Friday, 2 February 2018

Amazon wins a pair of patents for wireless wristbands that track warehouse workers

quote [ Amazon has been issued a pair of patents for a wristband system that monitors whether warehouse workers are putting their hands in the right places.

The patents, published today, cover bracelets that could emit ultrasonic sound pulses or radio transmissions to let a receiver system get a fix on where the workers’ hands are, in relation to an array of inventory bins.

Amazon doesn’t typically comment on its patents, but if the technology makes economic sense, it could conceivably be picked up for use in the Seattle-based online retailer’s hundreds of fulfillment centers. ]

As a customer, I love Amazon. As a human person, I'm having some regrets.

#big brother
[SFW] [science & technology] [+5]
[by HoZay@5:11pmGMT]


Dienes said @ 5:58pm GMT on 2nd Feb [Score:1 Insightful]
I really don't see the big deal here. First, its a patent. I wouldn't jump to conclusions until they actually use it - many companies have different plane layouts patented that will never see the light of day.

The wristbands, near as I can tell, just take data on job performance. They aren't tracking anything you can't see with the naked eye. It doesn't seem any different than a coach using Move wristbands to evaluate athletic performance. How is a vibration to indicate "Wrong bin" worse than a manager saying "Wrong bin" or getting written up for sending the wrong item to a customer?

Again - I'm not seeing anything wrong with this data collection system in and of itself. Its not doing anything that managers don't already do. Its not violating privacy in any way. It may help with preventing errors and improving ergonomics - neither of which I see as tyrannical things.

As someone who had to collect very, very similar data by hand for a newspaper company (how various documents were being filed and sent inter-departmentally), I would have killed for this.
Taxman said @ 7:05pm GMT on 2nd Feb [Score:2]
Normally I would agree. First off, it is just a patent. It could never go to production, they just want first dibs if it does.

The issue I see with it is its unending-ness. In your example, it’s no different than a manager peeking over your shoulder and ‘managing’ you. However, a manager is human just like you, fails just like you, gets tired just like you. There is a give and take inherent in the system that gives people a break. You can correct a mistake before the ‘boss’ finds out (hopefully) no harm no foul. You can discuss with a manager hardships you might have. However, a spreadsheet of failures is cold to the bone. An outside viewer is going to arbitrary column G (overall average speed and effectiveness) data > sort > low-to-high. “I’ve found the people we can let go.”

Obviously nothing will be so cut and dry, but I can understand the concern.

Heck, taking a que from the website’s benefactor steele, this could be how the robots non-discriminatorily remove the human workforce. No racism, no sexism. “The worker’s OAS&E is lower than 1.00 and our robot workers do that at a minimum, your honor.”

Dienes said @ 1:35am GMT on 3rd Feb [Score:1 Underrated]
You say this as if human managers are all benevolent, rational folks that will hear you out, or won't fire you for completely petty or arbitrary reasons.

I'd rather be fired for objective data that says my performance is bad than if my boss is just a dick.
Taxman said @ 2:26am GMT on 3rd Feb
I don't mean to imply human beings are in any way benevolent, rational, or non-petty. I'm saying they make mistakes, they have empathy, and for the most part act with a pack mentality.

For the time being all of that works in your favor, most of the time (not all).

With computers it will be 24/7 calculation. Most of us don't even understand that as a concept. For 1/3 of our lives we are unconscious and expect not to be judged during that time. The computers will feel no qualms about judging us and reporting back to a human that has never met you to make the decisions about your worth. All those bonuses you may not have been aware of will vanish. You will be worker #8364239 (see how progressive? No one knows your race, sex, or name), your OAS&E score will be 0.98, and you will be let go this Friday at close of shift to avoid any possible 'incident'.

We're just now putting on watches (willingly) that watch us while we sleep. Can you imagine (as a trucking corporation) the SAVINGS if you were able to detect and remove your narcoleptic workforce BEFORE they fall asleep at the wheel?

Can you foresee the Oculus Rift detecting sudden eye movements that generally depict a sexual predator in mammals and being able to remove that care-taker, priest, family member BEFORE they assault your loved one? /s

You THINK you want to be fired based on a computed performance score. That is until you realize you don't know how to improve literally 13.5 million things a computer watches and scores, versus your boss who all you need to do is let him win at golf once or twice and you're gainfully employed for 20 years (exaggerated example).
Dienes said @ 6:11pm GMT on 3rd Feb [Score:1 Funsightful]
Slippery slope is a logical fallacy for a reason.
Taxman said @ 6:33pm GMT on 3rd Feb
Had to check that. It’s not a fallacy unless the speaker implies there is no middle ground.

