ProjectBlog: Amazon workers are fired by an AI system for low productivity

Blog: Amazon workers are fired by an AI system for low productivity

The AI overlords are here!

Amazon is headed a dark path with its new system of using an Artificial Intelligence system to automatically fire low-productivity workers by detecting their word patterns. Previously, AI was taking jobs by replacing human workers. But now AI is going to the next level. AI is removing human workers from human jobs.

Amazon AI system

The system is being run at Amazon warehouses. Documents obtained by The Verge suggest that a shockingly large number of warehouses are using this practice. Stacy Mitchell, an Amazon critic reported that the workers face stressful conditions and they are replaced if they don’t work fast enough.

Moreover, workers are sometimes expected to pack as much as a hundred items in just an hour. If they don’t they always have someone willing to replace. Additionally, the system tracks invasive things like the time workers spend off the task as the company calls as TOT(time off task).

Employees are being fired way too frequently, as the document suggests. In fact, in the last year, a spokesperson for the company stated that the company fired about 300 employees based on inefficiency.

Moreover, the documents suggest that the whole process consists of automatic tracking and terminations of the workers. The document says:

Amazon’s system tracks the rates of each individual associate’s productivity. And automatically generates any warnings or terminations regarding quality or productivity without input from supervisors.

Workers are supervised directly by robots who only see the digits and not the people involved. Although the human supervisors can override these automated terminations, still the system is flawed. For instance, workers complain that they have to minimize their bathroom breaks to avoid getting fired.

An Amazon spokesperson said:

Approximately 300 employees turned over in Baltimore related to productivity in this timeframe. In general, the number of employee terminations has decreased over the last two years at this facility as well as across North America.

However, the current rate of termination is not yet known.

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Source: Artificial Intelligence on Medium

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