Amazon’s robots don’t earn the living wage
Whilst thinking about the Amazon Anonymous protest, which is in part about how they treat their staff (amongst other things), this video of the Kiva robots, who work alongside humans in an Amazon warehouse in California, came my way.
In this facility 3000 robots are used to take the shelves to the pickers and packers so staff don’t walk the aisles finding inventory. The system has improved warehouse efficiency by 20%, according to the video below.
Amazon insist that the robots don’t take peoples’ jobs away from them. But they would say that wouldn’t they?
All that said, it’s a fascinating innovation and shows how much Amazon is investing in technology.
It doesn’t matter what people think about Amazon, that is just epic on every scale. Does anyone even remember Amazon starting in business because to me they have just always been massive ! It is interesting, impressive and yet scary all at the same time.
I remember them starting up. I was working for TSB Trustcard (TSB before it got swallowed up by Lloyds and then spat back out) in the credit card disputes department. It was 97/98 and the internet just becoming mainstream. I remember it well as I remember a team being set up to investigate what this INTERNET thing was that was causing so many customer disputes. Some sort of phone/mail order type thing but done via a computer was the initial confusing consensus…
Anyway the main culprits were two unknown cowboy US firms called Amazon and AOL. Customers would get statements with reems and reems of duplicate transactions. These cowboys were top of our dodgy merchants list and all call centre staff were told to report queries straight away they were so dodgy and rampant
15 odd years ago – things change quickly
Amazon bought that robotics company 2 or 3 years ago for about 800m ($ or £, I can’t remember). I think the official story was that once the robots were in place, each warehouse would require one-third less staff. Surely in time there will be few staff required in logistics.
I seem to remember that each Amazon Warehouse Worker was expected to walk so many miles per day during their shift. Now walking is supposed to make you fit and lose weight(according to my Doctor every time he sees me yet with my dodgy knees it is a bit of a problem). Obviously this will have meant lots of fit Amazon workers. But if they are going to sit behind packing tables and the robots are going to bring the goods to them surely working for Amazon will not be so healthy. They may end up with less workers but in total weighing the same.