sort of. Computer systems refer to a higher standard the we do ourselves so we we expect say robotic systems to be almost impossible where is we are we quite happy with the fact that humans are fallible which is interesting so we we systems are to be reliable lay any system faults shouldn't be. Shouldn't you know it just shouldn't happen all this should be easy identifiable the system should act in a predictable manner so it shouldn't do anything that that's the right of left field or anything like that which is going to be a problem when we get into artificial general intelligence it starts doing things that would not expecting but actually when hindsight you probably break down why did the whites to what is done but it should act in a predictable manner any should be intelligible and and anything that is doing should be transparent you should be the decisions that he makes old any actions that he does should be may be transparent about why it's doing what it's done I need to be applicable to the level of automation to be playing with themselves to be gone for this human robot social interaction I am do not shut up about the book but I preserve your price of. Yeah I can jump into those I think I I do wanna make 1.on kind of the system properties we are sort of analyzing all these things in in our heads as we're looking at a robotic system or an autonomous system and it's us as human factors practitioners are breaking this down into these individual components because these are all the things that are going on in our head as for processing this life watching these. Robotic. Interactions happen right so so all this is happening automatically we're trying to break it down. From the operator side of things there are certain attributes associated with individuals that may impact how trusting you are of an autonomous system or a robot where things like how do you know your propensity distrust how how likely are you to trust things to begin with. Sort of your self confidence are you are you going to walk up to a robot because you're very self confident or are you going to be a little bit hesitant because you're not quite sure in your ability to interact with that thing you know if if you are very confident in your abilities you might walk right up to it and say I can I can do this where you're in it somebody else might say I need to watch somebody else do this before I even attempt. And then you also have sort of the individual differences in in individuals and culture so you know. I might look at a robot and say hell yeah I'm I'm gonna go I'm gonna go dance with this thing I'm gonna put my hands right up next to his joints and hope that it doesn't pinch my fingers and and you might go I'm gonna watch Nick do this because. I don't want my fingers benchtop. And then you have culture to write a different cultures look at robotics differently there are some that might see robotic entities as abominations. Of nature and you might see others like western industrialized cultures who might view them as saviors in some cases for certain tasks right I think that that dammit varies widely across into the world and so those will absolutely impact how we view robots and how how likely we are to trust them then there's environmental factors. Which is kind of everything else did you want to talk about anything I only have one thing listed here but is there anything else you wanna talk about terms of experimental factors I mean not not really I mean that yes there is the the the risks around and you know the environment that you're working in and and how that works do the bit actually just to be back to the operator properties the you make a good point about the self confidence in it have to go up and and talk these things. But actually might there's also an element of the other side of that some people being. You are not self confident actually being more comfortable with the with the rebel because I know it isn't human and so the people who struggle with with relationships with human to human relationships. Might find actually human robot relationships much ball at much easier to do and there is some. For the moment I believe like married robots and things like that which. Yes I mean I think they've got lots of trust in him and robots in the in the environment but it's some yes I think this that this whole human machine relationships maze is going to be one of these when these key factors about like it could break down in the entices IT who knows who knows so let's let's get back to the article because. When when I was going through these articles I looked at this and and said. This would be a great way for us to talk about human robot interaction or trusted automation and we did that now we're left with the article and I look like we we've been pretty hard on this article admittedly. I've been trying to give it the benefit of doubt of it out here I do want to mention a couple points here though that you know. Just can illustrating the differences between the way humans form emotional connections in the way that. We form emotional connections with robots or you know whatever but here's here's the thing is that as humans we tend to trust other humans by having that emotional connection with them it's it's the reciprocity. I'm. And this is something that robots are not great at this is you know get it so the more a robot can sympathize with somebody and empathize with somebody then it's more likely that there's going to be a mutual trust. There's there's got to be some sort of mutual understanding about good communication and predictability between the 2 parties right so. I am talking to you berry and I I would expect you to come to a conversation like this as we're talking on a podcast with well thought out. Points about an article on human robot interaction and dance performances and if you were to