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In Hitachi Warehouses, The Boss is AI

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posted on Sep, 8 2015 @ 02:01 PM

TextHitachi Ltd. is looking to promote artificial intelligence to management. The Japanese electronics maker said it has developed a new artificial intelligence program that will enable robots to deliver instructions to employees based on analyses of big data and the workers’ routines. “Work efficiency improved by 8% in warehouses with the new artificial intelligence program, compared to those without them,” a Hitachi spokeswoman said. “The program can examine an extremely large amount of data to provide the most efficient instruction, which is impossible for human managers to handle.” Hitachi last month unveiled a fast-moving two-armed robot which it says may replace humans in performing basic functions like retrieving items in warehouses. Its new artificial intelligence can also analyze how an employee, judging from past experience, tries new approaches to work in an effort to improve efficiency, and can choose the best course of action, the company said. “The AI automatically analyzes the outcome of these new approaches, and selects processes which produce better results and applies it to the next work order,” Hitachi said in a statement.

This is the first I've heard of "management AI", didn't even know it was a thing. Most concerns involving AI that is possible today revolves around AI replacing the human workforce. No one is really talking about humans actually being subordinate to AI in the workplace. This can raise quite a few sticky issues when taken to it's logical conclusion. Human Resources is already impersonal enough without having to worry
about getting your pink slip from a robot...
edit on 8-9-2015 by Vdogg because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 8 2015 @ 02:07 PM
a reply to: Vdogg

Oh ouch.

Not that automation isn't effecting only the lame a** loser workers doing all the physical labor b ecause they suck, maybe we can start looking for alternative solutions to our economic woes.

Or do these lame a** management types just need to restart their careers halfway through their life?

Get educated losers! Start from the bottom again dirt bag! Make ten dollars an hour!

edit on 9/8/2015 by onequestion because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 8 2015 @ 02:09 PM
a reply to: Vdogg

well good news then

Hitachi last month unveiled a fast-moving two-armed robot which it says may replace humans in performing basic functions like retrieving items in warehouses.

you dont have to worry about getting your pink slip from a scary ai because youre already going to be out of a job

doctors surgeons lawyers engineers accountants teachers etc etc etc
all replaceable with a machine that can run damn near forever at about the cost it would take to hire a human being for a year or two (sometimes far far less) and some are already in the transitional stages
and if you shuffle paperwork for a living youre lucky youre not gone already because you definitely could be

everyone bitches about outsourcing but the fact of the matter is the vast majority of job losses you have seen in recent history have been due to automation and increases in efficiency (which are very good things if your system of government and economics are not hampered by a portion of the population that absolutely resists any kind of change)
edit on 8-9-2015 by fartlordsupreme because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 8 2015 @ 02:23 PM
a reply to: Vdogg

Too impersonal was my thoughts too. That and the similarity between the "management AI" and Mana.

posted on Sep, 8 2015 @ 02:39 PM
The reason we exist "Business". God help us.

posted on Sep, 8 2015 @ 03:48 PM
a reply to: Vdogg

They read the data wrong!!!!

The increase in productivity was not because AI, it was because the removal of Management.

posted on Sep, 8 2015 @ 04:00 PM
I've always held a sneaking suspicion that if we ever do end up creating AI capable of threatening human life, it won't be solely military, but a nexus of separate, even unrelated, military and CORPORATE artificial intelligence.

No, this isn't a "doom" scenario, as I don't think this is something achievable for 100 years or more. But consider this.

We're on the cusp of having self-driving cars available to the general public. Suppose after the kinks are all worked out, those self-driving vehicles end up having far better safety and operational records than human drivers. It stands to reason that - not anytime soon, but someday - we might create an integrated system allowing all self-driving cars on the road to communicate with a network, allowing total awareness by AI at all times of the locations, speeds, and circumstances of every vehicle on the road. I think this could greatly enhance safety.

Once that happens, the threshold of what society is willing to accept in terms of AI will be drastically lowered. We could see commercial planes controlled by AI. Trains. Delivery vehicles (Amazon is already going to start using drones - I have no difficulty imagining these, some day in the distant future, being AI piloted.) Etc. etc.

Meanwhile the military already has drones and is working on autonomous ground combat machines.It seems like a matter of time before, seeing the success, safety, and precision of an integrated system designed to monitor and control every vehicle on the road and in the sky, the military would also begin seeing the value in having a unified, integrated, networked, AI managed army of drone wings and ground combat units all being more efficiently and intelligently managed than any human could.

But there's still no real danger of a "Terminator" scenario there, because the machines aren't self-aware, and are still dependent upon us for their construction, programming, and maintenance. That's why I don't think military AI is the real threat personally. Instead... I feel CORPORATE artificial intelligence - not military - will be the real risk. Corporate competition is what it is, and can take on emergent behavior with unpredictable results. Bear with me, here.

