Debates about the use of robots in the workplace can get lost in the midst of headlines forecasting rampant job loss. But, for most people, increased automation means adapting to working alongside robots. This means we should shift our focus to the ways in which robots and human workers interact in the work place, and makes technology design a 'good work' issue.
EUnited Robotics is a membership body for the European robotics industry, representing hundreds of manufacturers across the continent. Inspired by the IFOW Good Work Charter, introduced by our co-chair Naomi Climer at the European Robotics Summit in 2019, the industry decided to develop a robotics specific version, focusing on how to apply the principles of good work to the design and application of robots in the workplace.
The published Charter advocates for a "human-in-command" approach in which robots are applied to assist human work, taking on the the dull, dangerous, dirty and delicate tasks that have a harmful effect on work quality and worker safety and wellbeing.
We are proud that the IFOW Good Work Charter has inspired EUnited Robotics to develop what will become the standard for thinking about work quality in robotics design across European industry.