Robots running a grocery store

Comixbooks

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You're going to have to up your stocking game if you expect Walmart to keep your organic meatbag employed, Comixbooks!

I'm on floor cleanup recently started pressure washing and vac the frozen and fresh areas. 80 percent of our stocking crew is new hires on nights. I used to unload trucks I even was a people greeter for a few days.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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To me, automation like this is only a negative if society manages it poorly.

I see it as less of a "OMG the robots are taking our jobs" and more of a case where automation allows one or a group of employees to accomplish more with their time.

The humans have not been eliminated from the process, they are just used for what humans do best, deal with the unexpected, trouble shoot, maintain, design, leaving the repetitive mindless drudgery that humans quite frankly suck at for what machines do best.

Humans will still be needed, but each advance like this is kind of a "force multiplier" allowing a human operator to accomplish more and more. This may reduce the immediate need for a workforce, but that is transitory. In the greater perspective it frees up more people to have their force multiplied elsewhere, and allows the entire economy to accomplish more overall.

It will - however - require human workers to be more skilled. I picture much less of the "unskilled worker walking in off the street and getting a job" type of scenarios of the past. At the very least people need to be educated in the trades in order to better maintain these things. Just think of how many more skilled electricians, IT personnel, maintenance tech's, etc. we will need.

I don't think massive amounts of people will be sitting idle from this. If anything, one of the big driving forces of this is the difficulty of finding enough of a workforce to do many of the things companies need to do. The workforce will be redistributed throughout the economy, as long as we take education and qualification seriously.

The only ones who will wind up idle, are those who do so out of choice. Those who refuse to pick up skills, or learn new things to adapt to the changing, more productive economy.

There needs to be an expectation in society that no one can get away with only completing high school. Going on to either trade school or college (hopefully for a productive degree) should be considered mandatory in an economy where more and more skills are needed, and we need to restructure society to make that a reality for most students without putting them in a position of permanent debt.
 

sharknice

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To me, automation like this is only a negative if society manages it poorly.

I see it as less of a "OMG the robots are taking our jobs" and more of a case where automation allows one or a group of employees to accomplish more with their time.

The humans have not been eliminated from the process, they are just used for what humans do best, deal with the unexpected, trouble shoot, maintain, design, leaving the repetitive mindless drudgery that humans quite frankly suck at for what machines do best.

Humans will still be needed, but each advance like this is kind of a "force multiplier" allowing a human operator to accomplish more and more. This may reduce the immediate need for a workforce, but that is transitory. In the greater perspective it frees up more people to have their force multiplied elsewhere, and allows the entire economy to accomplish more overall.

It will - however - require human workers to be more skilled. I picture much less of the "unskilled worker walking in off the street and getting a job" type of scenarios of the past. At the very least people need to be educated in the trades in order to better maintain these things. Just think of how many more skilled electricians, IT personnel, maintenance tech's, etc. we will need.

I don't think massive amounts of people will be sitting idle from this. If anything, one of the big driving forces of this is the difficulty of finding enough of a workforce to do many of the things companies need to do. The workforce will be redistributed throughout the economy, as long as we take education and qualification seriously.

The only ones who will wind up idle, are those who do so out of choice. Those who refuse to pick up skills, or learn new things to adapt to the changing, more productive economy.

There needs to be an expectation in society that no one can get away with only completing high school. Going on to either trade school or college (hopefully for a productive degree) should be considered mandatory in an economy where more and more skills are needed, and we need to restructure society to make that a reality for most students without putting them in a position of permanent debt.

Well just think about this. 200 years ago over 90% of people lived on farms and had to grow their own food just to survive. Now less than 1% of the population are farmers because of farming technology, food processing technology, shipping tech, communication tech, etc. etc.

90% of the population hasn't become useless, they've moved on to other things and their standard of living is much, much higher than it was before.

Until we get to fully sentient super intelligent AI (which will likely be very far in the future) the same trend will continue where people simply find new ways to be productive and the standard of living improves for everyone. And even if we do get super AI it still may continue.
 

mouacyk

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And if I still want to manually inspect an item before a robot puts it in my cart?
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I won't even do the self checkout. XD

I usually do. My time is valuable. I'm faster than most cashiers.

It's not that they are bad people, but they are often tired, have been on their feet all day (maybe even at multiple jobs), aren't paid enough to really care, etc. etc.

And it's my time, so I am always going to have more of an incentive to try to be fast than anyone else does. They ahve to stand behind the register whether I am done quickly or not.

With the exception of the young college students who are usually faster than your average cashier, I highly prefer the self checkout.
 
