Store inventory is a good fit for a robot counter on wheels, as Walmart has apparently decided.
The San Francisco CBS station presented the video report below, where one Walmart shopper, Deborah Espinoza, was bright enough to question the related job loss. An employee San Jose Airport, she said that cashiers ware laid off there when automated checkout was introduced. The Walmart spokesperson had a noncommittal response to that, saying it’s still too early to say how the robots will impact their workforce. Right.
The robot shelf-scanner is another example of how automation is about to change the workplace fundamentally, and millions of jobs will likely be lost to smart machines in the coming decades. There’s not a lot that can be done, although ending the immigration of low-skilled persons is indicated because machines will soon be doing those jobs.
‘It’s a little scary.’ Walmart rolls out shelf-scanning robots in 50 stores, Sacramento Bee, March 21, 2018
They might not be the killer machines from the future in the “Terminator” films, but shelf-scanning robots deployed at 50 Walmart stores across the nation are still an unsettling sight for some consumers.
“Well, it’s a little scary because I feel it’s taking somebody’s job,” shopper Deborah Espinoza told KTVU at a Walmart testing the robots in Milpitas, Calif. “But if it isn’t taking somebody’s job, if it’s gonna do benefits for Walmart, then it would be good.”
Walmart executives, however, insist the robots will not entirely replace human workers at the retail giant’s stores.
“It’s looking at tasks that are repeatable, predictable,” Tiffany Wilson, a Walmart spokeswoman, told The Mercury News. “This way, our associates can spend their time focusing on customers and selling merchandise. While the job may change, and the type of work being done may change, robots are not going to replace human contact and human touch.”
The 6-foot-tall robots, designed by San Francisco-based Bossa Nova Robotics, zip down store aisles scanning shelves on both sides using lights, cameras and radar, reported KPIX. The robots clear one aisle every 90 seconds or so, checking for out-of-stock, mispriced, mislabeled and misplaced products, instantly uploading the information so workers can keep shelves up to date.