Amazon Is Moving Towards Automation As Human Workers Become Insufficient

By Aaron Kesel

An undercover journalist’s account of the conditions for an Amazon UK warehouse staff has gained a massive response online by exposing the legal slavery. But the bigger story is that the retail giant is replacing humans with robots, The Mirror reported.

Alan Selby explains how he found staff are just cattle – there to serve robots:

Amazon has recognized humans are the least efficient part of the operation, so in Tilbury the robots take over.

At every turn it felt like the human staff were reduced to livestock, existing only to service the machines

The repetitive, monotonous work at its ironically named “fulfilment centre” did me no favours mentally, either.

As this writer has written before on Steemit, we are shifting towards a working world with little or no humans as automation and artificial intelligence begins to take over our jobs. It’s cheaper to hire a few robots which don’t need rest and benefits than to hire a few humans which need healthcare and retirement funds.

The other main problem that this shift in society brings is that robots are not only out-competing humans but setting ridiculous performance targets, as the reporter writes.

Thousands of workers are racing to hit goals set by computers monitoring their every move. In my five weeks I saw staff struggling to meet impossible targets, in constant fear of the sack.

[…]

I was told to pack 120 single items an hour, or 85 multiple items. And I’ve since been told this will rise to 200 items.

Last year, the Seattle Times reported that Amazon had 45,000 robots spread across its 20 fulfillment centers.

Amazon bought a robotics company called Kiva Systems in 2012 for a whopping $775 million. Kiva’s robots automate the picking and packing process used at large warehouses which offers efficiency that humans can’t match. The robots can run at 5 mph and haul packages weighing up to 700 lbs.

When Amazon acquired Kiva, Phil Hardin, Amazon’s director of investor relations, said:



It’s a bit of an investment that has implications for a lot of elements of our cost structure, but we’re happy with Kiva. It has been a great innovation for us, and we think it makes the warehouse jobs better, and we think it makes our warehouses more productive.

Amazon also uses other types of robots in its warehouses, including large robotic arms that can move large pallets of Amazon inventory anywhere within the warehouse.

The trend has become startling: Amazon saw a 50% increase just last year alone; at the end of 2014, Amazon said it had 15,000 robots operating across 10 warehouses; in 2015, that number doubled to 30,000; and now Amazon has 45,000 in 20 different locations.

Beyond the warehouse, Amazon is also looking at automating the delivery aspect of its business with delivery drones or what it calls Prime Air. In December of last year, the company announced it had made its first delivery by an automated drone in the UK. Then in March of this year, they delivered their first package in the United States.  Amazon plans to create what it calls “beehives” in the coming future; a patent filed would allow the fully automated drones to deliver packages from large airships. Ultimately it means they are looking to take away business and jobs from USPS, UPS, and FedEx as well.

Although Amazon still faces hurdles for the automated delivery drones – like the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) – we expect the company based to continue its trend of adding robots in warehouses. The retail giant is clearly committed to gearing its future toward less and less human workers.

Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post. Support us at Patreon. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Steemit, and BitChute. Ready for solutions? Subscribe to our premium newsletter Counter Markets.


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10 Comments on "Amazon Is Moving Towards Automation As Human Workers Become Insufficient"

  1. Human slaves are always needing something. I need to eat. I need to use the bathroom.
    I need time off for my sick kids. Where as I can abuse the robots all I want – Bozos

  2. I hope a robot blows a fuse and strangles Bezos tearing his head off

  3. Vintage Builder | November 28, 2017 at 8:26 pm | Reply

    Humanoid workers, make that dolla. When ez ya’ll gonna stop watchin da voice and wise up? Nah, on second thought just keep dumbing yourselves down, slaves to your emotional reactions and childlike tempers. By all means empower the tech moguls to the very last, with your very last crumb and scrap of energy. Also the banks, don’t forget them. Oh and also Hollywood, be sure to go all goo goo eyes when the stars hit the red carpet. Stay asleep, good for the stock market.

  4. Amazon is the wallmart of the internet.
    Forced re-dick-u-lus demands.
    Bezos is a swamp creature.
    Drain the swamp.
    Silver stakes required.

  5. People who buy from Amazon drive this entire unhuman insanity. Stopping buying from them ANYTHING, could easy solve the situation. The remarkable thing though is, anything extremely important, like certain inaccessible books, which are related to decades of fraud, slavery, murder, corruption, etc, is all owned by ‘them’.

  6. It’s unlikely that we can halt the automation and AI trend. What society / politicians need to start thinking about is finding solutions for increasing unemployment and time on our hands. A universal income might be one such solution but is vulnerable to government abuse (coercion of recipients, etc).

    • Or better yet instead of UBI we could just have access to everything we need for free since the robots will become more and more efficient and require less and less maintenance over time. Then the bankers would become obsolete and we could hang ’em all in the streets (or just get the robots to do it).

    • James Innewmex | November 30, 2017 at 6:57 pm | Reply

      Their solution is death. Be careful what you ask for.

  7. James Innewmex | November 30, 2017 at 6:57 pm | Reply

    Legalized drugs are part of the plan, make people dysfunctional, let them die, and replace with robots.

  8. I am totally for robots replacing humans, at Amazon and everywhere else. Now humans must arrange for receiving the wealth, since the jobs being displaced are inhuman, nothing to celebrate. Might be sad for the billionaires, but hey, we’ll let them keep their heads this time.

    #basicincome

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