Tags: caged | amazon | workers | patent

Caged Amazon Workers? Company Abandons 'Bad Idea' to Keep Workers Safe

Caged Amazon Workers? Company Abandons 'Bad Idea' to Keep Workers Safe
Amazon said it isn't using cage-like devices meant to keep workers safe at Amazon fulfillment centers after a patent for such a device raised eyebrows. (Jonathan Weiss/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Wednesday, 12 September 2018 02:11 PM

A patent to cage Amazon workers on warehouse floors in order to keep them safe was a "bad idea," the tech company's CEO, Dave Clark, admitted in a tweet last week.

The statement comes after the patent was highlighted in a case study called "Anatomy of an AI System" on Friday, which referred to Amazon's proposal as "an extraordinary illustration of worker alienation."

The patent was filed in 2016 amid backlash over poor working conditions, The New York Daily News reported.

Amazon described the cage as "a human transport device" that would be used to "transport a user within an active workspace."

The company noted that the transport device "may include a platform to support a user, an enclosure coupled to the platform to surround the user, a drive subsystem to power the human transport device."

Clark said Amazon had no intention of developing the caged device.

"Sometimes even bad ideas get submitted for patents," he said in his tweet. "This was never used and we have no plans for usage. We developed a far better solution which is a small vest associates can wear that cause all robotic drive units in their proximity to stop moving."

Lindsay Campbell, an Amazon spokeswoman, said the company's use of the patent had been taken out of context.

"Like many companies, we file a number of forward-looking patent applications," she said, according to The Boston Herald. "Many don't see the light of day as finished products, particularly at Amazon, which encourages employees to experiment and invent. Such a cage-like device is not in use in any Amazon fulfillment centers."

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A patent to cage Amazon workers on warehouse floors in order to keep them safe was a "bad idea," the tech company's CEO, Dave Clark, admitted in a tweet last week.
caged, amazon, workers, patent
268
2018-11-12
Wednesday, 12 September 2018 02:11 PM
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