Some amusing/interesting automated labor links

I pitched an essay about the 1920 play RUR, and I wanted to share some links I ran across while working on it.

This TechCrunch story about Berkeley’s Kiwibots has an interesting map of the company’s distribution network.

In this Daily Cal interview, the Kiwibot CEO describes some of the startup’s operations: it sounds like they pre-buy popular meals from local eateries, then offer them for sale on their app, and then have human employees at their distribution nodes load up the bots for final delivery.

This Washington Post story about workers at a Georgia Walmart trying to cope with a flood of new robotic coworkers is exactly about what I was trying to get at. Come for the Auto-C Floor Scrubber named after recently fired janitor Freddy, stay for the dude who falls asleep on Freddy as it migrates around the store and has to be taken off it, and the six foot tall Auto-S scanning bot who creeps out shoppers by silently stalking up behind them to scan shelves.


Hey, that’s a job I could have, stolen by robots!

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from the techcrunch article:

Customers are happy, they get stuff delivered more than ever once they get the app and there are fewer and fewer incidents where a robot is kicked over or, you know, catches on fire. Notably, the founders said onstage, the community has really adopted the little vehicles, and should one overturn or be otherwise interfered with, it’s often set on its way soon after by a passerby.

damn, kawaii-osity makes money by co-opting our empathy.

but rather than do it themselves by raising millions and hiring staff all over the country, they’re trusting the robotics-loving student groups at other universities to help out.

oh my eywa of course they are.

i know vaguely about the phenomenon of all the ice cream shops in berkeley being staffed by young people from ireland all summer because ireland has some kind of program about sending young adults out to get work experience abroad. and australia has something about young adults farming for a few years before entering the workforce or something. i used to wonder, what if every young adult was

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Hey, that’s a job my kid could have, stolen by robots!