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Well just think about this. 200 years ago over 90% of people lived on farms and had to grow their own food just to survive. Now less than 1% of the population are farmers because of farming technology, food processing technology, shipping tech, communication tech, etc. etc.

90% of the population hasn't become useless, they've moved on to other things and their standard of living is much, much higher than it was before.

Until we get to fully sentient super intelligent AI (which will likely be very far in the future) the same trend will continue where people simply find new ways to be productive and the standard of living improves for everyone. And even if we do get super AI it still may continue.
200 years ago, there were still a lot of jobs requiring manual labour that you could move laterally into which made for a softer landing. As it stands now, we're automating away the unskilled labour pool as the new mandatory minimum wage makes the ROI on the effort worth it. Most of those people are not going to be easily retrained into skilled labour; even if they were we're also automating that away. For example, there's a big line being transferred from China back to NA but the headcount (around a dozen) is being eliminated as part of that effort. Our own government has told us if we're not running 50% dark by the mid-2030s, we won't be competitive.
 

1_rick

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I usually do. My time is valuable. I'm faster than most cashiers.

It's not that they are bad people, but they are often tired, have been on their feet all day (maybe even at multiple jobs), aren't paid enough to really care, etc. etc.

And it's my time, so I am always going to have more of an incentive to try to be fast than anyone else does. They ahve to stand behind the register whether I am done quickly or not.

With the exception of the young college students who are usually faster than your average cashier, I highly prefer the self checkout.
Yeah. I know a lot of people who are like "I'll use the self checkout when Walmart pays me!" but...I can check myself out faster than most cashiers.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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200 years ago, there were still a lot of jobs requiring manual labour that you could move laterally into which made for a softer landing. As it stands now, we're automating away the unskilled labour pool as the new mandatory minimum wage makes the ROI on the effort worth it. Most of those people are not going to be easily retrained into skilled labour; even if they were we're also automating that away. For example, there's a big line being transferred from China back to NA but the headcount (around a dozen) is being eliminated as part of that effort. Our own government has told us if we're not running 50% dark by the mid-2030s, we won't be competitive.

I don't think you give workers enough credit. They aren't dumb. (at least not most of them) They can learn new things.

You just have to overcome the attitude barriers and unwillingness to do so, and in order to accomplish this we need a societal change to where everyone expects to have to change not just jobs, but occupations several times over their lives. The era of doing the same thing every day until you retire or die is over. Once we get societal acceptance of that, people will be more open to change, because that's just what you have to do in order to survive, and retraining programs will be more effective.

Throughout history we have been slowly moving towards more and more skills being required in order to work and function in society. In the beginning schooling didn't exist at all, then only a few years were the norm, over time we 9 years became a standard, then that wasn't enough and we got to the point where K-12 was the minimum. This is going to continue growing.

There is only so much you can do for those at the 10th percentile intellect level (~IQ of 80) but most of us are capable of pursuing higher skills and qualifications. We just need some motivation. (that and IQ levels tend to trend upwards over time, be it evolution, or better nutrition, or elimination of toxins in the environment, who knows. The romans used to cook with lead pans, we no longer do.)
 

sharknice

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200 years ago, there were still a lot of jobs requiring manual labour that you could move laterally into which made for a softer landing. As it stands now, we're automating away the unskilled labour pool as the new mandatory minimum wage makes the ROI on the effort worth it. Most of those people are not going to be easily retrained into skilled labour; even if they were we're also automating that away. For example, there's a big line being transferred from China back to NA but the headcount (around a dozen) is being eliminated as part of that effort. Our own government has told us if we're not running 50% dark by the mid-2030s, we won't be competitive.

People say this every time there's a disruptive new technology or labor shift, and every time they're wrong.

History disagrees with you.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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People say this every time there's a disruptive new technology or labor shift, and every time they're wrong.

History disagrees with you.

Yep. Disruption is usually temporary (or "transitory" as Economists like to put it) followed by change in the economy, economic growth and higher standards of living.

People need to eat short term though, so the "transitory" aspect of it is of little comfort to a worker who just got laid off. This is why we need to do a better job of easing the transition for people.
 

Gavv

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Agreed, time is the most valuable resource. But you're not getting paid to check out your own groceries either.

In either event you have to go through a line or station and check out your items. So either your wasting time standing around or you’re saving a bit by doing it yourself.

Most people can check faster than cashiers. But usually their prepared. Meaning they have items grouped. And they have the ability to not look or care who is behind them. If they get a break etc.

