It's a myth that robotics and automation kills jobs, says Tye Brady, chief technologist at Amazon Robotics.
Since Amazon went all-in on robotics with the 2012 acquisition of logistics robot-maker Kiva, the number of new jobs created has been immense, he says.
Speaking at the AWS Innovation Day in Sydney this week Brady said robotics and automation have created 300,000 new jobs, bringing the total number of worldwide Amazon employees up to 645,000, not counting seasonal jobs.
“The more robots we add to our fulfillment centres, the more jobs we are creating,” he said.
The AWS event attracted nearly 10,000 people who heard how AI, machine learning and robotics are changing Amazon – and the world.
“Humans are really good at problem solving, abstraction, generalisation, using common sense,” Brady said.
“And our machines that we develop? Crunching numbers, assessing databases, remembering a myriad of things, repetitive tasks, moving with precision, heavy lifting – machines are really good at these.
“But if you can blend these together in order to achieve something that is stronger than any one of them alone, you are now achieving the symphony of humans and machines working together – and when done right, this creates jobs.”
More than 100,000 robots
The online retail giant acquired Kiva Technologies 2012 and began implementing the use of robots to help stack boxes in its fulfillment centres.
Now, worldwide more than 100,000 robots glide around 300,000 sqm fulfillment centre floors larger than football fields, with packages ready for shipment.
Amazon now boasts more than 25 robotic centres across the globe, which Brady says have changed the way the company operates.
What used to take more than a day now takes less than an hour, he said.
“AI is a game changer, you have seen it in systems all over Amazon.
“We use machines to do more things, when we do more things, we become more productive.
“Simply put, we couldn’t achieve our customer obsession without adding robotics and automation.”