Are Amazon Robots Taking Human Jobs?

Amazon robots fill customer orders faster but that may lead to fewer workers.

There were lots of "oohs" and "ahhs" this week over Amazon's robot army hard at work filling Cyber Monday orders. Online videos featured the high-tech machines moving through warehouses fetching items and getting them ready to ship. 

But not everyone is fascinated with the automation. Are these robots taking human jobs? 

On Sunday, the media got a first-ever tour tour of an Amazon fulfillment center using the Kiva robots and the company answered concerns about a possible shrinking work staff. 

"We continue to add employees, and no employee has been negatively impacted by Kiva coming on board," said Dave Clark, Amazon's senior vice president of worldwide operations and customer service. He added that hiring is up almost 15% from 2013 with the addition of 80,000 seasonal workers.

It's true...for now. However, the Amazons robots are performing tasks that humans would do. Over time, this will lead to fewer lower-wage workers, said Harley Shaiken, a professor and labor expert at UC Berkeley.

"The notion of robots is meant to replace workers; it's meant to lower labor costs," he said. "Just saying no one has ever been negatively affected doesn't tell us much about what the future looks like," said Shaiken

Look out Santa's elves. If you see a robot making toys, you might want to get your resume ready. 

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