Walmart’s growing number of robot workers is reportedly leading to increased tedium and unease among its staff.
According to a report by the Washington Post many Walmart employees working alongside the robots, which are currently in use at around 1500 locations across the US, have complained of an increasingly monotonous work environment.
Though some employees described them as helpful, many said that the introduction of robots meant that their roles were now focused on training and tending to the robots, leading them to feel devalued.
Furthermore, the report suggested that many shoppers felt uneasy around certain robots Walmart has integrated into its stores, including the six-foot-tall Auto-S scanner which moves silently around stores automatically scanning shelves.
Walmart has defended its robots stating their adoption gives employees “more of an opportunity to do what they’re uniquely qualified for: serve customers face-to-face on the sales floor”.
Speaking to Gizmodo, a Walmart spokesperson argued that the “feedback we’re receiving from associates and customers alike is positive”, and allowed staff to move away from “extremely mundane and repetitive” tasks.
In April, the US’ largest retailer announced plans to add 1500 new autonomous floor cleaners, 900 pickup towers, 1200 fast unloaders and 300 shelf scanners to its already heavily automated store estate.