A Warehouse Robot Learns to Sort Out the Tricky Stuff

At a facility near Berlin, a new kind of robot is automating tasks that until recently had been out of the reach of machines.

Comments: 190

  1. It works just like a human! It drops sensitive electronics parts into a box from two feet high.

  2. Let this be a fair warning that we need to start changes in our educational system now!

  3. @HN Ah yes, the old "lifelong learning" trope so beloved by Thomas Friedman and his chorus of corner office gurus, which places the entire onus for their misery on the worker who has failed to keep up. Whenever you ask one of these "experts" what precisely the "jobs of tomorrow" will be, they fall strangely silent, although they're quite willing to assure you they will exist in abundance. They cannot even tell you where we should be allocating our educational resources now to prepare for this wondrous future. If they tell you "STEM", don't believe them, the majority of STEM workers are a dime a dozen. This specious argument has been formulated by CEO's to defray any outcry about how the profits should be shared. Andrew Yang has it right, which is one reason he's managed to hang on for so long. Even if this idea had any merit, it fails to take into account that most adults are neither willing or equipped to engage in "lifelong learning", even in areas in which they have a passionate interest, let alone studying how to remain a useful corporate widget. Nobody was placed on this Earth in order to engage in the Sisyphean task of remaining "current" so they can further enrich the rich. It can only end in burnout, poverty, and violence.

  4. I read this and thought immediately of another huge sorting job that should be capable of automation in the not-too-distant future: the masses of potentially useful materials in our trash and recycling bins. Current methods only recover a fraction of the value.

  5. @Robert Bott I think that in about 10-20 years companies won´t need to outsource to China or other low income countries, these robots are at the most 1-2 generations away from replacing humans on any sort of assembly line

  6. @Robert Bott A Finnish company, ZenRobotics, already manufactures AI-powered robots that sort waste. They call their learning software 'ZenBrain.' https://zenrobotics.com/ I'm sure their robots don't have the delicate touch required to sort through fragile retail items, but the idea is the same.

  7. Love the way it drops the packages into the boxes, hope nothing is fragile! That thing could definitely work for AMAZON.

  8. I just had some sales guys at our site earlier this week pitching embedded neural processors that can be added to our existing controllers for just this kind of task, or whatever we could imagine using it for. This is a future that is here now.

  9. Brace yourselves, America, as when these roll out more widely here, a whole new set of workers will find themselves displaced. In Europe it's unfortunate but here there is no social safety net to catch these folks. If we want to be prepared then yes of course education needs to change, but more than that we should ensure Americans that they won't be left behind and that they'll at least have health insurance. Medicare for all comes to mind.

  10. Engineers have been trying to program robots to solve these types of “unstructured” problems for decades. Self learning AI software will replace a lot of human decision making, not just for mechanical robots. Most diagnostic type decision making should see improvements.

  11. Any cognitive or manual task that is repetitive and predictable can be done by automation, robots or artificial intelligence. This has been studied extensively by PEW, Brookings, McKinsey, AEI and other think tanks. They project that 50% of work tasks will be taken over by technology in the coming decades. Sound far fetched? The US has lost 6 million manufacturing jobs since the 1970s, with 85% of them taken by automation, not outsourced to low wage countries like China or Mexico. That's why US factory output doubled while the workforce was cut in half. Technological disruption is spreading to every sector of the economy, taking both white collar and blue collar jobs. The educational system has to do a much better job of teaching skills that have not been duplicated by technology. Higher order thinking and social/emotional learning are examples. But the future of technology is unpredictable, so people will have to be lifelong learners so that they can adapt to wherever the workplace goes.

  12. Is there any job that that can't be diminished or supplanted by automation? I suspect there are none that can't be diminished. Capitalism's imperative to do more with less, less meaning fewer laborers, ensures a constant negative impact on employment opportunities, which will amplify calls for a universal basic income.

  13. @David To your point, since the 1970s manufacturing output measured in inflation adjusted dollars (real dollars) has only grown in the U.S. The U.S. manufacturing output is at an all-time high, but employment in manufacturing continues to decline. This is the same pathway as agriculture - greater and greater output produced by fewer and fewer workers. Manufacturing and farming combined only make up less than 8% of the workforce, and still falling fast. Someday soon I expect to see a newspaper headline that reads: "Major Manufacturing Facility to Open in Town this Fall - No Workers Necessary".

  14. @David A story, near two years ago, on GM announcing a new Detroit area plant noted that it would employ about 900 workers... that similar output in the 60s would have required near 13,000 workers - the difference, automation.

  15. And who will there be left to employ.? Where will the jobless masses find the money to buy the items sorted by the machines that took their jobs by the companies and stockholders that wanted lower costs and higher profits?

  16. Yang is right. Universal basic income will need to become reality.

  17. One must be cautious about the word "random." Each bin has multiple packages of the same item, not a mix of different items, which is what many of us think when we read the word "random." The advance that has been made here is that the arm can pick and place items that are not neatly laid out in the same orientation or all packaged in the same manner. The elaborate bin system with barcodes is still necessary. When the arm does not need the barcodes, that will be truly impressive.

  18. This will displace workers. I was struck by the guy in Germany who said it was hard to keep human workers because the plant gets to over 100 degrees at times. Can electronics “work” in that kind of heat day after day? I’ll bet that the plant will provide cooling for its robots when it would not do so for its human workers.

  19. @Alabama Resident Nice retort! Absolutely.

  20. And what about a robot to relieve retail grocery shoppers of the time spent picking items in the aisles and placing them in carts? Will the shoppers' time go unaddressed by robotics because it is not monetized -- while the labor of the stocking staff has a cost that will attract automated solutions?

  21. Many stores already have personal shoppers. Stores know people will pay for convenience. Eventually stores will need this option to stay competitive. Robots work well in warehouses, but I imagine it’s a safety concern (as well as technically difficult) to have robots wondering retail store aisles.

  22. @Angela Talk about safety concerns... But it'll be okay for them to drive down our roads?

  23. In essence the human robot who brought the stuff can then receive the same blue plastic box at home, instead of the ubiquitous cardboard, unpack it and bring it to a local recycling center or have the driver take old ones with him, reducing the need for tons of shipping cardboard in our ecosystem—oh darn, that’s two industries wiped out!

