OK Computers: Are People Starting to Trust Machines More Than Humans?

January 21, 2020
Robot Boss

Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for The New Yorker


There's no doubt that technology has added a lot to our daily lives, from same day delivery to smartphones to streaming services. But are we really ready to start trusting machines MORE than humans? According to a new survey, 64% of people said they would trust a robot more than they'd trust their manager, and I have concerns. 

First of all. Have none of these people ever seen The Matrix? Sure, at first you'd prefer a predictable and logical machine to your moody boss. But the next thing you know, he's using you as a battery, and you have to break free and rally humanity to take the power back, and things get complicated.

OK seriously. When people feel like a machine is capable of understanding their feelings more than a person can (45% of those surveyed!), we've gotten away from our fundmental strengths as humans, like collaboration, compassion, and empathy. Tech is great. We should use it to enhance the great things WE'RE capable of, not do those things for us.

Maybe the people surveyed were just having a rough day at work. Or maybe that's how they really feel. Either way: I hope humanity has a long future ahead, working side by side WITH the robots, not working FOR our robot overlords. (Also, maybe tonight is a good night to rewatch WALL*E on Disney+.)