Example: gay marriage will lead people to marrying dogs. No middle ground, no possibility any other way, no resolution to the original problem at hand. No gay marriage because... dogs.

I am simply espousing there could be unintended consequences to quantifying workplace effort, especially allowing computers to do the evaluation (because they are all numbers at the moment).

I’m not pushing policy, I’m not offering an alternative solution (implying it is the only choice), and I was very clear about the oculus rift thing being a joke with (/s).

I’m just saying: have you thought of this?
rylex said @ 7:06pm GMT on 2nd Feb
AFAIK, they already do this data collection via the personal tablet each order picker is provided with. So forcing workers to wear a fitbit type device to gather data which is already being gathered is redundant but i don't think its worth outrage
HoZay said @ 7:23pm GMT on 2nd Feb
Too close to a shock collar for me.
rylex said @ 7:34pm GMT on 2nd Feb
Have you ever worn/tried a shock collar?

I have. They aren't too fun
cb361 said @ 7:44pm GMT on 2nd Feb [Score:2]
God Damn Those Electric Sex Pants.
mechanical contrivance said @ 7:42pm GMT on 2nd Feb
rylex said @ 9:21pm GMT on 2nd Feb
Surprisingly, it wasn't for sexual purposes.

I was testing it to decide whether to use in training my dog.
Mythtyn said @ 11:34pm GMT on 3rd Feb
We use one on occasion (when guests come over). We only use the tone though, never the shock. Luckily our dog is responsive to just the tone.
Dienes said @ 1:32am GMT on 3rd Feb
I have! It was a birthday present. They are indeed no fun, but that was kinda the point. I have a few stubborn bad habits and it was the only thing that has ever helped break them.

I also have a Shine that I wear on my opposite wrist. It takes data, but doesn't shock me. These are wildly different devices and its really disingenuous to equate the two.
rylex said @ 3:09am GMT on 3rd Feb
Super curious about these bad habits broken by shock collaring...

For my dog, it was the propensity to get into the trash when she was left alone.
Abdul Alhazred said @ 3:09am GMT on 3rd Feb
I have as well. I had just installed an invisible fence and was making sure it worked. The collar buzzed a warning before it zapped, so it was easy to test. But then I thought that before I put it on the dog I should try it on myself. I held it clenched in my fist and moved over the wire.

It sucked, but not to a cruel degree.
rylex said @ 3:15am GMT on 3rd Feb
You should have tested it by wrapping it around either your balls or neck.

I did.
Abdul Alhazred said @ 3:24am GMT on 3rd Feb
Nah. That's what I pay Maitresse for.
Bleb said @ 8:08pm GMT on 2nd Feb [Score:1 Underrated]
Amazon warehouse workers are just a stopgap measure to move boxes until the tech to move them robotically is finalized.
raphael_the_turtle said @ 8:48pm GMT on 2nd Feb
I made a post a few months ago showing videos of Amazon's vs's automated factory. There's not a lot people are doing in amazon's that jd hasn't automated.
moriati said @ 6:47pm GMT on 2nd Feb
Non Orwellian benefits could also include OHS monitoring - I've seen system designs based on Wii tracking cameras which spy monitor drone employee posture to look out for unsafe lifting techniques.
damnit said @ 7:05pm GMT on 2nd Feb
On an unrelated note, the FBI found that Baltimore's Police Department has been abusing their work hours. So the city has decided to have fingerprint scans when they clock in and clock out.
zarathustra said @ 4:21am GMT on 3rd Feb
Oh right so when I look up abuse by Baltimore police I will find that rather than this :
damnit said[2] @ 3:29pm GMT on 3rd Feb
It’s not a contest lol.

That’s just one of them.

There’s also the cop who mysteriously died in his car with his own gun and the partner isn’t talking to avoid incriminating himself. That cop was working with the FBI and was going to testify against corrupt cops.
Taxman said @ 12:30am GMT on 4th Feb
Is that this?
damnit said @ 1:13am GMT on 4th Feb
Yep. The Feds was going to handle the investigation, but they turned it over back BPD.
damnit said @ 6:39pm GMT on 5th Feb
So the story just got more interesting. A separate testimony from another officer states the slain detective was part of a squad who “collects money” from people.

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