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Wednesday, November 22, 2017, 7:17 a.m.

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NO SOAP ON AISLE 7? THAT DOES NOT COMPUTE!

PHOTOS/VIDEO: Robots to work in 50 Wal-Marts, including several in Arkansas

By Robbie Neiswanger

This article was published October 26, 2017 at 4:30 a.m.

a-robot-prowls-the-aisles-of-a-wal-mart-store-in-a-test-run-of-the-autonomous-devices-mission-to-check-shelves-and-alert-workers-to-stocking-or-pricing-needs

A robot prowls the aisles of a Wal-Mart store in a test run of the autonomous device’s “mission” to check shelves and alert workers to stocking or pricing needs.

This photo released by Wal-Mart shows a new robot that will be used in some of the retailer's stores.



Wal-Mart Stores Inc. customers in a few Arkansas stores will soon cross paths with robots roaming the aisles.

This photo released by Wal-Mart shows a new robot that will be used in some of the retailer's stores.



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Displaying 11 - 13 of 13 total comments

PopulistMom says... October 30, 2017 at 11:09 a.m.

Doubleblind,

Yes. It starts with strong elementary and middle school math, science, and computer science and advances to high school computer science, engineering, and advanced math and science and robotics programs. My 10th grader is taking a very hard computer science class and an engineering class. He needs to get on the robotics team. (He struggles in English, but he is coming along.)

Whipper is correct that technology can advance our way of lives. We still need people and the human touch for so many fields such as counseling etc.

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Jamhawker says... October 30, 2017 at 11:13 a.m.

These robots are performing the same duties that they do in massive warehouses scanning product bins for inventory management. If you are a warehouse worker or retail store employee who rotates between stock and checkout duties, you need to be worried about your job. There seems to be a denial of reality in a few posts here. Yes, robotics, AI, and automation are very real and very coming for jobs. You would think that people would have learned of the threat with automotive assembly plant jobs going away with robotics doing the painting and major welding jobs just for starters. That started nearly 40 years ago, and those jobs did not come back. The handful of jobs that were created by maintenance of said robotics hardware were few and far between compared to the loss of tens of thousands of assembly line jobs over the decades.

Then there's retail, specifically grocery stores, that started opening up self checkout stations. My Kroger stores for example have six self checkout stations in each store. One employee watches over those while there are only MAYBE six manned checkout stations that are active at any given time (including one express line for those with just 10 items or less). And they all have lines, especially during peak times at the end of the workday and on the weekends.

Finally, there are restaurants. Red Robin for example has a tablet based kiosk that you order from. You are not assigned a server and he/she does not even show up to meet you until your ordered items are delivered. And you may have several different servers tend to you through the meal. You don't even need to wait for the check because you already paid for it via debit/credit card when you placed your order at the kiosk. This has not only eliminated waiting staff jobs, but reduced their main source of income, tips. You don't need to tip the customary 15-20% because you are only getting minimal human service. You tip like you would at a buffet.

And for Part II of the restaurant industry, there's fast food companies experimenting with robotics automation in food preparation. It's only a matter of time before robots will take over menial kitchen duties like burger flipping, french frying, and assembly prep work. In Japan, they already have entire automated fast food places where you just order from something that looks like a vending machine, and your food is prepped in the back by robots and delivered to you in a pickup window slot. So the point being is that automation is about to be taken to the next level, and take more jobs. But what I find more troubling is how we are slowly becoming detached from human interaction as society shifts towards a virtual world of communication and non-interaction with humans. It is psychologically not healthy for social skills. We can already see the results of that with youths who grew up texting and Facebooking each other instead of actually getting out of the house and interacting in the real world.

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Whippersnapper says... November 1, 2017 at 10:40 a.m.

DoubleBlind says... October 30, 2017 at 10:30 a.m.
"No one is saying AI will replace all jobs. But even if they replace say 5% of jobs, that's more than 7.5million jobs according to Bureau of Labor Statistics workforce sizing. That's not the almost 9million lost during the 2007-10 recession, but it's still a lot of jobs, and jobs that won't come back."
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So, pinsetters at bowling alleys no longer exist because automation took those jobs away. Elevator operators no longer exist because technology took those jobs away. Milkmen no longer exist because technology took those jobs away. Ice cutters (and ice haulers, and all ice house related workers) no longer exist because technology took those jobs away. Airplane Listeners no longer exist because technology took those jobs away. Telephone operators have been almost eliminated because technology took those jobs away. Lamplighters no longer exist because technology took those jobs away. Railroad track laying folks no longer exist because they took those jobs away.
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None of those jobs are coming back. Technology is a one way street unless it becomes a total reset (at which point, the last thing you will worry about will be your job)
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The point is that jobs change over time, and new jobs spring into existence to replace them. The funny thing is that the more we advance, the more the new jobs focus on our leisure and enjoyment, because the drudgery "must do" stuff is done by technology. THIS IS THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. Jobs get eliminated and other jobs spring up. If you are unwilling or unable to learn something new, it stinks to be you. If you have a working brain in your head and a willing attitude, you'll be fine.

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