Amazon is well-known for applying technology to scientific management practices by using digital sensors to monitor and control the activity of its workers in the name of efficiency.
After installing machine learning surveillance cameras in its delivery trucks earlier this year, the company is now telling employees that they must be approved for either being monitored by artificial intelligence or the threat of job loss.
And theshould Amazon delivery drivers in the US now have to sign biometric approval forms to continue working with the retail giant.
The data that drivers must agree to collect includes images used to verify their identity, the vehicle’s location and movements (including miles traveled, speed, acceleration, braking, turns and next distance, potential traffic violations (such as speeding, failing to stop at stop signs, loosening of seat belts), and behavior. Potentially risky driver (such as distracted driving or drowsy driving).
And Amazon announced in February that it was starting to install AI-powered cameras made by tech company Netradyne in its delivery trucks.
These cameras record 100 percent of the time and are supposed to identify dangerous behavior, as if the driver were yawning or checking his phone.
The systems can then provide real-time feedback and tell the driver to take a break or keep their eyes on the road.
And this level of micromanagement – and the potential for AI systems to go wrong – appears to have angered some drivers.
A driver who spoke to Reuters earlier this month said: The cameras represent a breach of privacy. We are working all day, trying our best, and cameras are just another way to control us.
And when news of the camera installation was announced earlier this year, Amazon defended the technology as being a safety benefit.
We are investing in safety across our operations, and we recently started rolling out industry-leading camera-based safety technology across our delivery fleet, an Amazon spokesperson said. This technology provides drivers with real-time alerts to help them stay safe when they are on the road.
Previously, Amazon’s deployment of this type of technology focused mostly on warehouse workers, as collectors had to fulfill orders in a timely fashion with portable scanners.
The company owns a patent for wristbands that track workers’ hands in real time using haptic feedback to stimulate them when they reach an incorrect item.
It recently expanded its use of incentive technologies that drive workers to do greater efforts in exchange for digital rewards.
The Amazon spokeswoman said: The cameras are there to help drivers and the communities in which we provide safe services, and these cameras are only for safety.
She added: Accidents decreased by 48%, violations of stop signs decreased by 20%, driving without seatbelts decreased by 60%, and distracted driving decreased by 45% in more than 2 million miles of driving during a trial of technology from April to 1 month. October 2020.