  24. I think the focus of robotics is on the wrong end of the spectrum. Why are they not replacing those who aren't sorting? Contracts can be evaluated by computer, replace the legal department. Computers can do cost benefit analysis, replace the financial planners and the rest of the executive team. Computers can send email, use voice synthesizers on conference calls, and actually multi task, unlike people, so no more "what was the question" on conference calls. The Turing test is more difficult than most work done at that level, and is close to being passed, so this should be easy. Also, computers learn from their past behavior so they won't open spam email exposing the company to ransomware, or other, digital attacks, either. i don't see a downside, it should be easy.

  25. @what about the environment And who's going to buy the stuff if there aren't jobs for those many people whose jobs were lost to computers? I guess we'll all be Uber drivers, but for whom?

  26. @mk we can drive the robots from job to job.

  27. @Commentmonger They're training robots to do that. Or they'll use driverless cars and trucks, which were built and serviced by robots.

  28. Excellent topic - thanks for highlighting it. For those that pay attention to politics, this is an example of what Andrew Yang has been talking about. While we should all be supportive of industries becoming more productive, we need to figure out how to transform our workforce. For decades the job of the Communists in China has been to find work for their billions of farm workers. The job isn't finished but they are getting there. Perhaps America needs to adopt a similar priority of job making (though obviously not in the freedom restricting way the Chinese have done it). Yang proposes universal basic income solution; I'd support it only if we eliminated all other means tested entitlements. The point is, we need to make this a political priority at a national level. There must be other solutions.

  29. @deedubs I'm glad to see you bring up Yang. His policies are going to be key as things like this become more common. Retail workers are being automated out of the economy. Walk into any Walmart to see that happening. I just watched a WP interview, where Charles Lane told Andrew that the retail jobs at are just going to shift to the warehouses of Amazon, insinuating that we don't have to worry. Nevermind that these warehouse jobs are less desirable, but based on the machine highlighted in this article, imagine this future. You make an order from Amazon, and no human touches the package on the way to your door. A warehouse floor robot (that already exists at Amazon) brings your order to a robot picker, who gives it to a robot packer, who pushes the package to a holding area, where a robot sorter, like this one brings it to some robotic arms that load them into a self driving truck (Coming soon). That truck brings the package to an airport where those same arms load the packages into the plane. Automated software flies the plane (like they already do). Repeat the truck loading process on the other end. A self driving delivery truck delivers the package where a Baxter-like droid carries the package to your door. (No human to toss it towards your door in a rush). This future is coming soon. Within the next decade or two, it will be here, and we will need something like UBI to prevent major societal upheaval that makes the great depression look tame.

  30. Now if we can just get the robots to spend their wages at the local diner, meet Mr. or Mrs. Right, invest in a new home, and have little bots to feed and clothe, there will be no end to the economic benefits for everyone!

  31. @tomfromharlem There would be no end to the economic benefits to everyone as it is right now. If we slightly restructured the economy to make it so.

  32. Robots also do not need healthcare, paid family leave, vacation, and workers compensation. Also, robots do not steal inventory or sexually harass their coworkers.

  33. @SparkyTheWonderPup Sounds like the dream Trump constituency.

  34. @SparkyTheWonderPup Ah, so can we have a robot in the White House? Seems like an upgrade from the current president!

  35. @SparkyTheWonderPup Not yet.

  36. Wow, think of all of the people this will...benefit. All of the good jobs it will...create. Thanks, German engineers.

  37. You mean Californian ... it’s clearly says that they’re from Berkeley

  38. Robots don't buy cars, or houses, or stuff from Amazon.

  39. And people say that AI's potential threat to jobs is exaggerated. Nonsense. It's not exaggerated enough!

  40. Perhaps the answer is to simply mass-produce fewer humans.

  41. Kurt Vonnegut's first novel, Player Piano (1952), is set in a future where all work is done by robotic autonomous machines, and the story is about the displaced workers on the dole struggling to find meaning in their lives. Enough to survive but nothing to live for. If you're having trouble imagining such a world, look to videos of refugee camps.

  42. That’s right, the Yang solution.

  43. @Tony Quintanilla what's the Klobuchar solution? Out of curiosity...

  44. Andrew Yang saw this coming.

  45. Don't you believe a word of this artificial intelligence article propaganda. You've not seen the massive foul ups produced by automation of even simple tasks with hard objective quantifiable decision making rules already established. I have. They're selling you an endless loop of learning criteria with huge decision memory re branded as intelligence which learns. Without the massive memory and processing speed to categorize and quantify errors, plus the ability to make seemingly endless errors, none of this artifical nonsense works. You're being sold on programmers insistence they make endless errors on clear decision criteria. Without the endless errors, their nonsense doesn't work. This offers the programmer the luxury to be as lazy as he wants to be so he can get back to his gameboy playstation; no need to define the decision making criteria properly, we'll just build in the capacity to make endless 'mistakes' and let the system 'learn' from them. Takes all the burden off the programmer to do the job right in the first place and puts it right back onto the customer to prove it out and get it working properly. That's all you're looking at. Oh, you disagree, do you? OK. IF the CEO's of tech allow themselves and their families to be the first to be operated on by Artificial Intelligence guided robotic surgeons, THEN we'll have something worthwhile. Until then, it is what I said it is, lazy programmers with too much memory and processing speed to waste. Go gameboys, go.

  46. @angry veteran Word salad. Was the comment above generated by a comment-synthesizing AI? Cool!

  47. @angry veteran , I am sorry that you are so angry. The fact that you are also a veteran shows that people can greatly benefit their society in ways that don't result in direct corporate profits. I hope you can get past your anger to notice how much has changed in the past few decades in our understanding of how intelligence works: human, animal, or machine. The most effective intelligences seem to learn a lot more than than simply execute a complex bag of rote instincts. Watching a human infant in its first year is a good way to see some of this. A newborn spends huge amounts of time looking at its environment but careful experiments show that it makes little sense of all that it sees, in the very beginning. It also learns huge amounts about how to move its arms and legs, but in no seemingly coordinated way. Soon, however, you can see a baby visibly startle as it sees its hand pass over its face. Within a few weeks, it can sort of try to reach for something that it sees. To an amazing degree, the learning process is a lot more trial and error than classroom logic.

  48. @angry veteran feel free to try to code up every possible situation a robot can encounter. Even if you somehow had the time to achieve this, the robot’s code would be an unreadable mess and good luck debugging it. These learning algorithms aren’t the result of programmers who are lazy and would rather spend time playing video games. They’re the result of programmers who are very smart finding new ways to produce complex behavior with code that is simple and easy to understand relative to the complexity of that behavior. This is called good programming. I guarantee you that when we as a species do create fully AI robot surgeons that even a rich person would use, it will be the result of machine learning and not some insane endeavor to program every possible scenario.

