3/30/21: FUTURDRAMA – Ground Zero with Clyde Lewis

The best defense Amazon and other companies have against unionization is automation and artificial intelligence to displace human workers, resulting in rising technological unemployment.

There is yet another robot that appears to be very effective in making deliveries as well — Digit is the new offering from Agility Robotics.

They have perfected the use of a bi-pedal robot deployed from the rear of a robot-delivery van that will walk a package to a customer’s doorstep without the risk of face-to-face interaction.

The goal of the robot, is to reach complicated areas where traditional robots would have issues traversing, such as stairs, tight spaces, and other complex terrains.

Agility Robotics founder Jonathan Hurst told a local news station in Oregon that Digit “can lift a 40-pound package.” He said, “the robot catches itself when it falls and reorient to get back up.”

Hurst outlined the most significant problem in last-mile deliveries:

“Once you’ve got an autonomous vehicle that does a lot of it on the road. But now you’re stuck at the curb, right? And in order to really provide that service that people want, you need to then get from the curb to the doorstep. And that’s where we solve this problem.”

Agility has sold two prototype robots to Ford Motor Company, who experimented with the bi-pedal robot launched from the rear of an autonomous delivery van to take a package from the vehicle to the customer’s doorstep.

I would venture a guess that future shock keeps most of us from imagining a different kind of society where work and the institutions it structures (unions, politics, education, retirement, etc. might be institutionally re-written.

Despite the rapid growth of information services and adoption of new intelligent technologies we still inhabit an industrial landscape based on industrial attitudes, defined through industrial ontologies and subjectivities.

We have been functioning in a 20th century labor mind set — and soon the 21st century will be on top of us and the new normal means rethinking everything.

In sociology we are told the industrial society is driven by technologies that enable mass production with an increasing complex division of labor, we generally use fossil energy sources, steam power and electricity, assembly lines, corporate management regimes, and so forth. The foundation thinkers of sociology were all concerned with the constitution of industrial society, the transition from agrarian society to a capitalist organization of industrial production where the concept of work was central, and the transformation to the next stage beyond capitalism. Most of the forecasts about the impact of the new wave of technology seem condemned to repeat the past – they highlight changes that might be made in order to keep the society we have.


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