While I never actually did it, most of my friends delivered food as a job at some point in their high school / college life. I mean, it wasn’t exactly the hardest job to do and if you had the right route, it could actually be reasonably lucrative thanks to some generous gratuities.
One of the main criteria for jobs that can be automated are jobs that are somewhat predictable and repetitive in nature. To a certain extent, it kind of makes sense that some delivery jobs may fall into this category. This is the thinking, I would imagine, behind the Robot Courier from Starship Technologies.
Think I am kidding? Here it is…
The logic behind this product is that it is aimed at replacing a particular kind of delivery job. As you can imagine, it has some limitations:
1. It won’t drive on the road, so it is limited to paths and sidewalks.
2. It has space for a meal or two’s worth of food, so it is really aimed at food / small package delivery.
3. It is battery powered, so it has a certain range.
4. It doesn’t do stairs, so it is likely aimed at a primarily urban environment.
I do have to hand it to the designers in some ways because it does have that “BB-8 cuteness factor” to it. It doesn’t look threatening and it would be a really cool cooler that you would take to a tailgate party! That perspective is one way to get over what it really is…that being a threat to many jobs.
For now, the device has to be controlled remotely by a human which limits its cost saving capability. However, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that this won’t be the case for long. I truly can see this device replacing many short-haul courier jobs….such as some messenger services, food delivery and others.
The Bottom Line
Like my blog post about H&R Block’s use of Jon Hamm in its advertisements, don’t be fooled by appearances. This device is like any other form of automation – it is intended to reduce costs through the elimination of jobs. While many people may not have an issue with that, it is something to keep track of. In the meantime, can it deliver beer?