Amazon says fully automated shipping warehouses are at least a decade away

The future of Amazon’s logistics network will undoubtedly involve artificial intelligence and robotics, but it’s an open question at what point AI-powered machines will be doing a majority of the work. According to Scott Anderson, the company’s director of robotics fulfillment, the point at which an Amazon warehouse is fully, end-to-end automated is at least 10 years away. Anderson’s comments, reported today by Reuters, highlight the current pace of automation, even in environments that are ripe for robotic labor, like an Amazon warehouse.

As it stands today, robots in the workforce are proficient mostly at specific, repeatable tasks for which they are precisely programmed. To get the robot to do something else takes expensive,...

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