October 23, 2015
Robots Expanding Into More Warehouse Work

When Amazon bought warehouse robot maker Kiva Systems they pulled Kiva's robots off the market to give Amazon a competitive advantage. Kiva's robots are integrated with Amazon's IT systems. Now VC-funded start-ups are pursuing the gap left by Kiva's departure. These new robot designs work for a fraction of the human minimum wage in the United States.

While growth in online ordering has caused an almost quarter growth in human employment in warehouses in the last 5 years Amazon has doubled its use of factory robots in less than a year. Robot labor is growing faster than human labor.

Robots will eventually gain the ability to put goods in boxes for shipment. When they can do boxing human employment in warehouses will peak and then sharply decline. I am guessing human employment in warehouses will peak before human employment as taxi/Uber/Lyft drivers. I will be surprised if human employment in warehouses is still rising 10 years from now.

Fetch Robotics is one of the companies moving into the gap created by Kiva's withdrawal from the market.

This Hitachi robot under development could eliminate more human labor in warehouses than Amazon's current robots.

For each occupation ask yourself when will human employment peak. Do you have a job whose peak in human employment will happen in the next 10 years or the next 20 years due to robotic automation or another form of automation?

Share |      Randall Parker, 2015 October 23 07:05 PM 

bob sykes said at October 24, 2015 4:10 AM:

Don't forget the so-called intellectual jobs, the ones colleges are supposed to prepare students for. A lot of entry level positions in law, accounting and engineering are already gone. And much of what physicians do, especially diagnosis, are ready for automation. A lot of manual jobs will continue to be occupied by humans because of the need for dexterity, mobility and adaptablity to unusual or unexpected (and unprogramable) situations. There are still guys (no gals) with shovels digging holes despite over 100 years of hole-digging machinery.

Tom Billings said at October 26, 2015 2:40 PM:

For a while I expect the major increases in human jobs will be coming from technology startups themselves. They will hire people to do things that have not been programmed into robots, in an effort to define those things well enough that they *can* be programmed into robots. Then, they will have to find a new startup.

This could do much for technology advancement, by making creative humans focus on creative things. Not artsy fartsy things, but real creation, like how do we get a truly deep tunnel drilled, or a thoroughly new demand, like settling the moons of the outer planets, served. As humans become more augmented by technology and genetic engineering the speed at which they can do these jobs will increase.

Eventually, parents will be able to gift their children with the tech needed to support them, just as rich people give their graduating children stocks and bonds enough to make them coupon clippers for life. Then, their kids can go that one better with their kids, having got interested in some task creating new tech themselves.

Dan Jelski said at October 26, 2015 6:50 PM:

For career advice, check out the book 'Your Future Job: Building a Career in the New Normal,' available at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Your-Future-Job-Building-Career-ebook/dp/B00ZMCCMPC

Randall Parker said at October 31, 2015 7:54 PM:

bob sykes,

Management layers have already gotten much thinner as computer information systems make it easier for a smaller number of managers to run an organization. It is so much easier to collect and share information and to do collaborations.


You need a much better blurb that describes what your book is about. Is it just for kids in high school and college? Does it tell which careers to avoid? Which college majors to avoid? Which to go for? How to switch between careers? The kinds of jobs that will get automated in the next 5-10 years?

gejala stroke said at August 29, 2016 8:53 PM:

gejala stroke ringan dan cara menanganinya secara alami harus diperhatikan selalu secara serius , karena saat ini kasus penyakit stroke banyak terjadi dikalangan masyarakat dari mulai stroke ringan hingga stroke berat.
Meski yang dialami masih gejala stroke ringan tapi penanganannya harus secara tepat karena bisa berakibat fatal jika tidak diatasi dengan obat stroke yang ampuh. Sebelum kita membahas lebih lanjut mengenai pengobatan stroke, maka kita harus mempelajari dulu tentang apa itu penyakit stroke, penyebab penyakit stroke, gejala stroke,
serta bahaya apa yang bisa muncul? Setelah itu baru kita bisa memilih obat stroke yang tepat yang akan kita gunakan.

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