Someone over at Amazon must have picked up a copy of George Orwell’s 1984 again last year when it briefly made the US bestseller’s list in February after Kellyanne Conway’s ‘Alternative Facts’ statement.
For your information, Mr. Orwell’s vision of the future, written in 1949, in which a “Big Brother” (or a metaphor for any totalitarian government) is always watching, is the dark story of Winston Smith who works at the Ministry of Truth but must rewrite history with lies. Famously used in the cult movie ‘V for Vendetta’, it has become quite the classic novel.
As already stated, the Big Brother concept was recreated by someone at Amazon’s board surely when it applied a patent application for a wristband that tracks warehouse workers' hand movements.
The electronic wristband system has three parts, with an ultrasonic unit for the wrist, various ultrasonic devices placed around the work area and a module to manage all that data.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Orwell got it wrong… It's the companies we'll really need to watch out for! #1984 "Amazon’s convenience store of the future makes me nervous" <a href="https://t.co/Wk66ujyPwL">https://t.co/Wk66ujyPwL</a></p>— B Sherm (@Sabang333) <a href="https://twitter.com/Sabang333/status/956004433866952704?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 24, 2018</a></blockquote>
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The patent also points to a feedback module, which could buzz employees for various reasons, including notifying them of breaks or to help them find items in the warehouse.
But make no mistake about it: Amazon simply wants to have a way to find out whether employees are working or not.
Amazon is not dismissing its reputation for turning low-paid staff into “human robots” at all, as some of their ‘human’ staff have now already been replaced by proper robots, who can carry out repetitive packaging tasks as fast as possible.
Earlier this week, 24-year-old Aaron Callaway told about his shift at an Amazon warehouse where his “main interaction is with the robots.”
Mr. Callaway: “I have to put away each item in 15 seconds or less and get through 250 in an hour, or I’ll be given a warning by a manager. Stepping away from my station to, say, get a drink of water can have a big impact on my performance.”