Amazon Uses AI To Fire Employees
Amazon, one of the biggest online retailers in the world is always under the camera with its inhumane working condition, is now drawing more attention for how it fires its employees working in fulfillment centers . A report by The Verge details the e-commerce giant's use of an automated system that tracks warehouse employees' productivity and issues termination notices if they consistently fall short of company standards which seem to be extremely harsh. Over the past year the algorithm has fired over 10% of the staff working at the fulfillment centre at Baltimore which is 300 people.
To measure productivity, Amazon tracks a metric called “time off task,” which is an AI powered algorithm which tracks how long an employee takes a break . If the algorithm finds an employee is below the standards set by the company, it can issue warnings or it automatically terminates the employee, without any intervention from a human supervisor. While no human input is needed to confirm an employee’s termination by bot, Amazon claimed that supervisors can override the system if they so choose, according to The Verge.
But the automated tracking-and-firing algorithm sounds like the robot uprising is already occuring— placing power over employment in the hands of an AI that tracks details such as break times seems extremely invasive by Amazon.