The Madeleine Brand Show for March 21, 2012

Robots planning world takeover, one Amazon warehouse at a time

CeBIT 2012 Technology Trade Fair

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

A robot developed by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology retrieves a carton of juice in a presentation on the first day of the CeBIT 2012 technology trade fair in Hanover, Germany.

Robots are gaining a big foothold in the workplace. E-commerce giant Amazon announced recently it's buying robotics company Kiva Systems for $775 million — their robots will roam the aisles of Amazon's warehouses, fetching inventory for their human co-workers. Joining us to talk about what this sale means for businesses, and for the human race, is CNET's Stephen Shankland.

Kiva's warehouse robots at work

There's clear benefits for businesses in employing robots. They don't complain, which Amazon will appreciate after it got a lot of bad press when employees at a Pennsylvania warehouse protested working conditions like forced overtime and insufferable heat. They're cheaper over the long run, too. But there has to be something about humans we can do better than robots, right?

Guest:

Stephen Shankland, senior writer at technology news site CNET.


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