Amazon to use AI to enforce social distancing in offices and warehouses
Amazon is to use a tracking system powered by artificial intelligence to make sure employees are following social distancing guidelines in its offices and warehouses.
Monitors in its warehouses will show workers on the screens highlighted in green circles when keeping a safe distance from others.
The system will also be used in office buildings to track areas of high traffic.
Amazon is not the only company to look into using such technology during the pandemic, which is being open sourced.
The system, known as Distance Assistant, is live at a handful of Amazon buildings, with plans to deploy hundreds of such units over the next few weeks.
Privacy activists have raised concerns about the use of AI to track people in the workplace, and have urged businesses to limit use of such technology to the pandemic. Many fear the technology will be used to track productivity, and offer workers no choice but to agree to these conditions.
The move comes as Amazon battles a lawsuit from a trio of warehouse workers in New York, who allege the company is not doing enough to protect staff during the outbreak.
The complaint accuses Amazon of creating a work environment in which staff “were explicitly or implicitly encouraged to continue attending work and prevented from adequately washing their hands or sanitising their workstations,” Bloomberg first reported.