Suppose this warehouse AI takes off and improves efficiency and cost effectiveness dramatically. It will no doubt be improved upon. Competitors will want to start using similar systems, because without them, they won't remain competitive. In time - a long, long time, mind you - we could begin seeing even more complex human behaviors (such as risk analysis, overall company strategic management, even product development and design) being handled by AI. A corporate AI arms race, in essence. Initially they wouldn't be autonomous at all, but it seems like a matter of time.

From this tumultuous, "anything goes" corporate AI environment, could one day emerge truly "creative" AI. Still just algorithms and software, sure. But capable of creativity and experimentation on a human - or even beyond human - level. What happens when the first company to achieve this makes huge profits quarter after quarter and becomes the next Apple but on an unprecedented scale? Of course their competitors will follow suit. They have to.

Then one day, someone has the bright idea: "Hey! These AIs are so good at management, design, and creativity now... why don't we let them design and improve themselves? Let's build an AI purely designed to create other, better AIs. That way we can get successively improved generations of better AI than out competitors much more quickly!"

Once that genie is out of the bottle, then you've got AI having replaced humans for:

  • Product development
  • R&D
  • Logistics
  • Economics
  • Military strategy and tactical planning
  • Transportation
  • Commerce
  • The design of new and better AIs, successively, for each of these tasks

I think you see where I'm going.

What happens when emergent behavior takes over in this chaotic, unpredictable environment, and the AIs become improved exponentially enough that it's indistinguishable from our own intelligence, and we've handed over control of all of these systems to it... and they're programmed to compete with one another?

So to me the danger is not of humans intentionally creating AI and sticking it in a killing machine. It's creating AI we think can't ever get out of hand, that we still have full control over, and then emergent, unpredictable human behavior and complex competing forces causing runaway scenarios we don't see coming.

As I said, this isn't something I see happening anytime soon. Hundreds of years if ever. But it does give one pause.


posted on Sep, 8 2015 @ 04:38 PM
Nothing new, just some report had this story sitting around for a slow news day. Warehouse automation has been a thing for quite awhile. The quote someone posted about having a 2 arm robot picking the goods. Baxter robotics already sell this device, but it looks like Hitachi just wants to use their own invention.

How do i know? Used to work on Accellos One Warehouse at a previous company.

posted on Sep, 9 2015 @ 10:06 AM
a reply to: Vdogg

Ahhhh efficiency up 8% but oddly enough moral is down 100 %...that does not compute..that's some crazy stuff...

posted on Sep, 9 2015 @ 01:08 PM

Obedient sla... I mean employee

Disobedient slaves, oops, employees

posted on Sep, 9 2015 @ 03:32 PM
If I owned a warehouse worth billions of dollars who would I trust more, a man or a machine?

posted on Sep, 9 2015 @ 04:00 PM
a reply to: kwakakev

If I owned a warehouse worth billions of dollars who would I trust more, a man or a machine?

Or the man who wrote the algorithms and the software, but I get what you are saying.

edit on 01930America/ChicagoWed, 09 Sep 2015 16:01:26 -0500000000p3042 by interupt42 because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 9 2015 @ 10:54 PM
Yeah, this has been in the works for awhile.

In an MIT study back in 2014, where robots were integrated with groups of workers performing certain tasks in a manufacturing environment, and the robots were responsible for “on-the-fly” planning and scheduling, the human workers reported that they actually preferred having the robots doing the planning and scheduling over having another human do it. Apparently the operation ran more smoothly and efficiently when a robot was in charge.

HERE’s an old article from NBC News about the study.

It’s not only blue collar workers who could be losing their jobs to machines in the near future. Middle management and clerical type jobs will be in jeopardy, as well. Jobs like accounting clerks, department supervisors, helpline attendents, etc. are all targeted.

Remember that old sci-fi movie the Time Machine? In it the humans have evolved into 2 seperate species. The dominant ones are the Morlocks. They live underground with the machines and are cannibalistic. The other species are the Eloi. They live on the surface and are breeded like cattle as livestock for the Morlocks. The Eloi don’t work or read, and know nothing of history. They just walk around and screw, and eventually get invited to dinner by the Morlocks.

Sounds a lot like where we’re headed...

posted on Sep, 10 2015 @ 05:08 PM

originally posted by: kwakakev
If I owned a warehouse worth billions of dollars who would I trust more, a man or a machine?

Machines are only as good as their underlying programming. In a sense when you are trusting a machine you are trusting a man (or woman) just the same. The problem arises when you get into AI and machine learning. We've taught the machines to teach themselves. When you do that it is not unrealistic to think of some "emergent" behavior arising as a result. The key is to program in certain constraints, think of it as a digital box. The machine can learn this but cannot learn that. Or, the machine can learn everything but we will not allow it to do this or that with its' knowledge.

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