  49. Um, isn't there a democratic candidate who has been talking about the rise in these intelligent machines all along? Oh yes, why, Andrew Yang! We need 21st century solutions to these rising issues....not everyone can "learn how to code." Yang2020

  50. Andrew Yang...anyone?!

  51. Where can I sign up to become a robot?

  52. Well, in 50 years I'll be dead, so I guess that's good.

  53. 100 years ago, the person, usually a boy, that sorted type at the printing shop was called the “devil”.

  54. In the year 2525.....

  55. The robot in the video seems to be sorting regularly-shaped boxes and has nothing to do with the content of this article. Hopefully we'll reach a stage soon where AI will help write newspaper articles on AI.

  56. Just wonderful: people get put out of work, rich business owners get to make more money, and the consumer gets his useless junk more quickly! Who could ask for more?

  57. @jgm The only problem is the interconnection between the unemployed worker and the consumer. They just MIGHT be one and the same.

  58. I've told so many people this over the years; invest in robotics and AI NOW! Do it. This is your opportunity, folks. Invest in robotics and AI NOW!!

  59. Isn’t healthcare and its attendants the place to soak up extra workers? They still need someone to empty the bedpans, feed and change elderly patients or manage the elderly in their homes. Childcare would be another way to soak up displaced workers.

  60. @Meighan Corbett Actually, the robots do not fall sick. Therefore, seeing that their human masters, who are sick and vulnerable are a drag on their effectiveness, the robots will eliminate them.....

  61. @Meighan Corbett Marginally-skilled strangers taking care of your parents and children, because there was no other work available ... brilliant!

  62. @Vic That's why we bolt them to the floor and put them behind cages.

  63. CNC machines have taken jobs for decades, they get better and faster all the time AI is not going to be required. Once all the humans are eliminated from the work environment, there will be no randomness. Robots put things in boxes and bins exactly the same way every time. Just like in manufacturing, where processes have changed to allow machines to do the jobs better, warehouses will also change. In manufacturing it might be more efficient for a human worker to do multiple different operations on a part to make it quickly, while a computerized machine will do multiple operations at once and make a better part faster. In a warehouse process will change, to make it simpler for the robot to do its job, and the next guys out of work will be the software engineers

  64. Looks like the robot is just tossing things into that one bin. Talk about lifelike!

  65. Stunned that HEURISTIC, one of my favorite words, did not appear in this article.

  66. Indeed, you might even say these robots are Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computers.

  67. Satariano quotes a tech executive singing the praises of a warehouse robot: “It doesn’t smoke, is always in good health, isn’t chatting with its neighbors, no toilet breaks . . . It’s more efficient.” Absolutely, and the intended, logical extension of this trend is freeing humans to do those things that robots cannot: pursuing pleasure, knowledge for its own sake, friendship, love, spirituality, art. But let's not forget the byproducts of supplanting humans with machines everywhere that it becomes technically feasible. For instance, the authors of "Brave New World" and "Fahrenheit 451" warn of potentially grave, unintended consequences of anointing property and the pursuit of profit a legal status on par with human rights. Then there's "The Time Machine," where H.G. Wells wrote about a distant future where humans had evolved into two groups: those who tend the machines that do almost everything to support human existence, and a flock of hedonistic creatures who unknowingly serve--quite literally--as nourishment for the mechanics. A society whose members feed on each other? We currently have a society whose members serve each others' interests in myriad ways. But what does a society look like where none of its members actually does anything of value to the others?

  68. @J Young "Absolutely, and the intended, logical extension of this trend is freeing humans to do those things that robots cannot: pursuing pleasure, knowledge for its own sake, friendship, love, spirituality, art." This is a hopeful spin. But this was also the claim for other labor-saving devices (the dishwasher, the washing machine)--so much leisure time promised! Yet, none has been forthcoming, due to societal pressures that will always devalue the easily-obtained.

  69. @SW Sock darning had been replaced with internet commenting.

  70. By the end of this century most of the jobs performed by human beings will be performed by robots. Those who design, build, and use the robots are going to become vastly richer and those humans who are replaced, vastly poorer. How governments around the world resolve this issue may well determine the fate of society. If the wealth is not somehow shared, there will be revolution on a world wide scale, the results of which are difficult to predict, but are not likely to end without considerable tragedy.

  71. One unlikely but potentially long term solution is to plan and work toward a lower, sustainable population. This flies in the face of conventional left wing politics, but the future is coming even if it’s not PC. Better to plan for it, than what we do now, which is propagate a system that isn’t working already.

  72. @Richard Phelps Except they will be built by other robots, so only the designers will benefit. As others mentioned, the labour market will diminish significantly and so will demand for products.

  73. And add to that climate disruption.

  74. This is the future, and there’s no stopping it. If we end or limit automation here, other countries will continue to develop it and outcompete us. The “Yang Gang” is dead wrong on this.

  75. @Nicholas Stephens I think the Yang Gang agrees with you. The Freedom dividend ($1000 a month) is meant to combat the fact that this is inevitable. Yang is saying this is happening and will increase. He's proposing that we structure society based on that assumption: that automation is going to take jobs. I haven't seen any suggestion that we thwart automation but only consciously respond to it as a reality. It's the other candidates that are assuming it's not a big deal or is a more minor element of the future.

  76. How many robots purchase products. None. The work may be tedious but it provides someone with the means to eat and provide shelter for someone and their loved ones. We have to start questioning the wisdom of putting people out of work just so a few extra dollars can be made.

  77. @Michael Your line of questioning seems like a huge waste of effort to me. This is going to happen. Period. Best put energy in reorienting the work force.

  78. @Michael , you are assuming that all the dollars made by these robots will go to people who are already so rich that they don't need to buy more things. That's a social and political problem much more than an economic or business one. People need to stop blindly voting for politicians like the ones who forced through the US tax cut two years ago, on a partisan vote. The result of this cut has been trillion-dollar yearly deficits in the late stages of an economic expansion, with the cuts largely going to the wealthiest individuals. This bill also made it even easier for wealthy families to ensure that their progeny will start adult life out already wealthy.

  79. A better word for artificial intelligence is machine learning. The software that drives the robot works with algorithms that were written by a computer that could learn. The algorithms themselves do not learn.

  80. @Andreas How does it matter?