come to this conversation not well prepared. Maybe not the best example. I expect you to come to the podcast and talk about something in a in a way that's intelligent and entertaining and if you were to come to this and kind of the mono tone the whole time and maybe not even bring up some of these points that we did then I would I would lose a little trust in your ability to you know be a co host on the show so that is. Some sort of expectation now that it's different when you have robots you have some sort of expectation with how they perform and if they don't perform in that way or don't react in a way that you expect them to. It's gonna be you're gonna lose some trust in it. That's 1.that I want to make are there are there any other take aways from this article that you want to talk about I put the kind of like everything else in here but that was kind of the one that I wanted to touch on yeah I think the I mean fundamentally I think yes we have been probably quite hard on hard in the article in yeah we were making some comments earlier about you know. Where does this this type of research get funding from it and the sun is out near the bridge we have when we've looked at all the technologies in the podcast podcast episodes we have acknowledged this every bit of research has to start somewhere and so there is an element of this it's a different way of looking at this idea the reason absolute need to understand that the relationship between robots and humans because I think one of the what's the we've both used quite a lot tonight is all today is is mutual mutual understanding mutual trust and mutual engagement and this is what for me is fundamentally missing out of this and why we just not there yet because to have an emotional connection yet that means you have to have the that mutual shed on Sunday given experience all of the activity or something like that to have some showed empathy. Robots just simply don't have that they don't have in a way that is. All together is a meaningful experience for them therefore you comp share that experience they may they may have it in their memory banks so you'll be you'll be sold in on a on a hard drive somewhere but it isn't something that we're not there yet with that level of emotional intelligence for them so right you will always have that. Leader servant relationship with them when we get to the point where they come style home you know interacting with those of I'm really I guess makers think makers maybe we have to put a a point across also then I got the makes you go okay. That's when we starting to get some web at the moment yes I think the I'd like to go see this life I'd like to go and see how they're doing it and and do that because I don't think the video of the article really truly does it justice. Some of the ocean computer really cool to go and say would be right yeah. It said it's it's it it's normal it's and from that perspective I think it's it is good I and I just would I think it probably needs another 10 yes yeah I do want to touch on that empathy so to to give an example from this exact performance you have you have the dancers with the forest but then you also have another robot that is like strumming the guitar as a human. Fingers the board and so you have. The trust between the human and the robot to the the the humanist trusting the robot to strum the guitar and if the robot doesn't strum the guitar than the human gonna be disappointed and it's like why don't you do that well it is free program to do it right and do it. The other is the opposite empathy is not true right if if they strum a guitar and it's just an open court instead of. You know as a. The human didn't the human actually put a court versus not. The robot doesn't care the robots not gonna be upset that the human doesn't do it there just like you said they're just gonna walk in their bank holiday so yes we have a long way to go but I think from the human side we are learning a lot about how we trust robots and I I guess I get the merit of this research. Which is not where we started so that that's not where we started. The journey yes the friends and the robotic friends that we make along the way indeed all right well thank you to our patrons this week and actually thank you to everyone this week because we did have a tie breaker. Thank you to our friends over at I spectrum for news story this week you follow if you want to follow along we do post the links on our to the original article's I can't talk tonight man. The photos the original articles on our weekly round ups in our blog you can also join us in our slack or discord for more discussion on the stories we're gonna take a quick break and then we'll be back to see what's going on around human factors community right after this human factors cast brings you the best in human factors news interviews conference coverage and overall fun conversations into each and every episode we produce but we can't do it without you. The human factors cast network is 100 percent listener supported all the funds are going to running the show come from our listeners our patrons are our priority and we want to ensure we're giving back to you for supporting us pledges start at just $1 per month and include rewards like access to our weekly Q. and a is with the hosts personalized professional reviews and human factors minute patrie on only weekly podcast where the host breakdown unique obscure and interesting human factors topics in just one minute patron rewards are always evolving so stop by Petri on.com slash human factors cast to see what support level may be right for you thank you and remember it depends. That's right huge thank you as always to our patrons especially I want to thank our honorary human factors cast staff Michelle Tripp. We're talking about patriotic I do want to talk about some of the other