USA - Amazon Wristband Tracks Warehouse Workers

Arno Froese

Amazon has patented designs for a wristband that can precisely track where warehouse employees are placing their hands and use vibrations to nudge them in a different direction.

When someone orders a product from Amazon, the details are transmitted to the handheld computers that all warehouse staff carry. Upon receiving the order details, the worker must rush to retrieve the product from one of many inventory bins on shelves, pack it into a delivery box and move on to the next assignment.

The proposed wristbands would use ultrasonic tracking to identify the precise location of a worker’s hands as they retrieve items. One of the patents outlines a haptic feedback system that would vibrate against the wearer’s skin to point their hand in the right direction.

The result? Human workers can fulfill more orders—until robots develop the dexterity to replace them altogether.

The wristbands are, according to the patent documents, first spotted by GeekWire, designed as a labor-saving measure to keep track of products throughout the warehouse.

A less generous interpretation would be that the wristbands provide Amazon management with new workplace surveillance capabilities that can identify the workers wasting time scratching, fidgeting or dilly-dallying.

Amazon already has a reputation for turning low-paid staff into “human robots”—working alongside thousands of proper robots—carrying out repetitive packaging tasks as fast as possible in an attempt to hit goals set by handheld computers.

This month, the 24-year-old warehouse worker Aaron Callaway described having just 15 seconds to scan items and place them into the right cart during his night shifts at an Amazon warehouse in the UK. “My main interaction is with the robots,” he said., 31 January 2018

Arno's commentary

As repeatedly mentioned in this column, man becomes more and more dependent on his own inventions. Robotic activity is increasing, as Mr. Callaway stated: “My main interaction is with the robots.”

Welcome to the new age of automation and robotics! Some fear it will take away jobs from people, but that fear has proven to be unsubstantiated since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

Nevertheless, we point to the fact that man becomes increasingly part of the machine. Since a machine does not have a soul and a spirit, man’s spirit becomes more and more dull. Thus, the warning: believers, be cautious not to neglect time with your Creator.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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