  81. AI is barely getting started. As it progresses, fewer and fewer tasks will remain in the category of "human worker required." This could make life much better or much worse, depending on how we structure our society and government. We need less anxious talk about how to prevent AI from taking over jobs, and more thought about how to build a decent society for humans, in a world where robots have taken over the toil and labor. This should be do-able. The transition is going to be hard, but the longer we wait to get started, the more difficult and drawn out the transition will be.

  82. Like all the “shoulds” in response to global warming.... Somehow our distress prefers short-term denial and pain-relief responses (Trump) instead of thoughtful, non-emotional, executive responses (Klobuchar).

  83. "I, for one, welcome our new [robot] overlords." This kind of machine learning makes perfect sense. It's how humans learn too. There are an infinite number of recognition mistakes, but only a finite number of probable mistakes, so you need a computer to be able to learn only enough to cover 99.99% and you will beat a human. I've done this in a trivial way with text recognition: in our organization, provider names are mistyped into scheduling. Over time, each misspelling has been programmed into the system and set to correct. Is this perfect? No, it will fail when presented with a new misspelling. Has it made a mistake in the last few thousand tries? No. The advantageous thing is that, potentially, once one machine is trained that can be exported to all machines. And you can have a "quality control" machine that checks the output from a number of others, unlikely to make the same mistake. Desirable? That's a more complicated question.

  84. "Human workers will need to find other things to do." Such statements fly by in these tech articles with a light, harmless tone of inevitability. Pity the little people. It will be interesting when the headlines are instead "Machine-learning-trained robot more successfully manages equity than investment bankers." or "IBM's Watson successfully out-negotiated Skadden lawyers in the multi-billion dollar acquisition of X, vastly reducing the purchase price and successfully leaving X's founders with significant indemnification obligations. Thus far, 10 Fortune 100 companies have dropped Skadden counsel instead opting for AI-driven negotiators." Oh, the horror!

  85. @Gina: You are close to the truth, even though your comment is intended to be satirical. Index funds, which use a passive investment strategy implemented electronically (one would not even call their implementation "AI") match or exceed the performance of most managed funds once you factor in the expense ratios. Read Daniel Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow" or William Poundstone's "Fortune's formula" for why this is so: it's that many "experts" greatly overrate their own abilities, explaining their successes to talent and their failures to bad luck.

  86. And they should be heavily taxed so as to pay for an unemployment benefit of the job it is taking off humanoid.

  87. @CK This article focuses on a robot that does the job that almost no human wanted to do in the first place (six month replacement rate). But in any case. the spirit of innovation is pretty much extinguished when government's response is to tax the living daylights out of it.

  88. Sounds like the "job" performed by this robot (sorting parts all day) was mind-numbing for a human being. My first job (college graduate here) was adding up numbers all day on a manual adding machine, a job which has since been automated (of course). I hated that job with a dedicated hatred. Good riddance to jobs like that. Even a job at McDonalds selling french fries is far more interesting. The real question is, what accommodations should be made to the human workers displaced by automation? An ideal world would be one where robots do all jobs consisting of sorting parts day after day, just as robots (computers) add up numbers for us, and human workers are occupied with something more interesting and productive. The machines should be working for us, not the other way around.

  89. Somebody tell the democrats that their continued push for ever higher immigration of poor, unskilled, uneducated people is not the way forward economically (or any other way). Automation is the future. Fewer low skilled jobs, like factory worker (and yes, fruit and vegetable picker) is going to further exacerbate our looming over supply of these workers. We should use this opportunity to plan for a sustainable future and lower population, rather than just more of the same.

  90. Not all immigrants pick fruit. And one of their kids may find a cure for bigotry.

  91. I didn’t mention race. I wonder why you did...

  92. Race was mentioned because we can see right thru you. You’re not fooling anyone.

  93. After watching the robot work for a little over a minute, it occurs to me that lots of human beings other then earning a living are mostly wasting their lives doing monotonous, repetitive work. Andrew Yang is making more sense to me every day. Imagine a world where former workers were free to actually think creatively? We can lament they took our jobs or we can be thankful they took are jobs. It's up to us to decide how we as a society will look at this and deal with it.

  94. @HL After watching the clip it impressed me that the robot can only handle one item at a time, taking way longer than a human who can pick up 3 items and not drop them into a box.

  95. @K Barrett I suspect it will get faster and you could replace 1 worker with 10 robotic arms.

  96. @K Barrett Multiple arms can be placed in the space a human would take up. The robot works 24/7. The robot doesn't take breaks or need days off. The robot doesn't require health insurance or any other benefit that humans require.

  97. There's a little start-up in Silicon Valley called Skynet. The founders say its the way of the future. Web 10.0 Anyone here of it?

  98. @GW Thanks for the chuckle. Exactly what I was thinking.

  99. For a solution to protect your future (when robots take over your jobs), please check out Andrew Yang's policies. Andrew is fully aware of all the economic challenges that will come when more and more jobs are lost to automation. He also cites studies that show retraining (for workers to learn new skills) have low success rates, which is why he proposes universal basic income. This article perfectly illustrates how much our world will change due to robots, and Andrew Yang provides many answers to this problem. (search "joe rogan andrew yang" on youtube for an excellent interview with Andrew).

  100. Needing fewer humans around is the best idea I have ever heard.

  101. I think it's distressing that the companies that will adopt this technology are the same ones that pay little or no taxes. The displaced workers will need some sort of universal basic income, so these companies will have to start paying taxes.

  102. But will the covariant robot get the covarivirus?

  103. Don't worry. Climate change will rip the floor out from all these speculations and dreams, one way or another: floods, fires, destruction of sustaining nature, viruses resulting from biological/human chaos. AI would be better used to get the plastics out of the oceans, the carbon out of the air and the plants pollinated, but it's too late, isn't it?

  104. How about for each robot "employed" by a company the company pays the equivalent Medicare and Social security taxes that it otherwise would pay if a human were employed. Thereby providing a source of income for the benefits the displaced will need. Or is that too much to ask of capitalism?

  105. But what qualifies as a robot? Is a screen where I can place an order a robot? Is a self checkout line a robot?

  106. @Jack Neither of those is an example of a robot. Robots do physical tasks. To use your first example, a robot would assemble and perhaps deliver your order.