fun stuff that's not kind of mention in that body or maybe does I don't know it's been awhile but we do have I know this one 's not mention in there we do have full audio versions of the show so what you're listening to live. Is the full audio version so if you're not listening live we do some editing post processing. And we have a pre show and post show that our patrons get access to of course if you join us on the live stream you can see that and and you can hear that. But our patrons get that full audio version so if you're an audio only version listener and you want more of that type of content we have those we also have weekly Q. and A.'s so we we have those dropping every week some weeks are quieter than others and that's okay we want just to provide an opportunity for people to you know ask questions and this could be anything this could be anything from like a berry perfect what's your favorite ice cream too Hey I have this really complex problem I need for school done and you guys can help it literally is a range that you can ask us there it is meant to be an ask us anything and we are there as your personal advice respondents. And we do share those with the entire labs you get some varying opinions there. You also get early access to the show we drop the show a little bit a 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help other people find this content so we got 2 of them tonight let's get in the first one first one is something I find really interesting fascinating here this one is by Jack W. M. on the user experience sub reddit. Is it ethical to accept a job offer for a betting company. They're going to write I've been job hunting for a while getting to the final interviews but rejected at the last minute a sports betting company that I won't name is offering me a U. X. job with great pay and benefits but some of my friends think it's shameful to be trying to improve the user experience for gamblers. I'm on the fence on one hand a job's a job on the other hand I don't want to be a part of the problem. The company themselves said says they empower in control gamblers to entertain themselves and that people are responsible for their own decisions but problem gambling is still significant problem and not going anywhere especially with online gambling growth I could really use some advice about this and would love to have a discussion about it if it's the right thing to do or not what are your thoughts berry. I want to expand this to you know be on gambling I wanna talk about sort of the ethics of designing for dark patterns and like what would happen if you were instructed to design a dark pattern so I I'm gonna let you take this one away. Thanks a lot I am yeah it's interesting is because I think for me purely professional perspective there is there is some really cool stuff in there is there is the option to to get into some real culture of Batavia sort of elements and there's gonna be some really. Depending on what your what the U. X. that they're trying to get you to create would like say it's not even just gambling if you're into like say you mentioned doc Patton's but then there is also you know there's like the sex industry has loads of websites that all require you X. design and and eccentric Citrix ultra on the one hand it you've got some things that and it's all about perception as well because it's say that some you know that that friends I think it's shameful but actually there's a vast majority of people in in this sort of who do you work what else are you engage with you know gambling websites come and coming things you don't have a problem who enjoy it it's it's that thing it is a there was a successor of cited that does find it a problem people Gumbel loan anything Sir. Yeah it's got no real. Real Salt in this because you could say you know I work for the defense industry part of what we do the defense industry is you know we talk we talk about things like lithology and stuff like that on a like a plank this defect which she's buzz words for welcoming people and and stopping the people from killing what we consider the good guys not type thing which you know you could that you could talk about the morals and ethics of of that type thing I really do when whenever we interview somebody we I have that discussion with them because it's you know it it's it's not your run of the mill type of job so I think you're going to be perfectly clear with yourself about how you feel about working in the in the the sort of arena. The job will get done somebody will pick about job regardless it's like most things the the jobs some somebody will someday will do the job so I guess you the battle you've got is is it something that your hobby to do or is it something that you're not if you're not happy to do it all you'll. You feel embarrassed to admit what you do to you you know in your friendship group or whatever then maybe it is in the W. maybe it is something you should be moving on from and going to school in somewhere else but yeah I think it's it's all about whether you can solve it within your conscience what do you think yeah I'm along the same lines right so I worked in the defense industry for a while and I was very clear with my employer and the contractors that I was working on that I would not work on anything that would help take the life of another human being my god I made that abundantly clear and that was one of my conditions on being hired right is that I don't wanna work on anything that will help take the life of another person and so the stuff that I worked on was very much defense focused on like it was very much protection. You know protecting our soldiers from. From other things our war fighters and so it was. It was one of those things where I could be proud of the work that I was doing because it was. It was it was. I'm trying to I'm trying