My biggest issue with self checkout is produce. Once that is golden I’ll never use a cashier again. But having to search a screen for something is a huge time waster for me. If I’m going to have to do that. I’ll gladly sit in line.

Whats also been nice is having someone else shop for me and just go pick it up. Mind you I don’t do produce this way. But I can order online 3/4 of the time and it’s a lot faster and easier. I still like to traditional shop and see things and know what’s there that I may not see or think about online.

This has been the biggest time (money) saver for me.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Hey, still beats having to slaughter your own animals & pull your own carrots.

Yep. Those aren't things I think I'd be better at doing though.

That, and I'm usually not forced to just wait around for a harvest or a slaughter in order to get my products.

If I were, I may give it try myself :p
 
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I need to go to the grocery store as an excuse for a temporary break from my crazy family. This is sanity theft!
 

Westwood

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I usually do. My time is valuable. I'm faster than most cashiers.

It's not that they are bad people, but they are often tired, have been on their feet all day (maybe even at multiple jobs), aren't paid enough to really care, etc. etc.

And it's my time, so I am always going to have more of an incentive to try to be fast than anyone else does. They ahve to stand behind the register whether I am done quickly or not.

With the exception of the young college students who are usually faster than your average cashier, I highly prefer the self checkout.
I see where you're coming from, but the price of the groceries I'm paying for also pays for the person in the checkout line. If there was a discount for using the self-checkout, I'd be sold.
 

Westwood

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Hey, still beats having to slaughter your own animals & pull your own carrots.

Yep. Those aren't things I think I'd be better at doing though.

That, and I'm usually not forced to just wait around for a harvest or a slaughter in order to get my products.

If I were, I may give it try myself :p
Highly recommend it. Everyone should raise, dispatch, prep, and cook their own meal at least once. Just so the can gather appreciation for the food their eating. Any time I make a kill, my kiddo helps in the process. I'll breast out the wild turkey and he'll toss them in the baggies.

edit: I also built the deer/bear hang off the side of the swingset I built him. XD
 

Jonnycat99

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You're going to have to up your stocking game if you expect Walmart to keep your organic meatbag employed, Comixbooks!
In the future, jobs like this will indeed be done by robots, and the people who formerly did the work will receive the UBI checks which will allow them to consume the products that the robots help to manage and produce.
 

HeadRusch

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This thing can pack a bajillion grocery orders......meanwhile, your luggage on a fucking 30 minute flight may wind up on the other side of the planet. Why? People.
 

DukenukemX

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Until we get to fully sentient super intelligent AI (which will likely be very far in the future) the same trend will continue where people simply find new ways to be productive and the standard of living improves for everyone. And even if we do get super AI it still may continue.
Why do we need sentient AI? What exactly is sentient? The technology to do most of everything humans do will be done within the decade, and probably 20%-30% of jobs will be lost by the year 2030. Take a look around and you'll see a lot of stores have closed down after the pandemic. The pandemic pushed people out of stores and onto Amazon. I sold my AMC stock when it hit its peak because I know people stay home and watch Disney+ and Netflix. The jobs are already gone and technology like this will just emphasize this. The only hope that would give people employment if everyone becomes an influencer and posts videos everyday talking about bullshit they saw while walking down the street.
 

nthexwn

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Here's the real technology behind this: https://www.ocadogroup.com/technology/tech-stack

Learn any skill on that page and you won't have to worry about your job being taken.

The robots in this video are just mechanical I/O for a very very impressive piece of software. Huge props to the engineers who designed this thing. I want to see a video from them!

From the brief glimpses of the terminals that we saw it looks like they made this thing as transparent and debuggable as possible. That's no small feat for machine-learning systems. The intended behavior/strategy for this sort of system is generally quite opaque (which is scary in a certain light).
 

Gavv

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Why do we need sentient AI? What exactly is sentient? The technology to do most of everything humans do will be done within the decade, and probably 20%-30% of jobs will be lost by the year 2030. Take a look around and you'll see a lot of stores have closed down after the pandemic. The pandemic pushed people out of stores and onto Amazon. I sold my AMC stock when it hit its peak because I know people stay home and watch Disney+ and Netflix. The jobs are already gone and technology like this will just emphasize this. The only hope that would give people employment if everyone becomes an influencer and posts videos everyday talking about bullshit they saw while walking down the street.

Whats funny is a lot business can’t get people to work.

AI or not that’s the current problem.
 

DukenukemX

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Whats funny is a lot business can’t get people to work.

