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March 27, 2015

PREPPING FOR A MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE: Amazon Robot Contest May Accelerate Warehouse Automation. “Amazon has already automated some of the work done in its vast fulfillment centers. Robots in a few locations send shelves laden with products over to human workers who then grab and package them. These mobile robots, made by Kiva Systems, a company that Amazon bought in 2012 for $678 million, reduce the distance human workers have to walk in order to find products. However, no robot can yet pick and pack products with the speed and reliability of a human. Industrial robots that are already widespread in several industries are limited to extremely precise, repetitive work in highly controlled environments.”

But the robots get better every year, while the workers stay the same. Or, perhaps, get worse.