BLUF

The Autonomous mobile robot is synonymous with rapid workplace automation, causing job losses and alternate work design, especially for semi-skilled labour.

Summary

The Autonomous mobile robot (AMR), developed for warehouses, has broader implications for the workforce. Essentially the AMR can manipulate objects of variable shapes and sizes in unpredictable orientations. Previously robots were limited to performing tasks like moving pallets along set paths and perhaps deviating slightly to avoid obstacles along the way. Initially, the AMR will replace jobs such as sorting products into packages at warehouses. Still, Karen Hao maintains that any task that previously required hands to perform could, within a few years, be partially or fully automated across a range of industries.
The AMR will cause jobs and roles to be displaced. Work structures may change with middle-skilled labour disappearing in favour of low- and high-skilled work opportunities. However, employees can mitigate the impact by learning to work with AMRs and being prepared to redesign jobs, possibly sooner than expected.