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For Lower-Paid Workers, the Robot Overlords Have Arrived


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A robot manager.

Companies increasingly are using software to monitor employee productivity, and to terminate underperforming workers.

Credit: Econopoly

Companies like Amazon are using software to monitor employee productivity, and terminate underperforming workers.

A law firm representing Amazon notified the National Labor Relations Board that the company's Associate Development and Performance Tracker (Adapt) software "tracks the rates of each individual associate's productivity, and automatically generates any warnings or terminations regarding quality or productivity without input from supervisors."

The Adapt software reportedly monitors how workers at fulfillment centers meet benchmarks, and alerts them when they are underperforming; Adapt also sends termination notices to managers and human resources, who discuss options with employees before making a termination decision.

Critics contend such deployments can be particularly bad for lower-paid employees.

The University of California at Los Angeles' Ian Larkin said automating disciplinary procedures "makes an already difficult job seem even more inhuman and undesirable."

From The Wall Street Journal
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