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By Alan J. Pierce EdD
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JD.com’s Totally Automated Warehouse in Shanghai
(Published November 2018 in TechDirections Magazine)
Worker Robots = 1000
Working People = 4
These Robots do the Jobs of 180 People
Is your career choice or current career going to be eliminated soon by automation and/or the artificial intelligence (AI) revolution? I raise this question not to scare you but to warn you that your career choice should include insight into how your selection will be affected by smart computer algorithms or artificial intelligent robotic systems in the foreseeable future.
We are still a long way from the type of “almost human” robots often depicted in science fiction movies. However, the loss of jobs to robots that still look like machines is picking up speed. The 1,000 robots in this JD.com automated warehouse in Shanghai, China, (Photo 1) are AI-controlled to pick, package, and then ship thousands of orders each day.
The robots are now doing the jobs that would normally be done by 180 workers. JD.com is a Chinese company that most of us in the U.S. have never heard of. They are the largest retail company in China and have over 300 million customers. They use automation
wherever possible to deliver products within 48 hours from the
time they were ordered. To accomplish this task they are now even using drones to get the products to their final destination.
This column fully describes what the robots do and it includes a full video tour of the facility. JD.com has just initiated a worldwide Tech Challenge that is similar in design to the Elon Musk's Hyperloop challenge. Links to the challenge are provided in the column.
. JD.com has launched a worldwide robotics challenge that is open to university teams.
The link to the challenge is just a click away