to be careful about what I say here. It was. It was in in service of protecting now. I you know I did I did work on an Intel systems and so you might then say well the more Intel we have the better decisions that we can make about that and when it comes to that it's like well if if you gather enough information you can reduce the amount of collateral damage. And so it's like it is it is a really challenging game of how you rationalize things in your head. Ultimately I got out of the defense industry because I couldn't handle grappling with that stuff anymore right so. I'm. I I think it is an interesting question to ask yourself. Now the fact that you're asking this to begin with I think it is makes you very qualified for the job because if you're in that position then you might say okay well you kind of have the ultimate authority of how it would impact these people like do you want to design it easier to use or do you introduce you know seized in some aspects like maybe ease of getting your money but then difficulty N. sort of. I'm placing the bets because you have to go through all these you know I understand the risk associated with this gambling is a risk I I understand you know so there are different ways in which you as a U. acts designer can help. Protect people and and I think. In these situations where you might have these behaviors that might be susceptible for certain humans right like. Gambling addiction or something like that you might rationalize it by saying well I can put in checks to say I've I've. Put in things that will help it to be less likely that addicts will gamble but more likely that non addicts will gamble when you have to do that research I don't know it's not my domain but that's something that you could do as somebody in the U. exposition right. It is all a gamble. In the area about that was that was good. I mean the fact that it looks a bit from there again the question the first place. Actually put you in a really good position. It means that that that you're actually thinking about to end and in that way because again like I said when I ask people in in interviews if say I could run that are you happy with this sort of. With the sword will this idea that you could the effect you have on the theology of the but what you do could end up killing people one way or another if they just are not set yet because that's no problem. That's also a bit of a trigger because I don't think it should be yeah you should be entirely comfortable with it because the nature of what it is so if you'll almost too plausible if you also to hook up it's it's there's a sweet spot. About making sure you've always got that thing in the backyard garden is that right is not the right thing to be doing yeah it's a interesting position I agree all right let's get on the last one here so this is trying to figure out what companies human resources are doing to keep their work place happy and motivated towards work this is by abi tam on the user experience I write it they go under right looking for ideas that can motivate employees and make them more productive what kinds of things you can human resources due to keep workplaces healthy. Now in current situation most of the people work remotely and it's really difficult to keep them connected towards companies toward the company's goal most of the people are overworked and exhausted how can we destress them so they feel fresh this is a. This is more of like an HR question and that and the company morale question but it's important to know especially if you work on a smaller team of like a a researcher with designers and. Manager product managers developers there's different levels of team morale and the you know we thought this was a good question to answer so buried from from a smaller perspective in a company perspective how do you improve morale. So give away where the man with the pandemic remote working is going to be a thing if I've just had a I think going through that the M. right now said that we might be heading back into a look down to the new year or something akin to a locked out of the new yes I'm looking forward to that I'm the. So the first thing I will start off with ease making sure that your team was got what they need how the goals and we we did right at the start of the pandemic when it when it when it kicked off with do you have the right tools to do the job so you know working off a often on the boat you know right do you have a test do you have your laptop do you have the right so sweet so basically the fundamental good ergonomics of of office working because we've seen so many people now we're starting to get them sort of injuries the virus I injuries from suboptimal use. Then we could do. So the one thing I've been quite posh about his almost transferring the things you would do in the office that a notebook focused books reading I still think quite keen to into having the team coming together and that is the equivalent of going to have a Cup of coffee as a team and having not general chat so I will I'm trying to go off in the morning. It's a couple times a week with the busy more teams so what if you're using just to be able to sort of say you know what you do is that you know what did you go to last night I was the despite about movie that came out late yesterday and so it's even worse you know spoilers I'm good to see a bit of a party they said it was really good and so the you know you've got to have that level of relationship which we forgot nothing many people have gotten through to the knock down that we so focused on if you're going on a teams meeting or is there anything that you could have a meeting from 9:00 to 10:00 then you can have 1 from central till 1039 no 1 from 1030 to 11 you don't have any gap between the you don't have that walking between needs we're meeting room and and that type of