Automation Makes Amazon’s Revolutionary Success Possible

Amazon owner Jeff Bezos was recently recognized to be the world’s richest man, with a net worth of more than $100 billion. An optimistic economy has helped push his riches to stratospheric heights.

Plus, automation has played a big part in Amazon’s success. The online shopping behemoth couldn’t process the millions of products without computerized warehouses and the little orange Kiva robots that move items to human workers who package the orders.

For a brief history of the company, see my Social Contract article, Amazon Robotics: A Case Study of How Smart Machines Transformed an Internet Store from last year. Jeff Bezos played the long game and won big for his patience.

A lot of the automation revolution takes place out of the public eye in factories and other workplaces. Nevertheless the effect on employment is real and will certainly have an increasing reach. The future economy will be very different as smart machines become more commonplace.

Below, Amazon purchased Kiva Systems Inc. for $775 million in 2012 to acquire its factory robots in order to replace workers pushing carts around warehouses.

Expert predictions have been sobering. Oxford researchers forecast in 2013 that nearly half of American jobs were vulnerable to machine or software replacement within 20 years. Rice University computer scientist Moshe Vardi believes that in 30 years humans will become largely obsolete, and world joblessness will reach 50 percent. The Gartner tech advising company believes that one-third of jobs will be done by machines by 2025. The consultancy firm PwC published a report earlier this year that forecast robots could take 38 percent of US jobs by 2030.

There’s a not that government can do to mitigate the negative effects of automation, although Bill Gates has suggested that robots should be taxed. For sure, the government’s practice of importing foreign workers to work cheap (aka immigration) should end as being totally obsolete, given the automated future.

Anyway, back to Jeff Bezos’ big day:

Amazon’s Cyber Monday was its biggest sales day ever, Money CNN, November 29, 2017

Amazon has once again beat its own sales record.

The tech giant said on Wednesday that Cyber Monday was its single biggest shopping day of all time. The announcement comes just months after it reported unprecedented sales on Prime Day, its special shopping event is for Prime members.

Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) said customers ordered “hundreds of millions of products” from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. Not surprisingly, the best-selling product on Cyber Monday was an Amazon-branded product: the Echo Dot smart speaker. . .

Cyber Monday was also the biggest sales day ever for small businesses and entrepreneurs selling items on the platform. Customers ordered almost 140 million products from small businesses globally in the five-day period following Thanksgiving. . .

Beyond Amazon, a record $6.59 billion was spent online overall by the end of Cyber Monday, a 16.8% jump year-over-year, according to Adobe Analytics data. It was the largest online shopping day in history.

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