Amazon confesses it loves humans as much as robots

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In a new blog post from Amazon EU, the ecommerce giant says that its massive investments in robotics aren’t predominately focussed on removing humans from its operation. They argue that the mix of flesh and metal is actually a unique and successful partnership that they expect to continue. You can read the full recent news from Amazon Robotics here. Should we now readily welcome our new Amazonian robotic overlords?

And they say in their five facts post:

Robots do not replace employees. Since the launch of Amazon Robotics at our fulfillment centers in 2012, we’ve created around 300,000 jobs worldwide at Amazon. The smart systems support our employees in their tasks. We continue to invest in new logistics centers and jobs.
– Amazon

They also point out that Amazon robots can move up to 350 KGs and are manufactured in Boston Massachusetts in the United States. Have a read. It’s really a slightly odd statement from Amazon, if we’re honest, that does have more of a hint of “methinks the lady doth protest too much.”

But equally they do have a point. Even as robots become ever more vital in ecommerce fulfilment, and that’s pretty much inevitable, humans will still be useful and part of the mix. Not least because robots will need to be maintained and manufactured and, generally, loved. In different parts of the world human labour can be very cost effective, for instance.

Amazon Robotics leads the way as a true market leader and trailblazes creating new technology. They are breaking new ground when it comes to picking, packing. fulfilling and despatching goods from their warehouses. But, perhaps worryingly, that does give them a critical advantage against smaller ecommerce retailers who manage their own logistics.

Even if you are fantastically efficient and effective, you will never have pockets as deep as Mr Bezos does and you may well struggle to keep up. But are robots really vital when it comes to making ecommerce work? Probably.

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