The debate on robots and society has predominantly focused on their presumed talent to destroy rather than create value. Here’s two articles to balance the debate, two positive views on robots entering the workforce.
1. Amazon and its hybrid work-force
Let’s look at how the world’s largest online retailer is using robots in its fulfillment centers. By doing so Amazon has been able to drive down shipping costs and pass those savings on to customers. Cheaper shipping made more people use Amazon, and the company hired more workers to meet this increased demand. Tasks involving fine motor skills, judgment or unpredictability are handled by people. They stock warehouse shelves with items that come off delivery trucks.
In 2016 the company grew its robot workforce by 50 percent, from 30,000 to 45,000. Far from laying off 15,000 people, though, Amazon increased human employment by around 50 percent in the same period of time. Even better, the company’s Q4 2016 earnings report included the announcement that it plans to create more than 100,000 new full-time, full-benefit jobs in the US over the next 18 months. Read More
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