The Robots are Taking Over

Probably not news to most of you, but the local company that sells everything under the sun just bought a robotics company (Amazon Acquires Kiva Systems).

Normally, I don’t blog about news stories, but on the way to work this morning I heard an interesting discussion on a local talk radio station. It turns out that there are people up in arms over the purchase because using robots in the warehouse puts people out of jobs. To be clear, I don’t like people losing their jobs either – but bear with me for another paragraph.

The arguments continued with comments like, “The robots can’t do all of the warehouse work – sometimes you need to use your brain to find a misplaced item”, or, “You will still need people to verify with their eyes that the right items were selected”. Others countered with comments like, “The robots can work 24 hours a day”, and, “You’ll still need people to program the robots and give them directions”.

I laughed out loud in my car as I realized that these people calling into the radio station were having the same discussion many people have about test automation.I won’t rehash or expand, but I will summarize with two blurbs of less than 140 characters each:

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Since I didn’t use the word test in those tweets, I think my comments apply to Amazon’s (probable) warehouse changes as well.

I was happy to hear that a few callers recognized that robots (and automation) can be used to solve left-brained monotonous work – and do it pretty well. The future of work is (IMO) creative work**, and (again, IMO), automation (and robots) are what we need in order to enable us to find the time and insights to develop our creative thoughts into game-changing innovation.

And that sure beats doing the boring shit.

 

**Daniel Pink wrote a whole book on this concept:  A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future

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