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Domo Arigato Mr Roboto - Amazon rolls out machines that pack orders and replace jobs

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Posted (edited) · Original PosterOP

Source:
Reuters


Summary:
Amazon is rolling out packing robots to replace human packers. Is this good news or bad?

 

Media:
https://www.reuters.tv/v/Pwlk/2019/05/13/amazon-quietly-rolls-out-robots-to-pack-orders


Quotes/Excerpts:

Quote

Amazon...is rolling out machines to automate a job held by thousands of its workers: boxing up customer orders. The company started adding technology to a handful of warehouses...which scans goods coming down a conveyor belt and envelopes them seconds later in boxes custom-built. Amazon has considered installing two machines at dozens more warehouses, removing at least 24 roles at each one. That would amount to more than 1,300 cuts across 55 U.S. fulfillment centers. Amazon would expect to recover the costs in under two years. The plan, previously unreported, shows how Amazon is pushing to reduce labor and boost profits as automation of the most common warehouse task. Amazon is famous for its drive to automate as many parts of its business as possible. But the company is in a precarious position as it considers replacing jobs that have won it subsidies and public goodwill. “We are piloting this new technology with the goal of increasing safety, speeding up delivery times and adding efficiency across our network,” an Amazon spokeswoman said in a statement. “We expect the efficiency savings will be re-invested in new services for customers, where new jobs will continue to be created.” Amazon last month downplayed its automation efforts to press... saying a fully robotic future was far off. Rather than lay off workers, the person said, the world’s largest online retailer will one day refrain from refilling packing roles. Employees that stay with the company can be trained to take up more technical roles. The new machines...pack much faster than humans. They crank out 600 to 700 boxes per hour, or four to five times the rate of a human packer. The company describes this as an effort to “re-purpose” workers. These machines are not without flaws. CMC can only produce so many per year. They need a technician on site who can fix problems as they arise, a requirement Amazon would rather do without, the two sources said. The super-hot glue closing the boxes can pile up and halt a machine. But the boxing machines are already proving helpful to Amazon. The company has installed them in busy warehouses. “A ‘lights out’ warehouse is ultimately the goal,” one of the people said.

 

My Thoughts:
This definitely comes off as "GOOD NEWS EVERYONE... you're fired"-esque news. Regardless, after hearing the abysmal working conditions workers are in I feel that this is better than essentially torture. What's your thoughts? Is Amazon doing a good thing by replacing humans or a bad thing because thousands of people are losing their jobs? 

Edited by SansVarnic
Title replaced to reflect content.

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Since Amazon was already treating their employees like machines, maybe this is a blessing in disguise.


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-= Updated the title to better reflect the content of discussion. =-


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I don’t know if it is bad to say but judging by working conditions and how much employees complained I think this is a good thing. It puts them out of a job but what kind of life was it


ƆԀ S₱▓Ɇ▓cs: i7 6ʇɥפᴉƎ00K (4.4ghz), Asus DeLuxe X99A II, GT҉X҉1҉0҉8҉0 Zotac Amp ExTrꍟꎭe),Si6F4Gb D🅾🅼🅸🅽🅰🆃🅾r PlatinUm, EVGA G2 Sǝʌǝᘉ5ᙣᙍᖇᓎᙎᗅᖶt, Phanteks Enthoo Primo, 3TB WD Black, 500gb 850 Evo, H100iGeeTeeX, Windows 10, K70 R̸̢̡̭͍͕̱̭̟̩̀̀̃́̃͒̈́̈́͑̑́̆͘͜ͅG̶̦̬͊́B̸͈̝̖͗̈́, G502, HyperX Cloud 2s, Asus MX34. פN∩SW∀S 960 EVO

Just keeping this here as a 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Are they replacing the workers woth crab people?


Seagull eat fish. But fish belong to Mafia. Mafia punch seagull for not respecting Mafia. Seagull say "No, please! I have child!"

Mafia punch seagull with child.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pyo.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
13 minutes ago, SansVarnic said:

-= Updated the title to better reflect the content of discussion. =-

Ouch. I do admit this title may have been a bit too editorialized.


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Personally I never understood keeping jobs alive just for the sake of keeping jobs alive.

If it can be automated, let it be automated. Society will adapt, people will work less hours...


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10 minutes ago, BuckGup said:

I don’t know if it is bad to say but judging by working conditions and how much employees complained I think this is a good thing. It puts them out of a job but what kind of life was it

It's not like they were forced to work for Amazon....

 

And if you want to argue that they had to since they couldn't get another job (well aside from that it is still a choice to work there), now they don't have that option and they're in the don't have a job boat.


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There's profit driven companies and then there's PROFIT DRIVEN COMPANIES. Amazon seems to fit in that second category. 'Re-purpose', Amazon? Yeah you can cover it up all you like, but it's pretty clear what you're trying to do.

