In one of the first studies to bring together scholars in human-robot interaction and behavior economics, a new paper from a joint Cornell and Hebrew University research team, including robotics guru Guy Hoffman, confirms what we might have suspected about the prospects of working alongside robots: it bums us humans out.

A source in Fast Company's piece "Your new most annoying and overachieving coworker is a robot," Hoffman describes the team's study, which challenged participants to complete a monotonous task alongside better-performing robots. After so long, participants got down on themselves and productivity slipped.  

Once the robots got really good, their performance discouraged people from working harder,” Hoffman says. People also started to use more self-deprecating words to describe their own work, even if their own standard of work remained constant.

As the article states, weighing the economic impact of robotics in the workplace usually focuses exclusively on the loss of jobs. But there's a more immediate impact, one which the joint research team emphasizes: that the presence of robots in the workplace impacts our productivity and plays negatively on our human psyches.