From Recode, a story about how, "in 2019, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos predicted that within a decade, robotic systems will be advanced enough to grasp items with the dexterity of a human hand. Three years later, Amazon looks to be making progress toward that goal.
"A recent video published on the company’s science blog features a new 'pinch-grasping' robot system that could one day do a lot of the work that humans in Amazon warehouses do today. Or, potentially, help workers do their jobs more easily."
Here's the video:
- KC's View:
Impressive … especially because Amazon is dealing with dual issues in its warehouses - the probability that it will run out of available workers at some point (by 2024, according to one internal study), and the certainty that it will continue to face calls for unionization in its facilities.
Recode poses the question this way:
How long it will take for Amazon to create a single robot that can handle the vast majority of products is up for debate, but it’s a question of “when,” not “if.” And when the “when” becomes “now,” we’ll have an answer to one of the great unknowns of this era of automation: Will a new generation of warehouse robots that can grasp goods almost as well as human hands make work better or easier for the people doing these jobs? Or will the technological evolution eliminate the need for these workers and their jobs?
Until the robots decide that they need to organize - probably led by either R2-D2 or a Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 - these new robotic systems probably are Amazon's best bet.