AI or not that’s the current problem.
There's a lot of reasons for this. Main reason is that working for these companies wouldn't be affordable. It wasn't affordable before, it's just less affordable now. The rent is too damn high in the areas where people are looking for employment and the pay from those jobs wouldn't be enough to survive in those areas. $15 an hour right now would be a joke as inflation has made prices go up. Most of the employment is in food and not everyone who is unemployed wants to get a minimum wage job in the food industry. Imagine working in an office getting paid a decent wage and now you work for McDonalds. Also, those places aren't safe to work in. I ate at AppleBee's for my cousins birthday and shit myself for 2 weeks because of food poisoning. They have product laying around for a long time and due to the pandemic they haven't replaced their entire stock. These places are a great vector for transmitting diseases. Once September comes around and they stop the $300 thing for unemployment then the demand for these jobs will subside as less people will have money to spend.

 

drescherjm

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I usually do. My time is valuable. I'm faster than most cashiers.

I always do the self-checkout because I am significantly faster than most checkers. However with that said I understand. I couldn't maintain my speed for 8 hours in a day or want to do it for that long at least not any more. Reminds me a little of my first official paying job where I tagged clothing at a warehouse. I was their fastest tagger by a large margin but I was in my early 20s and it was a good diversion for me (job where I did not have to think) going through engineering school and computer science at the same time.
 
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LOCO LAPTOP

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Agreed, time is the most valuable resource. But you're not getting paid to check out your own groceries either.
I'm not getting paid to wait in line either. Wait 10 minutes because they only have 1 cash register open and everyone got 30+ items in their cart and I have 5.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I always do the self-checkout because I am significantly faster than most checkers. However with that said I understand. I couldn't maintain my speed for 8 hours in a day or want to do it for that long at least not any more. Reminds me a little of my first official paying job where I tagged clothing at a warehouse. I was by their fastest tagger by a large margin but I was in my early 20s and it was a good diversion for me (job where I did not have to think) going through engineering school and computer science at the same time.

Agreed. I'm not criticizing the workers. At least not most of them.

It's just a fact of life that I'm usually fairly fresh coming into the store, can do it more quickly and am more motivated to do so.
 
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I don't think you give workers enough credit. They aren't dumb. (at least not most of them) They can learn new things.

You just have to overcome the attitude barriers and unwillingness to do so, and in order to accomplish this we need a societal change to where everyone expects to have to change not just jobs, but occupations several times over their lives. The era of doing the same thing every day until you retire or die is over. Once we get societal acceptance of that, people will be more open to change, because that's just what you have to do in order to survive, and retraining programs will be more effective.

Throughout history we have been slowly moving towards more and more skills being required in order to work and function in society. In the beginning schooling didn't exist at all, then only a few years were the norm, over time we 9 years became a standard, then that wasn't enough and we got to the point where K-12 was the minimum. This is going to continue growing.

There is only so much you can do for those at the 10th percentile intellect level (~IQ of 80) but most of us are capable of pursuing higher skills and qualifications. We just need some motivation. (that and IQ levels tend to trend upwards over time, be it evolution, or better nutrition, or elimination of toxins in the environment, who knows. The romans used to cook with lead pans, we no longer do.)
Perhaps I'm a bit pessimistic. I don't think many are going to move laterally from button pusher in sector 7-G to engineer. Even if they could, the position will already have been filled as the overall need for labour will have been reduced.

edit: a word
 
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People say this every time there's a disruptive new technology or labor shift, and every time they're wrong.

History disagrees with you.
That history you refer to includes some large scale wars that reduced the potential number of employees at the same time it scaled up the need for them so training was provided. The work then was, and mostly still is, semi-automated. We're talking about full automation now. No people required. It's why the big three are interested in electric cars now as those can be assembled like lego by machinery.
 

sharknice

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That history you refer to includes some large scale wars that reduced the potential number of employees at the same time it scaled up the need for them so training was provided. The work then was, and mostly still is, semi-automated. We're talking about full automation now. No people required. It's why the big three are interested in electric cars now as those can be assembled like lego by machinery.

Except for nothing is "fully automated", people still need to do things. You keep bringing up the exact same points people have used in the past and pretend like they're radically different. They aren't.
 
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Fully automated means people do not need to do things. You keep ignoring the salient point because you believe people need to be involved despite being told they are specifically being engineered out of the solution.
 

Gavv

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Fully automated means people do not need to do things. You keep ignoring the salient point because you believe people need to be involved despite being told they are specifically being engineered out of the solution.

Never seen fully automated places where people aren’t required…. Ever.
 
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Never seen fully automated places where people aren’t required…. Ever.
Brave new world, eh? It's what customers are pushing for, though. The government is going to have to figure out how to charge a robot income tax.
 
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