thing so it's about allowing people out that sends a response in between at the meeting that you would usually have and then there's the there's the other side of the social interaction so I think everybody's got a bit big goods. Using quizzes so bring bring your team together in the evening is if you go down to the pub after work and that type of things are trying to recreate that that capacity I noticed none of that what I've said is actually connecting you to what's going to girls that's all about making sure that your employees feel connected that they feel part of the the the them them teaming behave use the term you would naturally use in the office or if you work for half decent could you do I have worked with when he tried to stop us from doing nothing that didn't go well but the you know them them human behavior is all the best we can with them we create them and make people feel like that the value did not weigh then you want to read a good bedding to be able to go and then get them that power them to do to do the job right the first place. So what do you know what your experiences with us what you think yeah great points I do want to touch on the point that you made about making time for others so with meetings what I've done is I've tried to build in to most meetings just like you know 510 minutes of camaraderie building so it's not it's not listed as such but when I design meetings length I am I am taking that into consideration it is that Hey how are you how are things going no you just had a CAD house back and let you know that type of thing and so making sure that you have time for that is really important I would say there are a couple different ways to look at this type of question. There is what do you do. For new employees new hires to make them integrate with the team or what do you do for current employees that. May be me there's there's some rationale some. There are some problems with morale and so there's there's these questions that we need to answer so let's let's take a look at the new hire right you pay them accordingly pay them well you give them like you said everything that they need and you invest in their time so what I mean by that is understand that especially in a remote environment if you're starting somebody up fresh in a remote environment they're going to be huge roadblocks for that person and you need to not only anticipate them but it's all for them so for example let's say there's a new person that's starting and you know they have a certain role within the company you want to outline kind of like Hey here are here as a manager you might want to come to the table and say Hey here's a list of like 10 people that you're going to want to talk to in the first 4 weeks. And you know here's what each of them to come to them with kind of a road map of what they can expect for the first month month point 5 that way there's a plan in place and they're not kind of sitting around twiddling their thumbs going I don't know what to do I just started this company I can't it's not like I can go anywhere no one stopping by my office and telling me anything I don't know what's going on they have a plan in place and they can address that at their own leisure. You know give them kind of a laundry list of documentation to read in their free time and that's boring but then the you know actual human connections those are important and again make sure that when they are having those connections that they build in time to really get to know that other person to an informal interdiction Hey I'm so and so this is what I'm about. Okay that's a new hire site now let's get into the the team is together and morale is low and we need to do something to fix it. From an HR perspective from a company perspective I think it's really important for a company to have a roadmap of improvements that are listed for. Employees and have certain conditions be met take to get those rightly let's say you have a certain amount of surplus you might want to give them all an extra day off a month or if. You know just as like a wellness day or something if you if you have. The means to you give them the PTO that that they need basically increasing their benefits without. I'm sort of costing the company a lot of money or or maybe it does cost the company a lot of money but that that return on investment is great because then you have employees that are well refresh their not print out that type of thing. But having a road map and having those continuous engagement events to kind of build company morale are really important. Especially. Especially when you have larger companies and and so that's that's my opinion on that I don't know if you had anything else to add. No I think we both of them covered all aspects of that that pretty well it's just for me for the mentally just remember the Pete that your employees are people. Treatments such engage with them and and you remember it was like when you you were at that level on them and we need to make sure that we keep people keep people engaged. But what if I inherited the company from my father and you know. Like I never was at. Gone spent gonna spend the millions that people will be doing with the business all right well why don't we I think there's no other way to transition so let's just get into it it's this what we call one more thing it's where we just talk about one more thing Barry what he got this week. So this week I talked I've if I've talked in the past couple of episodes about should I upgrade to windows 11. I have graded to windows 11. How is it. I'm distinctly underwhelmed. It is are you are you on are you underwhelmed or well. I think I was expecting amazing things and it is amazing in the fact that he did install within. 