Changing Workforce / Industrial Robotics

Warehouse robots: For many workers, automation seems a distant threat


Jan 25, 2018

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The wheels of a tall, metal cart squeak as Chris Beatty, 26, pulls it through a maze of aisles inside a cosmetics warehouse in Burlington, N.J.

A hand-held scanner helps Beatty find specific items, such as face cream or lipstick — to be sorted, packed and shipped to online customers. Asked if a robot could do his job, Beatty responds with a long pause. "That's a tough one," he says eventually, "but I don't think a robot could do this."

Or, maybe he just doesn't want to think about it. "I love my job too much," he says, with a smile.

His optimism matches the findings in a new NPR/Marist poll. The survey shows 94 percent of U.S. workers — across all industries — say it's unlikely they will lose jobs to automation.

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