Walmart Employees Bristling At Fleet Of Robot Co-Workers  | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Walmart Employees Bristling At Fleet Of Robot Co-Workers 

In particular, the company's new Auto-C self-driving floor scrubber is proving more of a headache than a helper, according to workers of Walmart Supercenter No. 937 in Marietta, GA, who have named it "Freddy" after the janitor it replaced.

Freddy’s career at the store has gotten off to a rocky start. Workers there said it has suffered nervous breakdowns, needed regular retraining sessions and taken weird detours from its programmed rounds.

Shoppers are not quite sure how to interact with Freddy, either. Evan Tanner, who works there, recalled the night he says a man fell asleep on top of the machine as it whirred obediently down a toy aisle. -Washington Post

While Walmart executives are skeptical that someone passed out on an operating Auto-C, Tanner insists that it happened. "Someone had to pull [the sleeping man] off," he said, adding that Freddy "was going to swing toward groceries, just cleaning away."

The company has also been using demeaning analogies to foist the robot co-workers on human employees, such as comparing the machines to Star Wars droid R2-D2 and the Transformer Optimus Prime. "Every hero needs a sidekick, and some of the best have been automated," said the company in a May announcement titled #SquadGoals.

When does the "sidekick" become one's boss? Not anytime soon if the reports are accurate:

Many Walmart workers said they had long feared robots would one day take their jobs. But they had not expected this strange transition era in which they are working alongside machines that can be as brittle, clumsy and easily baffled by the messy realities of big-box retail as a human worker can be. -WaPo

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Many years ago, when I was playing with my Sabre tooth Tiger, I had the opportunity to see first-hand when robotic or computer actions get in the way of real-life people, who depended on their jobs for some degree of economic certainty.

A Temp agency was awarded the roll-out of a major US bank's first ATM services, and I became one of the supervisors for the temp service, to see how the roll-out was working. There were many sites I visited, where things were going swimmingly; but in others, where tellers and other workers, were very grim in their outlook, and expected that these devices would "upstage and replace them" in time.

That generated a lot of electronic sabotage.

And particularly when one is dealing with a low-salaried job, and there is a threat to that person's job, due to new technology, you will, ultimately, see some nasty confrontations.