Sophie the Employment and Labor Robot

The poster girl for the future isn’t a high profile model or an Oscar award winning actress. She isn’t an activist or a touring musician. She isn’t even human. Meet Sophie and her crew, robots who are being designed to enter the work force and prevent any unlawful violations of the labor code that a human might accidentally do.

La Trobe Business University Business School in Melbourne Australia and Japan based NEC Corporation first broke this story over a year ago about Sophie. Sophie and her robot friends Charles, Matilda, Betty, and Jack are being trained and created to conduct workplace interviews and will replace common Human Resource employees.

Sophie is designed to perform within the confines of the law and not ask any questions that may be conceived as discriminatory or unlawful. At the same time, she can read an interviewee’s emotional reactions to questions and their own answers by monitoring change  in facial expressions or pulse.

The university assures that Sophie will not replace humans entirely in the interviewing process, as companies are encouraged to maintain human interviews for later stages in the hiring process and for the hiring decision.

The issue in California is that Sophie’s ability to read someone’s physical reaction to emotion responses may be construed as an unlawful lie detector test. Also, in California, there is a two-party consent law for audio/voice recording. How will we get around that with Sophie?

Who knows what the frontier of labor law has in store since robots are now a part of it.

Source: California Lawyer Magazine