Ocado – which most know as an online supermarket – is actually a huge British tech firm, a world leader in robotics and automation. They licence their warehouse technology to firms around the world.
It’s gradually removing humans from the mix completely – right now humans still drive the vans and pick items out of the freezers, but they are working on systems that will automate that as well.
The problem is that this is an industry that will phase out humans relatively soon, with other industries, especially ones with repetitive tasks, following on its heels.
Human customer service will become a premium product, that you’d have to pay more for, according to a recent predictive study by advertising firm dentsu.
The issue is that many millions of people work in repetitive jobs that can and will be done by AI and robots in the not too distant future.
This will require funding for retraining or transition income while new jobs in support or related industries are created – one solution is the universal basic income.
An interesting suggestion to fund this is to impose an income tax style charge on robotic workforce’s – paid by the company. The issue is that it will drive up costs as those charges will be passed to customers.
It isn’t just manual labour though, as artificial intelligence gets smarter it will be able to take on a wider range of roles, even video and audio editing.