  107. "...their development raises new concerns about warehouse workers losing their jobs to automation." These are not new concerns. The concern is that everyone is pretending they aren't seeing what they know is coming. I'm not against robots but I am against not solving the problem they will create. Innovation is cool but we need to innovate for human beings not just factory owners. Uber drivers, taxi drivers, truck drivers, warehouse workers and even strawberry pickers will all be out of work. That could be good but we'll have to be very creative if we want to make that true. That's where time, money and intelligence needs to be invested. There are enough people working on how to profit from robots. Let's create an incentive structure to solve the problem we know the robots will create.

  108. Wow! What a marvel of technology. A welcome development...with the proviso that labor be well taken care of, with higher aims...while leaving routine boring jobs to a maschine. A delicate proposition whose balance remains an ethical dilemma. If human imagination is coupled with creativity, then there seems no limit to human ingenuity and progress...for our enjoyment. But, of course, we are not there yet, are we?

  109. Be careful for what you wish for, if AI takes hold these robots might organize and go on strike. Will R2D2 and CP3O cross the line?

  110. @GW R2D2 would never betray his comrades. But CP30? That guy's an Uncle Robbie.

  111. @GW I, for one, welcome our new box sorting overlords.

  112. @GW That's funny! XD

  113. Once you've cut costs by firing all the workers, who will be able to buy your products? Oh. I forgot. America's new aristocracy of wealth. We peasants can watch them, tears of admiration pricking our eyes and rumbles resounding from our empty bellies.

  114. Send v2 to my child's room.

  115. A Lego picker-sorter-storer robot the size of a cat would sell like hotcakes!

  116. It seems that this hand wringing has been going on for two centuries . The Luddites where breaking machines in the early 1800's . Machines and technology have been producing more stuff with less workers since the dawn of the industrial revolution . Its the one and only element that has been raising the standard of living the last two hundred years. Yet unemployment today is lower than it has been in a long time . I read Yang's book with bated breath waiting for him to explain why this time its different . Out of the few hundred pages the closest I got to was "trust me this time its different ". Just like the agricultural worker of the 1800's who could not possibly envision where his grand kids would be employed as most industries where not even invented yet, so too will the warehouse workers of today be employed in industries that may not even be invented yet .

  117. @Ben He explains it quite well. What type pf work do you think is going to replace the jobs that are taken over by some form of automation or AI? Any type of systematic repetitive work can be done faster cheaper and better by a robot or AI now or not long from now.

  118. I hope you are right. And right now that vision of the future is obscure at best and people are in a high degree of anxiety today. The capitalist class seems indifferent despite empty words at Davos. Indifferent because they are in effect incapable of overcoming their own economic imperatives, even the most willing. Again, what are regular people especially our children supposed to do for decent work? At GM the new labor agreement still has two tiers of workers, the older ones making good union scale middle class wages and the new hires making half or less and relegated to the new lower class. This drives parents crazy. And that’s why they will vote for even a certified con-man like Trump who might shake up the system even without knowing the eventual outcome. That’s desperation at work.

  119. @Ben this time workers are being displaced by machines that can learn and process info. the same couldn't be said for the agricultural machines of the 19th and 20th centuries. the scope is much wider now and the rate of change is accelerating.

  120. For those saying it's time to re-orient the workforce, I would posit you are way too optimistic. Manufacturing has been in decline for decades and we have seen how it's turned out for those workers. It guts communities and we maybe shunt them sideways into low-skilled food or medical jobs. Now, the real test will be as the AI improves and white collar jobs begin to disappear. Doctors? Already happening - these computers can store more than you could ever possibly know. They are more precise. And they won't have bias. Ditto nurses. Ditto CNA's. Ditto Lawyers. etc etc etc So what pray tell, are we all training for exactly?

  121. So often I'm glad to be in the final third of my life.

  122. @Sam Francisco ditto at the final seventh of my life

  123. The only thing the robots can’t do is buy the products that are being sorted. That’s where the supply chain comes to a screeching halt.

  124. Listen to Andrew Yang discuss automation and how it has, is, and will impact jobs. A higher minimum wage will not help when there are no minimum wage jobs. A college education is not a pass to a secure future. Here is a link to a long interview from when he was just starting out. Most in depth and stark. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTsEzmFamZ8

  125. This is both good and bad. The earth needs fewer people, by a lot. We are eating through the earth's biota at a ferocious rate -- over fishing the oceans, over extracting nutrients from the soil, over logging the forests, over paving the green spaces, over heating the planet, and over spewing pollutants into the air water and land. How many people can the earth sustain in a steady state and still stay healthy? I would guess not more than one billion. That is not going to happen in a hundred years. If were at that population level now, these robots would be great to have. Right now, the problem is that they render some 6 billion of us redundant. How do we manage the transition to 1 billion in a 100+ years without famine, mass migration, planetary heat death and nuclear annihilation before we get there?

  126. @whaddoino "How do we manage the transition to 1 billion in a 100+ years without famine, mass migration, planetary heat death and nuclear annihilation before we get there?" The Wuhan Coronavirus?

  127. You don’t. The apocalypse is coming. Actually, it’s pretty much already here.

  128. Great. Maybe someday the human race can do without people altogether.

  129. The planet sure could.

  130. Oh that’s great! So the salary paid to humans who currently do this work will be distributed among the workers who once did this work so that they can pursue more meaningful employment?! That’s amazing! Thank god capitalism is over in the age of technological “innovation” because otherwise, stories like this would just be another horrible thing that’s happening to the rest of us as modern day royalty becomes increasingly all-powerful.

  131. far too slow, and dropping items from too high, can't pack tightly, and only pick up from loosely packed boxes. long way to go yet. charge what the market will bear. this is what it's all about.

  132. We need to create "Consumer Robots" to buy all the stuff that other robots make.

  133. @Richard Fried That's the plot of Frederik Pohl's 1954 short story "The Midas Plague".

  134. @Richard Fried Gazillions of paper clips out the yin-yang.

  135. We have a problem. With the relentless ascendancy of AI, what are regular people supposed to do for decent work? Not everyone is cut out for high end technical or professional work. America became great because of Henry Ford’s decision to pay his workers wages that would allow them to purchase his cars! We have lost that insight. Or rather, our capitalists have lost that insight. As with global warming, the insidious nature of automation and consequent class disparity is given lip service and little action. The imperatives of capitalism are overwhelming. And regular people want their children to be better off than they not worse. The political result is Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, in effect a kind of soft revolution. Take your pick.

  136. Who is going to buy the products the robots are sorting if we're all out of a job?

  137. "If this happens 50 years from now, there is plenty of time for the educational system to catch up to the job market,” So how long until we start seeing car stickers saying, "My inventory robot is smarter than your honor roll student" ?

