The company offered an example in the patent filing that included a scenario of a robot using section to pick up a coffee mug off a shelf and place it into a box. If and when they are successfully developed, these robots would no doubt wind up replacing hundreds of thousands of human workers that Amazon currently relies upon to do the job.
Axios has a good explanation of why this shift to automation matters:
Policymakers are trying to understand the impact that increased automation will have on jobs. Researchers associated with McKinsey found recently that’ “scenarios suggest that half of today’s work activities could be automated by 2055” but that only a small percentage of jobs could be fully automated.
Currently, it takes about a minute or so for a human warehouse worker to fulfill an order, which includes wrapping the item, placing it in a box, taping it up, and sending it off for shipping. Robots may one day be able to cut that time dramatically, and eventually be much cheaper than their human counterparts as well.
This development seems to fly in the face of Amazon’s recent announcement that it would create 100,000 jobs in the United States over the next 18 months. Clearly, those workers’ days are numbered, with technological advances pushing automation to the next level much sooner than most people imagine.
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) fell $2.04 (-0.24%) in premarket trading Friday. Year-to-date, AMZN has gained 11.91%, versus a 2.59% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.