We are hearing this from years that robots are coming for our jobs,but nobody seems to know but when exactly this will happen. It can be because the process of automation is ponderously slow and hugely complex just like climate change. Effects of both are diffuse and spread out over time and space so much that we can force ourselves into thinking that it might not happening, or, at the very next second, that it’s happening to someone else.
Amazon’s latest effort to replace workers with machines can help doubt these notions, according to the new report from Reuters. Amazon is using technology in its warehouses that can package orders five times faster than humans, the news agency said.
Items are placed by workers on a conveyor belt and a box is build around them by machine, processing up to 700 orders an hour. According to the Reuters:
the machines have been installed in a “handful” of warehouses, but Amazon is considering bringing them to “dozens” of locations. In each case, it would mean the loss of 24 jobs.
The story was confirmed by the spokesperson from Amazon, that the technology was being piloted.
With the goal of increasing safety, speeding up delivery times and adding efficiency
In a bit of optimistic spin they added “We expect the efficiency savings will be re-invested in new services for customers, where new jobs will continue to be created.
The story doesn’t seem that exciting because the technology Amazon is deploying isn’t new. Cool robots are not involved in this technique, just anonymous assembly line machinery, so it is not flashy, and It’s been around at least five years.
According to the reports of Reuters, the scale of the job losses isn’t too big. These machines could remove some 1,300 jobs in Amazon’s warehouses in the US estimated by the news agency.But we can say that is just a drop in the bucket compared to the 196,000 jobs US employers which was added in March alone.
All these fears of why it can be so hard to get adjusted with the process of automation and why you may feel, when you read the latest headline about millions of jobs being threatened by robots, are overblown. It is just because the scale and pace of this change are often achingly slow.
Reuters’ report details hint at the bigger picture, this story starts from notes that, Walmart and Chinese retailing giant JD.com are also testing this technology out so Amazon isn’t alone in trialing this technology. Thus, this lead us towards the thinking that potential job losses have to be multiplied across the entire industry, not just a single company.
Even if workers don’t box them, they still have to place items on a conveyor belt, so Reuters say that the new machines don’t eliminate jobs altogether. This has been always the way with automation. Robots just replace certain tasks, they don’t steal whole jobs. It can also cut down on the total number of jobs needed, and can also free up humans to work elsewhere.
However, Amazon is avoiding the bad press about firing workers for robots because it doesn’t lay off humans directly. According to the reports of Reuters:
Rather than lay off workers, the person said, the world’s largest online retailer will one day refrain from refilling packing roles. Those have high turnover because boxing multiple orders per minute over 10 hours is taxing work.
We can say that to make way for robots, Amazon doesn’t have to fire people. It can just wait for them to quit on their own, as the work is so grueling. Company can boast one of the largest work forces in America while plowing its profits back into R&D in result of, which creates technology that will chip away at more jobs,just because the company continues to grow so quickly.
Slowly and by degree, this is exactly how automation works. Amazon says fully automated warehouses are at least a decade away, also it acknowledges that the technology to replace its warehouse workers doesn’t yet exist. But in the same time, it doesn’t deny from it at all.
However, the question is impossible to answer with any certainty that whether technology will create more jobs than it destroys over the next few decades.