Well, isn’t this some 1984 type of shit?
Online retail giant Amazon has just patented the designs for wristbands that will track the movements of its warehouse employees. Just so you realize how Amazon works, it’s not just some magic box genie who remembers what size socks you wear. Whenever you place an order, that information gets sent to a handheld computer that warehouse employees carry. A warehouse employee then hustles to locate your order and gets it packed and shipped ASAP (you’re welcome!).
But apparently, Amazon feels as though some employees could be hustling a little harder, because the proposed wristbands will use ultrasonic tracking to determine the exact location of a worker's hands and vibrate to prompt them in the correct direction of their next order.
Apart from streamlining the process of fulfilling orders and keeping track of inventory, there’s an obvious Big Brother element to all this. The wristbands give management very, if not literal, hands-on control over their staff, so they can easily spot if an employee is wasting time, I don’t know, breathing too long or something. It’s also pretty dehumanizing for Amazon’s low-paid warehouse staff that already works alongside actual robots.
As the Guardian reported, a 24-year-old warehouse employee named Aaron Callaway recently revealed, "My main interaction is with robots." Callaway also explained he has just 15 seconds to scan items and get them in the right cart when pulling orders. In 2016, a BBC investigation into the company uncovered how badly workers were being exploited. Delivery employees were reportedly using bags to go to the bathroom and falling asleep at the wheel as they tried to hit the delivery targets set forth by Amazon’s logistics app.
In related news, I now feel mad guilty about those light bulbs I ordered last night.