  138. The writing is on the wall. Warehouse workers. Cashiers. Truck drivers. Taxi drivers. Lots of entry-level jobs are repetitive. Processing various invoices for example, and guess what, people are working to automate that too: https://www.uipath.com/blog/ai-invoice-receipt-processing The workforce of the future will be very different 20 years from now. Hopefully, some of the benefits of this automation will accrue to people and not just to the owners of capital. Universal basic income might not be a bad idea.

  139. One thing that can be said about a $15 federal minimum wage is that it would accelerate job elimination like few other policies because even just pretty good robots would likely be a better value. The other policy implication mentioned is assessing the best way to use humans for this work given that these jobs seem like a recipe for repetitive stress injuries. If the future is that robots do most of this work and are supplemented by humans during times of peak demand and for error correction, the industry may be more sustainable in several senses.

  140. Meanwhile, the GOP and Trump wring their hands and point to China and Mexico for job loss and the coalmines for job gains. Likewise, what will happen to the distribution centers in China and Mexico when this technology replaces their workers and eliminate the "low cost" advantage they now enjoy?

  141. "Human workers will need to find other things to do." Why is Yang the only presidential candidate being realistic about the massive societal problems that are going to ensue when millions are displaced by automation? Even IF new jobs are created, most will be gig/temp jobs with no benefits. Plus, every industrial revolution in the past has been accompanied by significant social upheaval, so to expect that this won't pan out in a similar way is simply naive. I agree with Yang, we need an economic foundation (i.e. UBI) for every citizen to get through this decade that will likely see large scale turnover and transition.

  142. UBI is so demeaning. It is basically saying to those that would depend on it — you are now officially useless! What would that do to the youth that cannot find decent work? Especially young men. The result is Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, take your pick.

  143. If every adult over 18 receives UBI regardless of employment status, how is it demeaning? I assume it would somehow be clawed back on income taxes for anyone making some multiple more than the UBI, but still, we would all get it.

  144. Well the basic logic of UBI is that since the average person cannot survive on their own the government will give them a survival-level income. It’s demeaning because the economy has declared the average person useless.

  145. "“It doesn’t smoke, is always in good health, isn’t chatting with its neighbors, no toilet breaks,” Mr. Jandura said. “It’s more efficient.” "Mr. Puchwein said they would charge a fee that was always lower than what a company would pay a human. If a company paid $40,000 per year to a worker, Knapp would charge about $30,000, he said. That, my friends, is the writing on the wall. Anything repetitive and relatively uniform in nature will be replaced with the robot/AI solution. Blue collar or White collar. Get ready because it isn't going to be pretty when those jobs disappear. Maybe my imagination is too limited, but the world only has so many employment opportunities that fall into the "can't be replaced by a robot" category. And then what?

  146. @ridergk Well, I have about 12 years left until I pay off my house. Hopefully it takes longer than that. In the mean time, I will be sure to steer my kids towards something outside of logistics.

  147. As someone who has worked for KNAPP I can tell you that all these fancy systems would grind to a halt in 5 minutes without human supervision. They have people employed 24/7 to deblock the containers. They have to be real athletes to manage all the errors. I believe this is also the mistake that Elon Musk made.

  148. but matter of time before so, robotics and automation takes over, the thing with ai and robotics is that it's improvements is not linear but exponential so too fast for policy makers and educational systems to catch up and retrain the displaced so we ought to be worried

  149. Everything looks like a nail if the only tool you have is a hammer. Similarly, if the only measuring tool you have is a dollar, things go way out of balance in a hurry. What happened? There are other values than the dollar. Better recognize them before it's too late.

  150. We have forgotten one basic principle of humanity, the economy is for people not the other way around.

  151. Buggy Whips. Sailing ships. Steam train engines. Motorized vehicles....cars, farm harvesting equipment. Propeller airplanes. Radio... Portable anything..... The coal industry..... ALL the above were supplanted by new technology. These are a few I can think of off the top of my head. I'm sure people went nuts when they thought of being put out of jobs by these innovations....( think about the RR's when diesel engines came out...for a while, steam engines had all kinds of cowls and streamlining effects etc to try to hide that they were obsolete...) Which reminds me of one of my favorite Twilight Zone episode....where PEOPLE became "OB-SO-LETE!!!!" Can't stop progress. Maybe we should stop population growth if there aren't going to be as many "jobs" as what used to be. O wait. Can't do that. Evangelicals who complain the loudest about the loss of employment opportunities for thier newly sober youf in the meth states won't put up with that. Maybe vegetable farming can be replaced with growing drugs -opium, marijauna? Keep the population drugged and sluggish so they don't notice adn don't want to eat or work, and shorten their lives? O wait.....Never mind.

  152. @Ignatz Actually, it can be stopped. We have reached a stopping point. The Industrial Revolution is over. The Technological Revolution has to be confined to academia, to experimentation, not allowed into implementation. People need work, need jobs. Robots need nothing but oil and power.

  153. @Pank do that and the US will be left in China's dust.

  154. I guess none of the people that vote for Donald Trump will be employable anymore, so they won't have money to buy guns or bullets. The world will finally be a safer place.

  155. Until it can get confused, or forgetful, or have feelings, it will never be like a human. It also can't tell you about where it went drinking last night, or who it slept with, or send you a birthday present. Human is what is important.

  156. @Pank I think the point here is that it can take your job, period.

  157. By the year 2120 productivity will be 1,000 times greater than today. A small number of people will be able to provide all with the goods and services available to only today's top 1%; but will they? Yes, capitalism will survive and the brightest, most talented, most productive people will have much more than the rest of humanity, but will inequality leave the least productive desperately poor? Or, will taxes be steeply progressive enough to support debt free governments with well-financed programs to finally insure an ever improving world, where all have excellent nutrition, clothing, shelter, safety, and health care, even though unemployment may be the norm for much of each person's life? Will life-long public education and social services enable all to reach their full potential? Will research advance at an ever accelerating rate, all energy be renewable, the environment pristine, the ice caps return, sub-century lifespans be rare, and will democracy, honesty and transparency flourish? I think it all depends on how we vote: for the party of hate and greed, or the party of decency and honesty.

  158. @TheLeftIsRight-TheRightIsWrong If we don't solve our climate change problem soon, most of the questions you ask will be irrelevant. I agree with your conclusion: it does all depend on how we vote. Or if we vote at all.

