“Social loafing” is a phenomenon where team members exert less effort when they believe others will cover for them. Scientists studied whether this occurs in teams that combine work by robots and humans. They found that humans carrying out quality assurance tasks spotted fewer errors when told that robots had already checked a piece, suggesting they relied on the robots and paid less attention to the work.
This has potential safety implications, particularly in longer shifts and safety-related areas where double-checking is common. To address this problem, the study’s authors suggest further research in real work environments with skilled workers who routinely work in teams with robots.