Víctor Hugo Prieto Cano
CEO & Co-Founder
Expert Contributor

How Risky Is it to Have Robots in Your Company?

By Víctor Hugo Prieto Cano | Thu, 08/04/2022 - 11:00

You may have recently heard about a Google chatbot becoming sentient. Of course, this is something you would want to avoid happening in your business, to your people or product. Despite the sci-fi portrayal of robots taking control of humanity, let me share some information that can help you identify and manage potential robot-related problems in your business, so you can make an informed decision based on calculated risks.

At the time of writing, I can assure you that you already have a robot working for you, either helping you clean your floor, setting the music for a weekend gathering, assembling cars in your factory or even providing your kids with extra support in their education. But, what is a robot? We understand robots as an automation system designed to help people with unpleasant or challenging tasks, meaning the dirty work. Some of these robots have a physical interface just like your Roomba or Amazon Alexa, while the rest of them are known as bots, or software that works through people-owned devices, such as smartphones, tablets or computers, and used to assist their users.

Despite the benefits of having a robot in your daily operation, it is important for you to be aware of the risks that this implies. A robot can be the face of your brand, employees and clients. As such, you don’t want it to harm your image. Here are the Top 3 most common risks that need to be considered before performing process automation through the use of a robot.

  • Over-automation: One of the most common mistakes companies make when automating a process is to not determine a measurable, understandable and finite challenge, leading to the misunderstanding that everything can and should be automated. Look before you leap and know that there are limitations, even for a robot, and have the resources to complement the automation processes. For instance, mental health companies, such as CompletaMente, provide their clients’ employees 24/7 mental health support, education and accompaniment through a chatbot; this bot includes a special feature that calculates the potential risk of a person to need human assistance and allows the access of a mental health professional for real-time orientation or a psychotherapeutic process through the same end-to-end encrypted WhatsApp chat.
  • Lack of connection with the end-to-end: Imagine that you find the house of your dreams, the price is within your budget, your family loves it and even the neighbors are great. Now, imagine that at the last minute, the seller tells you that the house has been sold but they had not updated their system. Imagine the frustration and anger. As mentioned before, robots could be the link between your operational chain and your client to ensure a quality service without broken links. In businesses like real estate, companies like Krino offer a bot that could do all the pre-sale work, such as screening, evaluating, giving a virtual tour, or pre-approving loans, so a human executive will only need to close the deal with their commonly known empathy tools.
  • Mistaken actions: We often tend to believe that robots can’t have human interactions because they lack judgment. That being true, robots don't have self-judgment but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t use them to interact with people. In some cases, it could be beneficial, since human criteria is different by person; each of us has a different perception that may help or affect your client's experience. Let’s use Tesla as an example. You may have heard that the American electric self-driving brand has been sued in the US because of the accidents caused while using the autopilot function (a driving software robot). More than 250 accidents have been reported in the past 12 months; some of them with, unfortunately, fatal casualties. Nevertheless, the probability of a self-driving car being involved in an accident is nine times less than a human driver with the expectation of decreasing the ratio of accidents caused by robots through the continuous improvement of the systems with historical data. All types of robots should be programmed to make the right call in the precise time and place using the best of human experience criteria; in spite of that, you can't throw caution to the wind and expect the robot to do all the work; human judgment will take into account many very diverse aspects, which makes a human-based decision drastically different. The setting up, maintenance and supervision of a robot by the human eye, are crucial to the implementation of them in daily activities or automation processes in the business field.  

So, yes, it could be risky to add robots to your workforce. As a business owner, you must only take calculated risks based on the consequence and the opportunity cost you may have from automating or not a process in your operation. I often see companies that do not have a risk management policy. At Krino, we use a risk matrix that includes a cost-benefit analysis for our client's journey. This allows them to make decisions, preventions and connections to their satisfaction and for their return on investment before automating any part of the process. 

The most crucial factor to consider when you are evaluating a decision is not only the methodology used to evaluate the risks and the opportunity cost of that decision but how that decision is aligned with the long-term vision of your business and your personal risk-profile. Data can bring a great deal of clarity to the table but we, as humans, are still responsible for making these decisions and we need to use our critical thinking to ensure that our business remains relevant. So, you already have the proper human resources and robotic assets working together, right?



Chatbots Risks: link

Governance: link

CBA by Harvard Business School: link

Tesla Crashes: link, link

Google Sentient: link

CBA: link, link

Opportunity cost: link

Bots risks: link

Risk Distribution: link