Artificial Intelligence vs. the work force

1. Amazon distribution workers can be fired by a computer:

“Amazon’s system tracks the rates of each individual associate’s productivity,” according to the letter, “and automatically generates any warnings or terminations regarding quality or productivity without input from supervisors.” (Amazon says supervisors are able to override the process.)

In other words, Amazon has assigned HR to artificial intelligence with respect to performance warnings and terminations.

2. Home Depot has gone entirely self-checkout at the store in my neighborhood.

A couple of lanes are manned by people but they are labeled “Pro”, which I assume means they are for contractors. For everyone else you walk up to a big new screen and use a scanning gun or table scanner just like someone who used to get paid for checking you out. I’m now an unpaid Home Depot worker.

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