Is it necessary to fire the Robots?
March 14, 2023
What is Google-parent Alphabet?
It is an American multinational company whose main subsidiary is Google, which develops products and services related to the Internet, software, consumer electronics, electronic devices, and other technologies. Alphabet is the umbrella that will encompass all the companies that were part of what was until now Google. It will include Calico, Nest, Fiber, Ventures, Capital, and X, the development laboratory. Within what we already knew as Google, the search engine will remain the search engine itself, Ads, Maps, YouTube, Android, and app.
Disconnecting robotic machines
Robots can also be fired if they prove incompetent for their job. This is what has happened with the Pepper model, those humanoid robots that have been trying to conquer the mass market for a few years, and that we have seen arriving as individual workers at some train stations and several stores.
The technological revolution in the workplace could be devastating. According to Andy Haldane, the chief financial officer of the Bank of England, robots will occupy half of our jobs. Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne of Oxford University analyzed 700 jobs and came to a similar conclusion, stating that “the convergence of robotics, information technology, and artificial intelligence…puts 7 U.S. jobs at high risk of being automated in the next 10 to 20 years.”
Consulting firm Forrester, which released its study The Future of Jobs, 2025: Working Side by Side with Robots last September, nearly 23 million U.S. jobs could be lost over the next decade. Moshe Vardi, professor of computer science at Rice University, also adds that such job destruction is particularly harmful to the middle class and “exacerbates inequality.”
Problems encountered by Robot workers
Fabio soon began to prove difficult to work with. For example, when someone asked where to find beer, the robot simply replied that it was in the alcoholic beverage section. It provided no further instructions and had too much difficulty navigating the store to effectively direct customers to the product they were looking for then he understood what they were saying because he had a problem with that too. The noise in the store prevented Fabio from understanding what some customers were asking him, so he had to repeat the question repeatedly.
After realizing that the robot doesn’t seem to be able to perform the main task it was hired to do, the shop decided to give it another chance. Instead of trying to help users, they back you into a corner and offer customers the opportunity to try the product only when they come in, but Fabio was too enthusiastic about his new role, so customers began to avoid him. During the day, the robot managed to get two customers to try the meat dishes he offered, while his human companions got more than a dozen people to try them. Due to its ineffectiveness, store managers decided not to use it anymore.
This failed attempt doesn’t mean that robots can’t do some of our jobs, but it does mean that they still have time to do it. However, one thing the store told the Daily Mail is that users like interacting with people, so it remains to be seen to what extent bots of this type can replicate that experience.
What were the decisions they wanted to take?
The decision was taken because of the costs that these machines were generating, causing “Everyday Robots and Waymo, to lose 60 billion last year,” as read in New Delhi Television Limited. Alphabet’s Everyday Robots aimed to create 100 robots with wheels and an arm to perform actions such as cleaning Google’s office desks, opening doors, and separating garbage, Swissinfo mentioned. This cutback came not only with the machines but also with the layoff of around 12,000 of the company’s workers worldwide.
Meanwhile, CEO Sundar Pichai noted on the company’s corporate blog, “We need to refine our approach, redesign our cost base, and direct our talent and capital to our top priorities,” further indicating that Artificial Intelligence would be allowed to become a priority for the future.
However, the economic recession they would have to face was not foreseen, since “Alphabet’s shares plunged more than 7% and the company’s market capitalization fell by about $100 billion after the failed launch of ChatGPT’s rival Bard”, according to the New York Post.
New Delhi Television Limited also mentions that, after the robot shutdown, Google’s CEO stated that “these changes will affect the lives of Google employees and I take full responsibility for the decisions that led us here” since the state of the conditions in which they had to be working are inefficient.
On the other hand, the judge argues that automation, as a technical cause for objective dismissal, means a confrontation between the social rights of workers, which are considered an obstacle or a hindrance to the achievement of optimal business activity, versus their possibility. so that the means of production can do the same work without hourly restrictions, wages, or social taxes.
Therefore, he emphasizes that automation under the sole pretext of reducing costs to increase competitiveness is the same as “reducing the right to work to increase freedom of enterprise”. Thus, termination under these conditions cannot be appropriate, considering the interpretation that must be given to an objective termination for technical reasons.
“It is not possible that in the present case, where automation replaces employees in the performance of their duties until the workforce is transferred, it is not possible to benefit from the formal discount resulting from a dismissal, when the employee is paid less than the usual compensation, only because of the competitiveness of the company,” the judgment states.