Is it offensive to say "utilize someone"?
Automated factories perform better than those that utilize human workers.
If it is, could you please give me a polite and positive alternative?
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Workplaces treat people as resources, so utilize is appropriate here.
There is no actual, real polite way to directly say "machines are better than people", so the least offensive way to express this will be to not mention people at all.
For factories, a strong correlation exists between high performance and process automation utilization rate.