 

The thing is that Amazon have no excuses. It's the biggest company in the world, it makes profits through the roof. There is no reason for them to avoid giving better wages and better conditions for workers. And instead to avoid making a smaller profit they've decided to sack them all instead. Brilliant. The chance to improve people's lives or make a bigger profit. Hmm..I know which I'd pick and I know which the majority of Planet Earth would too. This is pure greed. Jeff Bezos, what have you been sniffing mate? He is the richest guy in the world and he's still greedy for more. It's ludicrous. Take advice from Bill Gates will you...

 

We need to throw out this 'robots doing everything' idea. Look, I'm happy with my products coming in a week's time. I don't care about a few days saved because the bots were faster. That's not futuristic, that's just greed. You put the bots in for other things. Lawnmowers that do things themselves, Transport that do things themselves, A bot that does stuff at home. But this star wars fantasy that these companies seem to living in is ridiculous. At no point should we be ruining people's lives for faster production and delivery and better profit. As I said, Amazon already makes crazy money. They don't NEED more money.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Quote

The super-hot glue closing the boxes can pile up and halt a machine.

Hilarious.

>robot defeated by glue.

Just brilliant.

 


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15 minutes ago, rcmaehl said:

Ouch. I do admit this title may have been a bit too editorialized.

Its not uncommon to not use the title of the piece being covered but your original title "GOOD NEWS EVERYONE - Amazon is renovating it's warehouses to remove harsh work environments" was not conducive to the content presented. Changes the dynamic of the discussion.


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Automated packaging isn't some weird new scifi tech. Most warehouses already have automated robotic stashing and pickup, so really, when order goes through, robot picks up the item and packages it for the customer. Sure this will mean losing necessity to have human workers, but they were already treated poorly so not much will be lost?

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6 minutes ago, MeatFeastMan said:

There's profit driven companies and then there's PROFIT DRIVEN COMPANIES. Amazon seems to fit in that second category. 'Re-purpose', Amazon? Yeah you can cover it up all you like, but it's pretty clear what you're trying to do.

 

The thing is that Amazon have no excuses. It's the biggest company in the world, it makes profits through the roof. There is no reason for them to avoid giving better wages and better conditions for workers. And instead to avoid making a smaller profit they've decided to sack them all instead. Brilliant. The chance to improve people's lives or make a bigger profit. Hmm..I know which I'd pick and I know which the majority of Planet Earth would too. This is pure greed. Jeff Bezos, what have you been sniffing mate? He is the richest guy in the world and he's still greedy for more. It's ludicrous. Take advice from Bill Gates will you...

 

We need to throw out this 'robots doing everything' idea. Look, I'm happy with my products coming in a week's time. I don't care about a few days saved because the bots were faster. That's not futuristic, that's just greed. You put the bots in for other things. Lawnmowers that do things themselves, Transport that do things themselves, A bot that does stuff at home. But this star wars fantasy that these companies seem to living in is ridiculous. At no point should we be ruining people's lives for faster production and delivery and better profit. As I said, Amazon already makes crazy money. They don't NEED more money.

Amazon makes a lot less profit than you think they do. And until somewhat recently they weren't profitable at all.


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In an idealised way, why should people have to do a particular job for the sake of doing that particular job? If the action required can best be served in another way, go for it.

 

The problem is the social side, what else would these people do? I wouldn't consider myself socialist, but I do wonder if the world as a whole could generate enough value that people could exist at a minimal level without money worries from working. That is, not having to worry about having a roof over your head, and knowing there will be a meal. Anything they do above that would be a bonus. 


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If this means I'm going to get the letterbox friendly SD card I ordered delivered in an envelop while I'm out rather than in a 2 cubic yard box that's 'left in the post room' (aka tossed over the back gate in the rain) then I'll be happy!

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> Agrees to increase minimum wage

> start Pushing harder for automation

 

Who would have thought


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While it might not be the case here, sometimes people need a push to move on to something new and in this case hopefully better. It's easy to get stuck with what you know because it feels safe.

 

They should, but probably won't, offer job training so they can move employees to better positions.

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1."WE WANT JOBS OR TOWNS ARE DYING, IF WE ONLY WE HAD ANY JOBS RATHER THAN SITTING ON OUR ASSES ALL DAY + WELLFARE"

2."My job sucks, terrible working condition (like any job lmao, over 90% of jobs in my experience suck ass)"

3.Robots come in and replace them, back to point 1.

 

cry me a river.... jobs exist because they suck and you need to get payed, otherwise they wouldnt be called jobs we would all work something we enjoy and doesnt suck

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6 hours ago, MeatFeastMan said:

 I don't care about a few days saved because the bots were faster. That's not futuristic, that's just greed. 

I can't speak for everyone, but I'm pretty sure that you'd be in the minority on that. The vast majority of people care about the end product above all else. If the working conditions are good and people can feel good about their purchases the all the better, but if people need to choose better products/services or better conditions for the workers, the are going to choose the products. If they didn't then people would have stopped buying Chinese electronics and other goods years/decades ago. 

 

There's nothing inherently meaningful or fulfilling about working in on an assembly line. Even if the workers that get replaced are excellent at their job, chances are they can learn and excel at most other unskilled jobs in the country. There's no reason to artificially hold back innovation and technological progress so that a specific industry can keep employing workers that are by all accounts miserable with their working conditions. 

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