  159. Interesting. You present the best of all possible humanist worlds. Human nature intervenes with short sightedness, distress, tribalism, demagoguery, all the world’s ills. What is the final outcome? The last industrial revolution gave us the catastrophe of 1914-1945. And after that the miracle years of 1945-1975. What will the outcome of this AI revolution be? Near term? Long term? Somehow it seems to me that Yang’s $1000 per month won’t cut it. It’s like taking a pill of Dramamine when the illness is real. And Bernie Sanders is like saying to the nations of 1914: create a United Nations and a European Union and establish Human Rights and Sustainable Development Goals! And Biden is like saying, let’s go back to 1975 and pretend nothing is wrong at all. Meanwhile Trump is reaping the demagoguery of distress.

  160. As wealth becomes more concentrated and competition is erased we will return to monopoly capitalism. We faced this once before with the robber barons of yore but not at the scale we are seeing today. Maybe the answer is to ensure that the price for everything comes down as people are displaced from the economy. I can see a world where all basic necessities are free (food, clothing, shelter, education, healthcare, police and fire protection, etc) Let the robots work for all of us. Let people live in a world where we can chase our dreams of personal fulfillment. Of course some jobs will never go away but those workers can be well compensated above the common city baseline. This seems like a nice world. I believe it's one of the major themes for the Star Trek Next Generation series. We can work to make the world a better and healthier place. Peace.

  161. I really like the pictures. I was having a hard time imagining the process in my head. It would have taken a long while to do so without the pictures.

  162. Fascinating stuff. If anyone wants to hear more about AI/neural networks, the book Army of None by Paul Scharre does a great job of explaining it to the layperson. The book talks mostly about the use of autonomous weapons, but it also goes into how computers are already replacing stock traders (machines replacing human workers) and other applications. It is a super interesting book that really examines the "what if?".

  163. I wish not to sound heartless or mean, but won’t there soon be a machine to sort which human is seen as acceptable, and also those that are quite simply reject-able. I believe humanity cannot deny that it’s future disposition rests with AI. The initial sort - pain filled of course. But, no doubt, for what it’s worth, subsequent decision will take place before birth.

  164. Excuse me, there’s a name for this: eugenics. Not acceptable.

  165. Revamp the education system? Hah! Not if you expect the people meddling in education now to do it, they can’t spell AI. All life is based on efficiency, get the max with the least amount of effort, like every flower, tree, or bumble bee. (If you’re a senior or nearly one, you may recall that there was a guy who filled your tank with gas, wiped the windshield and checked the oil.) The Nanny Corporation died with the advent of the 401K and The Rule of Lawyers. The good news is, our brain will find something to occupy us, it can’t help itself, we can’t help following along. The other good news is, without people, there’s nobody to buy the junk the robot is sorting. As unlikely as it seems now, there will be a tax on corporations to pay everyone a basic income, they have to, it’s that or riots in the streets. Alternatively, there’s always Hunger Games.

  166. What will happen when we can no longer blame "the other" for our problems? Will Trump supporters still be blaming "mexicans" when they have no work and even less education or skills themsleves? It's time for politicians to stop promising jobs jobs jobs and making people think they will be employable forever. Not gonna happen. Factories may "Come back" but the employees will be like this robot, with maybe ONE human to push the start button. A secure job would be electrician. ALL these gadgets still need power to work. Even batteries and fuel cells need maintenance, and that will be very specialized work. I think!

  167. The argument against requiring decent wages for warehouse workers that companies would just replace them with robots isn't true because if robots could at present match the accuracy of people, they would already be replaced. Wages do not effect when and if this change will come. Indeed, the vast amounts of profit generated by allowing superstar companies to low wages, creates a situation where they can not only replace workers with robots, but also buy and own the technology that makes them.

  168. Humans can teach machines and machines can teach humans. Robots are 3000 years old and the technology advances exponentially. For a number of years I developed biomedical systems that implemented a Psychological model called “instrumental conditioning”. This could manage such deficits as scoliosis and help rehabilitate individuals who had lost use of upper (and lower) limbs as a consequence of stroke. While it will help people it will surely reduce the services and need for Physical Therapists. Such systems function much like an animal trainer at an amusement venue. Robots can manage anesthesia delivery as well or better than an anesthesiologist. Columbia announced a system that purports to read one’s mind. Such intelligent technologies are going to have a significant impact on our lives in time to come. Such disruptions are second only to climate trauma. Perhaps a “benevolent” super intelligence will appear and save us from our own ignorance and denial.

  169. We can't predict what the job market will be like 5 years from now let alone 50 years from now and retraining for good paying jobs takes months and can even extend to several years. What are all these people going to retrain for? Retraining is only going to work if it takes on something along the lines of an apprenticeship. Telling people "go get an education to retrain and good luck" is a tried and failed strategy, as Andrew Yang is fond of pointing out.

  170. @Louis: I like Andrew Yang but if I had lost my job I wouldn't give up so easily (indeed, I didn't when it happened to me). At https://www.bls.gov/ooh/fastest-growing.htm you can see a list of the twenty jobs with the largest projected growth rate from 2018-2028. These include - Solar photovoltaic installers - Wind turbine service technicians - Home health aides - Personal care aides - Occupational therapy assistants - Information security analysts - Physician assistants - Statisticians - Nurse practitioners - Speech-language pathologists - Physical therapist assistants - Genetic counselors - Mathematicians - Operations research analysts - Software developers, applications - Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists - Health specialties teachers, postsecondary - Phlebotomists - Physical therapist aides - Medical assistants Projected growth rates range from 23% to 63%. Median 2018 pay ranges from $24K per year to over $100K per year.

  171. @Stan Sutton Andrew Yang never said to give up. Rather his universal basic income allows one to go on to other things as they become more relevant.

  172. @Stan Sutton, Andrew Yang never said retraining is bad idea but is realistic--the success rate is not very high. It's one thing to go back for school for a few months or even a couple years but expecting someone displaced by automation to go back to school for 10 years is not realistic. So the question isn't what jobs are available, which is what your post saying. The questions is how many jobs are there, or will there be, that someone displaced by automation can realistically train for?

  173. Even if a human is able to do the job better, they will be forced to work faster. That is why working conditions in an Amazon warehouse is so oppressive. They are competing against robots even if they are not visible. The future for manual labor is grim. No so good for mental labor too.

