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Businesses Robotics The Almighty Buck

Amazon's Robot Workforce Grows By 50 Percent In Just One Year (siliconrepublic.com) 49

Amazon hires a lot of people. But the expansion of its army of orange-wheeled robots is more than keeping pace. An anonymous reader writes: E-commerce and cloud giant Amazon has revealed that it now has 45,000 robots across 20 fulfilment centres around the world. This is a 50 percent increase on the same time last year, when the company said that it employed 30,000 robots alongside its 306,000 people. Amazon uses the robots to automate the picking and packing process at large warehouses. The robots are 16in tall and weigh 145kg. They can travel at 5mph and can carry packages that weigh 317kg. The robots became part of the company's workforce when Amazon acquired Kiva Systems in 2012 for $775m.
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Amazon's Robot Workforce Grows By 50 Percent In Just One Year

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  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2017 @04:53PM (#53606429) Homepage

    The robots became part of the company's workforce when Amazon acquired Kiva Systems in 2012 for $775m.

    the specifications for the robots are not correct at all. these machines weigh slightly more than 340 kilograms, can travel at up to 60 miles per hour, do not feel hunger, sorrow, or pain, and are all equipped with a phased plasma rifle typically in the 40 watt range.

    regards,
    Kiva_prod_32423.aws.amazon.com
    A regular human worker employee.

    • You forgot to mention that, at least by default, they are toggled to the "don't kill all humans" setting.

      • You forgot to mention that, at least by default, they are toggled to the "don't kill all humans" setting.

        Oh, wait, you wanted That setting?

        Um.

        Sorry.

    • doesn't feel pity, remorse or fear, and absolutely will not stop... ever, until you are unemployed!

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      The robots are 16in tall and weigh 145kg.

      the specifications for the robots are not correct at all. these machines weigh slightly more than 340 kilograms

      They probably started hiring American robots...

      • They probably started hiring American robots...

        You can tell they're American because they have US flag decals on them

    • Bearing in mind that the word Robot is derived from the Czech robota meaning Forced Labour or Slave I think Amazon have been using robots from the word go
  • by presidenteloco ( 659168 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2017 @04:57PM (#53606461)

    Robots that make things connected to drones that deliver things, all run by a computer algorithm in the cloud that no single human understands.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Locke2005 ( 849178 )
      Just for grins and giggles, they should name the drone delivery system "Skynet"!
    • No one has the cash to buy anything after being put out of work. Or the taxes get very high when people start turning to the er / jail / prison as there doctor.

      • by jezwel ( 2451108 )

        No one has the cash to buy anything after being put out of work. Or the taxes get very high when people start turning to the er / jail / prison as there doctor.

        Thus why lowering corporate tax rates are ridiculous - personal income is going to be slashed by automation, so where will governments get their income from if corporate rates are dropped?

    • they make about $150-$300k/yr. Now, the folks who _own_ it all, they don't understand squat. But they don't need to. The ruling class just has to rule.
    • What could possibly go wrong?

      Your delivery, presumably.

    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      Sooner or later, someone will find out that long ago, the Amazon headquarters were flooded with a deadly neurotoxin, leaving none alive.

  • by fodder69 ( 701416 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2017 @05:03PM (#53606497)

    Send those suckers back to China where they were probably made and give those jobs back to American robots.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      Corporations and robots are people and will be able to vote soon.

      See, Trump is creating jobs.

  • I for one welcome our new robot overlords

  • ...the DVD I received rattling around in the refrigerator-sized shipping box. Insufficient training data on how to ship DVDs to Luddites mistrustful of streaming services.
  • Once the (by then unemployed) ex-customers cannot afford to buy stuff online anymore, they will be re-hired by Amazon to slave away distributing products to the (by then ruling class of) robots, who'll enjoy being serviced by the puny carbon units.
    • Not necessarily (Score:4, Insightful)

      by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2017 @10:01PM (#53607945)
      there's a third dystopia nobody likes to talk about, where the masses are simply left to starve to death while the entire world's resources are claimed by the 1%. I mean, if they have robots to make everything and the control access to food/shelter/health care/etc then why bother with employees? What the hell difference does it make if somebody buys your crap when you already own everything? The few of them you want for cooking food/doctors/engineers/military/sex workers/ will do as you say or they'll starve to death. And your robot guns will cut them down if they try to rebel.
  • We had 2 robots, now we have 3, a 50% majoration.

    • they had 15 THOUSAND and now have 30 THOUSAND. That's a major production. It's also at least 15 thousand new employees they didn't need to hire (give or take an engineer or two). So, what are you gonna do when the world _doesn't_ need ditch diggers? If you're lucky you'll live in the walled cities where robot gun emplacements protect you. If you're not one of them will cut your throat for a half day's worth of food. And if you think the 1% need you: get over yourself. If you're posting on /. you're not one
      • by m0hawk ( 3030287 )

        I'm not quite sure you go the parents joke there buddy.

        I did enjoy reading your dystopian rant though.

      • It's also at least 15 thousand new employees they didn't need to hire (give or take an engineer or two)

        But that's really not true. The robots don't eliminate the need for human employees.They just carry the pods (four-sided metal and fabric shelves) to the stowers and pickers, who are still people. So whereas these people used to have to traverse a giant warehouse of shelves to stow and pick merchandise, now they just stand in one spot and the shelves come to them. Which would you prefer, as an employee?

  • Only humans will receive that, to help with unemployment generated by automation. An "automation tax", like social security taxes, seems very welcome to me (by help on funding this social security spend) - just saying, IMHO

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