AI and the future world of work

Exploring the technology of the future with "Elenoide"

"Hello and welcome to your personal consultation"

Employees at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany recently experienced something very interesting and new - speaking with a humanoid robot. In cooperation with the TU Darmstadt, a field study is underway to investigate how people react and interact with humanoid robots.

“Hello and welcome to your personal consultation in the context of our Drive Your Development Days. How are you today?" The female android named "Elenoide"– a combination of the female name Elenore and android, a humanoid robot – holds a conversation in order to help employees further their professional development. It can interact, in other words process, what has been heard and, using the learning system it has been programmed with, give appropriate answers while gesturing.

Elenoide in action

A new way of HR consulting: Dietmar Eidens, Chief HR Officer at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, about Elenoide and the future world of work.

Built in Japan, Elenoide has been the subject of research and programming work at the TU Darmstadt since 2018. The results of the field study with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany employees will also be incorporated into this research. The TU scientists want to gain insights into the effects of digitalization on the future world of work, a topic that is also of great interest to us as a science and technology company. The complete study results should be available at the beginning of next year.

elenoide, human robot elenoide, human robot

"How may I help you?"

Elenoide as HR consultant to help employees further their professional development.

Dietmar Eidens, Chief HR Officer at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

„The vast majority found it very interesting. They were curious and interested in learning more about the technology. But criticism has also been voiced and we’re taking this feedback very seriously.“

More than 300 colleagues had registered for an interview

Research on artificial intelligence (AI) at the workplace is still in its infancy. So far, there are only a few practical studies that are examining the possible applications. "With Elenoide, we’re trying to find out which tasks are suitable," says Eidens. In the foreground are automated processes, data processing, repetitive processes, but also more complex work in research and development (R&D labs) or in Human Resources. Here, for instance, intelligent chat bots could guide candidates through the application process. "The question is not whether, but when this technology is going to be a reality," says Dietmar Eidens. "We want to find out how we can best prepare our employees for the introduction of AI so as to support them in their day-to-day work, thus freeing up time and giving them more scope for more highly-skilled jobs and skills." That's why we give employees the chance to test new technologies such as robots and AI at a very early stage.

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