  174. It's visceral, and I know it's wrong, but I can't help hating the smug faces of these engineers who will replace the factory workers. So he will just keep reducing the price of robots until it's lower than the cost of a worker? Such entitled arrogance! The generation wars are starting. First it's "OK, Boomer!", then in ten years the next gen will refuse to fund the Social Security deficit, and the few remaining Boomers will suffer silently. At least we can see the the next gen will have some civil wars amongst themselves -- arrogant rich engineer versus unemployed grunt job worker. Yang, we need you!

  175. We are quickly heading towards a world that is highly automated and mechanized. Traditional labor and skilled work will inevitably be replaced by emerging tech in any free market economy as a matter of course. Governments and societies will need to be reformed. The template for the old world model applied to this tech is going to result in a two class society. One ultra rich class that owns and operates everything, and another which will own nothing. Individuality and property will be thing of the past. Zeitgeist comes to mind, if we overcome the greed and corrupt leaders of the existing economies we could actually form a much better world using the net tech to eliminate the most unpleasant work. In fact working at all can be a thing of the past for most. We can learn, put our energy into healing our biology and environment. It's going to take a monumental shift, or things are going to wind up very bleak for most of humanity but a select few oligarchs.

  176. There is a flawed conclusion here that once robotics takes over manual labor, all of the eliminated manual labor jobs will turn into robot builder/robot fixer jobs. It is further implied that future generations will simply be schooled in fulfilling these new robotics positions and our human successors will live happily ever after because low-skill, factory jobs won't be needed or exist. This conclusion does not take into consideration that not every present-day human, and future human will have the aptitude to learn how to build/fix robots.

  177. Am I excited by this technology advancement? NO!! The point is always to sell more stuff. Technology, no matter how brilliant, is a slave to capitalism. We don't need robots. We need people who treasure the riches of life, of the planet, of their children's future.

  178. @Kenneth Brady In reality, manufacturing jobs have already shifted overseas where wages are cheaper and coal is king. In carbon calculus, the carbon produced in manufacture of imported goods is not even counted as belonging to the US - a huge accounting fudge. Therefore automation offers not only a chance to bring manufacturing and related jobs back to the US, but also a chance to manufacture according to environmental rules that we make.

  179. The pattern of extreme wealth disparity predecited my many here has been the norm rather than the exception throughout history. Technological advances always happened and have cut both ways. Cottage industry spinners and weavers were economically destroyed by automation, yet the industrial revolution eventually led to a huge middle class, widespread literacy and education, and enormously improved standards of living - arguably even leading to improved voting and civil rights. The tools are here. It is up to us how to use them wisely.

  180. So often the most exciting problems for technologists to work on are the ones that hurt the most people, because that's where the money is. The question of what happens to all the warehouse workers is "uninteresting"... apparently best left to equally "uninteresting" government officials, citizens, and taxpayers. One imagines the AI scientists will be surprised when their societies collapse because they've automated away productive work without bothering to provide either a financial or social replacement. That'll remain someone else's problem... until it isn't.

  181. I read this and other similar stories and laugh. Most say something like, robots/AI/ML will cut x number of jobs but create Y number of new jobs, where Y is always a larger number. Or they say “humans will have to find other things to do” and we need to change our educational system to turn out the workers of the future. The joke is there will be no jobs of the future. Human workers will be needed in fewer and fewer numbers and eventually none will be needed. And if you’ve been watching the exponential curve on which these advancements are occurring, you know this will happen sooner rather than later. What’s needed is a new way of looking at the economy. The wealth created by these machines will have to be distributed to all people in some equitable way. Otherwise there will be no one to buy the products created by these robot factories. And restless masses will be ripe for revolution. Finally, Human beings must find new ways to bring meaning to their existence.

  182. we want these robots to do these mundane, mindless tasks, so humans can focus on creative tasks that require imagination.

  183. Pick n Place robot is the term. Has anyone noticed the robot randomly throwing the packages into a second box??? You dont require any orientation to chuck something in a box. So much more impressive if they placed as well as picked... picking random oriented items has been in place for a decade or more. I am an engineer who will dig deeper because I am so confused to what the news is....?

  184. I'm reminded of a scify movie where two human survivors of some disaster are traveling and come across a complex where an automated factory is still producing goods which are sent to a warehouse that fills standing orders by drone.... all still producing and sending off goods to places where nobody exists to receive them... piling up box after box At what point does someone ask what is the point of all this? If you are to automate EVERYTHING simply to increase the profits fed to the very few that control capital, what do you do with the rest of humanity? Because clearly the rich don't have ANY intention of sharing, What do you do with all the former workers when there aren't any jobs? What do the wealthy do once they control all the wealth in the world?

  185. If you eliminate all the "monotonous" or "menial" jobs, you'd better be prepared to send welfare checks to all those displaced workers without whining about it. No change comes without costs.

  186. "It's the resources, stupid." Can anyone explain why, given the obvious trend being discussed here, China, Russia, and various other countries are encouraging higher rather than lower birthrates? Yes, formerly-one-child-China! What manufacturing robots can't manufacture are resources. The "future economy" will be about controlling and extracting resources. Even with all the high-tech stuff like drones, warfare is never going to be automated... the old infantry saying is still true; you don't control anything without boots on the ground. And paying people 12K a year to hang around is really a cheap way to provide a pool of potential recruits. Replacing a human soldier is a lot cheaper than replacing a robot, even if you *could* build one of those sci-fi terminator types. So, you're looking at what is essentially a return to a feudal structure, where energy, raw materials and land, define wealth. It doesn't matter that manufacturing robots don't buy the products they create. Those who control the resources can get whatever human services they might need in exchange for bare essentials and perhaps a few trinkets.

  187. "In the summer, temperatures in the warehouse reach more than 100 degrees." Why? Why? Cool it down!

  188. In the mid 1940s our family moved to the Sacramento Valley where hundreds of canneries provided piece work for thousands of housewives to sort and stuff all kinds of vegetables and fruit into glass jars. When the Teamsters unionized the workers, a quota was set and workers sent home when the quota was not met. My mother used to have nightmares about the rush of peaches, apricots, tomatoes and asparagus coming down the "assembly line" and the forelady sending her home. The cannaries are now gone. Even Campbell Soup closed. Robots can easily fill cans or jars or package frozen food. At the time, there was still a need for female telephone operators, retail clerks, bank tellers, secretaries. Now, no longer because of automation, robots, AI. How does China and India handle it, each with a population pf over 1 billion people?

  189. Fifty years from now? It’s happening right now. AI will replace human workers by the millions. I can’t wait for AI to replace truck drivers, many many of you are dangerous and rude. And I don’t care if y’all end up unemployed, move to Texas.