Blog 3

John Smith

01 / 01 / 1970



Amazon is not planning to cage its workers and admits that a patent appearing to suggest otherwise was a “bad idea”.

The US patent, “System and Method for transporting Personnel within an active Workspace”, was granted in 2016 but only highlighted in a recent paper by AI ethics researchers Professor Kate Crawford, of NYU, and Professor Vladan Joler, of the University of Novi Sad in Serbia.

The patent describes a wheeled cage that would be used to move staff across its warehouses to avoid injury by Amazon’s 100,000 robot workers and other machines. Amazon increasingly uses robots to move stock around the enormous “fulfilment centres”.

Critics said that the idea of caged humans being moved around among an army of robots appeared dystopian. Amazon was recently criticised over a patent for wristbands that would track workers’ movements and vibrate to tell them what to do.

Dave Clark, the senior VP of operations, tweeted: “Sometimes even bad ideas get submitted for patents. We have no plans for usage.”

Curiously though, one of Amazon’s “ambassadors” - warehouse workers who are compensated for representing its interests on Twitter - tweeted: “This cage thing is just one of those patents that many companies have. They may use it though.”

When I called Nicolas Cage for a comment, I was told by the operator that the number was privately listed. 

 

Click here to read the article.

Amazon is not planning to cage its workers and admits that a patent appearing to suggest otherwise was a “bad idea”.

The US patent, “System and Method for transporting Personnel within an active Workspace”, was granted in 2016 but only highlighted in a recent paper by AI ethics researchers Professor Kate Crawford, of NYU, and Professor Vladan Joler, of the University of Novi Sad in Serbia.

The patent describes a wheeled cage that would be used to move staff across its warehouses to avoid injury by Amazon’s 100,000 robot workers and other machines. Amazon increasingly uses robots to move stock around the enormous “fulfilment centres”.

Critics said that the idea of caged humans being moved around among an army of robots appeared dystopian. Amazon was recently criticised over a patent for wristbands that would track workers’ movements and vibrate to tell them what to do.

Dave Clark, the senior VP of operations, tweeted: “Sometimes even bad ideas get submitted for patents. We have no plans for usage.”

Curiously though, one of Amazon’s “ambassadors” - warehouse workers who are compensated for representing its interests on Twitter - tweeted: “This cage thing is just one of those patents that many companies have. They may use it though.”

When I called Nicolas Cage for a comment, I was told by the operator that the number was privately listed. 

 

Click here to read the article.

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