It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity. Our workload has greatly reduced, for everything is accessible at the snap of a finger. Amazon’s new robot Proteus is its first “fully autonomous mobile robot”. The robot is devised to transport large carts all over the company’s warehouses. It has “advanced safety, perception, and navigation technology,” says Amazon.
The tech giant claims that Proteus can safely manoeuvre around human employees. It moves around while shining a green light in front of itself and stops moving when a person enters the beam. The bot resumes once the person steps out of the way. This new scanning method may also raise unrealistic expectations about how quickly workers should be moving.
Nevertheless, the age-old debate of technology replacing humans does not seem like a far-fetched reality. Amazon says it does not aim to introduce robots instead of hiring people, though recent reports indicate that the company may soon struggle to find labour. “Replacing people with robots is just a fallacy,” a leader from Amazon’s robotics section told Forbes. Yet, robots could play a role in setting a pace of work that humans struggle to safely keep up with.
Amazon claims that its new robot could significantly increase worker safety. Proteus will reduce the need for people to manually move heavy objects. Currently, the company is also developing a robot that would bring containers to employees instead of requiring them to bend over / climb in order to reach them. Hope technology remains a faithful servant and not a dangerous master.