20 minutes off now with no such words issues and it's familiar enough that he works but actually there's a couple of it's a bit smoother I'll try to explain it Eddie that if feels lighter that he feels a lot less process have been and that there's no I'm I'm not looked at mine any of the of the actual processing but do that but it just the way it looks and feels it does feel like a like to touch which is quite neat. One thing I don't like about it is the they do send to the. The top spot so go stop button is is the is in the center just to the left but you can change I suppose you have done is actually changes so does all like having your stop button in the bottom left hand corner you can make that happen again good morning it hasn't been the stress that I thought is going to be so that was one and then do you think I did last week was. Yes that was offered to give a presentation to a live audience live presentation large lecture theatre still was only about half capacity so there's only 885 people laugh but what a lot of fun it was useful I've been doing a lot of webinars and things like that through zoom in this in this under the well this is the first large recitation of done programmed into computers and it was it was so much fun it was so nice to be able to sort of get I mean if he's wearing masks and stuff so the still of the limited interaction you can see the limited body cues but it was it was such a nice thing to do so that would that's what I ended up my end of my week last week and I'm looking forward to doing more of that if we can do you know how I know you're a performer is because you feed off the audience and it's it's a symbiotic relationship between the audience and the performer where. Yeah I know it it it it it's always because you'll use all set their knee I did a press I did another presentation today so I did a lecture for for university and I've been to these people and actually in classroom so did did them a few weeks ago missile was it was online the difference and the content was pretty much the same to just 4 or 4 different cobalt how much harder it was. Some old not was engaging not was interesting in many ways because you won't get the questions you will get the eye contact you would mean that you could work out with you pitching it promptly and and stuff like that so I think a lot of Q. does to a lot of the lecturers and and things you happen to be and deliver all of this stuff online throughout the past 2 years because I don't think I could do it in the way that they've managed to soldiers for it Sir so yes would you say it's because of a lack of trust with the automated systems going on with the I will is it is it like a dance Argus outing wasn't daunting enough with my audience all with my microphone one that one of the other parts of what unites lead back to like the. Thank you all right my my one more thing I'm. So we are getting to the point where we need to spell out certain words in front of my son because they are triggering in in one way or another so let's say there's a certain thing that he might want to watch on TV like C. A. R. S. rice yes we can't say that word or else he will be immediately notified that that is a possibility. And so you know it or like. But if we don't want him having too much screen time hide the T. A. B. L. E. T. with the G. A. M. E. S. so yet that we have to spell out all these things now and it's like I I always thought it was one of those things that's funny as you see it in like a television and movies but actually doing it in practice is. As a. Also funny I I don't know. It's pretty for a bit then it becomes really irritating and then they learn how to spell yo yeah I can't wait for that day yeah and then the then it all goes through rough again so but Sir but no must be nice having not that sort of. Mmhm that's of interaction with the they give you either with you treat we so did this with dockets of those treated them like social experiment about them and what you count anything it's so fascinating seeing them evolve and reacting to the difference stimuli the different triggers and stuff like that yes it's it's good fun yes children's are the world's greatest experiments all right well that's gonna be it for today everyone please join us tomorrow at 1:00 PM eastern for our H. FES presidential town hall I feel like this episode and enjoy some of the challenges in trust of trust in human robot interaction we invite you to check out episode 217 where we took a look at the newly announced Tesla bots and other humanoid robots that don't dance what that might mean for your life. Comment wherever you're listening with what you think of the story this week for more in depth discussion you can always join us on our slack or discord communities visit our official website and sign up for our newsletter stay up all the latest impactors news you like what you hear you wanna support the show there's a couple things you can do one you can leave us a 5 star if you do that right now to tell your friends about us 3 if you have the money. Consider dormant consider supporting to us but honestly donate to somebody else it's the holidays just get somebody else and as always thanks to all of our social interweb site in the description of this episode I think Mister berry Kirby for being on the show today working on its listeners going find you if they wanna talk about pitching their fingers in robot. Well you can also find me on Twitter bots and disk okay all goodness to be on my podcast to travel to human factors focus which is at W. W. W..property podcast.com. As for me I mean her neck road you can find the streaming on twitch for office hours sometimes and across social media at Nick _ room thanks again for tuning into human factors cast until next time. 8 to 10.

Barry Kirby Profile Photo

Barry Kirby

Managing Director

A human factors practitioner, based in Wales, UK. MD of K Sharp, Fellow of the CIEHF and a bit of a gadget geek.