Last week, Amazon unveiled robots that pick, pack and ship orders — duties that are (at least, currently) handled by thousands of human employees all over the country.
As reported by Reuters, each “CartonWrap” machine (yes, that’s what they’re called) cranks “out 600 to 700 boxes per hour, or four to five times the rate of a human packer,” and only requires “one person to load customer orders, another to stock cardboard and glue and a technician to fix jams on occasion.”
(BTW, based on the math above, Amazon’s human employees are packing 150 boxes an hour, which is INSANE. A belated shoutout to the four-armed wizards pulling that off.)
According to Reuters, Amazon is considering installing two of the $1 million machines at “dozens more warehouses,” each of which “typically [employs] more than 2,000 people.” And that rate of installation would result in more than “1,300 [job] cuts across 55 U.S. fulfillment centers.”
But that’s just the beginning; per one source quoted in the story, “A ‘lights out’ warehouse is ultimately the goal.” No word on whether Amazon is planning to return the hundreds of millions of dollars its been awarded by local governments for “job creation.”
Turns out Skynet isn’t going to kill us with Terminators – it’s going to kill us with unemployment.
You can read more about it at Reuters.