Ever get scared of the future? Remember that time when your Grandad had you on his knee and told you that the world was going to change dramatically when you got older? He told you that you’ll have things to pay called taxes. That you’ll have to decide whether to lease or buy. And that Walmart robots would be wandering through the aisles while you decided between low-fat and sugar-free milk.
Well, the last part is actually happening. Walmart (NYSE:WMT) has unveiled its new fleet of workers, and they’re not the sweaty kind.
The retailer’s new janitors will be in the form of 360 autonomous, floor-scrubbing robots. The new additions are expected to get to work by January of next year.
It’s no surprise that the maker of these gormless bots has an equally Frankenstein-ish name—Brain Corp. In conjunction with Walmart, 100 artificially intelligent machines are already in service. A test-run, if you will.
Brain Corp has created the AI platform on which the Walmart robots run. And that is exactly what its business model entails; the company seeks to turn “everyday machines into autonomous solutions.”
Each of the autonomous janitors will have a yellow safety guard on both sides; a deterrent to those who would love to jump on board for a ride. They also come equipped with a siren to warn people they are cleaning nearby.
But there is more than meets the eyes with these machines. The Walmart robots are also said to have sensors that collect information such as which shelves are empty. This information can then be uploaded to a cloud-based platform.
It’s only a hunch, but such technology will no doubt lead to paranoia, no?
Hands up if you question that Walmart robots could, in theory, listen in to your conversations and ‘collect data’ there too…
Robots are Taking Over
Autonomation in business is gaining momentum. Already in Japan, some hotels have staffed their reception with autonomous dinosaurs. The Henn na, which translates as ‘Weird Hotel,’ has its guests check in with robots that also deliver their luggage to rooms.
And then there’s Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), which has already been awarded a patent for a package-packing robot. The reality of the situation is much cheaper labor, that won’t bemoan the repetitiveness of the job and won’t ask for days off to feed their cat.
It’s worrisome for employment numbers and for the human race, but it’s effective for business, so who cares, right? Are we being phased out one autonomous cleaning robot at a time?
Featured Image: Depositphotos © wolterke