Amazon Picking Challenge

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pages: 252 words: 79,452

To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death by Mark O'Connell

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Picking Challenge, artificial general intelligence, brain emulation, clean water, cognitive dissonance, computer age, cosmological principle, dark matter, disruptive innovation, double helix, Edward Snowden, effective altruism, Elon Musk, Extropian, friendly AI, global pandemic, impulse control, income inequality, invention of the wheel, Jacques de Vaucanson, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, Lyft, Mars Rover, means of production, Norbert Wiener, Peter Thiel, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, San Francisco homelessness, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Singularitarianism, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Turing machine, uber lyft, Vernor Vinge

Already, we had become comfortable with automated checkouts at supermarkets, with touchscreens and instructions from computerized voices where previously there would have been a human being, earning a paycheck. Earlier that week, in Seattle, Amazon had held a robotics competition of its own. The Amazon Picking Challenge set companies the task of developing a robot capable of replacing its human stock pickers. And you could see how this would make sense for Amazon, a company that had long been known for its poor treatment of its warehouse workers, and for its monomaniacal focus on the elimination of every kind of middleman—of booksellers, editors, publishers, postal workers, couriers.


pages: 345 words: 75,660

Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence by Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans, Avi Goldfarb

"Robert Solow", Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Air France Flight 447, Airbus A320, algorithmic bias, Amazon Picking Challenge, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, backpropagation, basic income, Bayesian statistics, Black Swan, blockchain, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, data acquisition, data is the new oil, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Google Glasses, high net worth, ImageNet competition, income inequality, information retrieval, inventory management, invisible hand, job automation, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Lyft, Minecraft, Mitch Kapor, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, new economy, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, pattern recognition, performance metric, profit maximization, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, strong AI, The Future of Employment, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Tim Cook: Apple, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, US Airways Flight 1549, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Langewiesche, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

As a result, Amazon alone employs forty thousand human pickers full-time and tens of thousands more part-time during the busy holiday season. Human pickers handle approximately 120 picks per hour. Many companies that handle high-volume fulfillment would like to automate picking. For the past three years, Amazon incentivized the best robotics teams in the world to work on the long-studied problem of grasping by hosting the Amazon Picking Challenge, focused on automated picking in unstructured warehouse environments. Even though top teams from institutions such as MIT worked on the problem, many using advanced industrial-grade robotic equipment from Baxter, Yaskawa Motoman, Universal Robots, ABB, PR2, and Barrett Arm, as of this writing they have not yet solved the problem satisfactorily for industrial use.


pages: 569 words: 156,139

Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire by Brad Stone

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, air freight, Airbnb, Amazon Picking Challenge, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, business climate, call centre, carbon footprint, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, computer vision, coronavirus, corporate governance, Covid-19, COVID-19, crowdsourcing, disinformation, disintermediation, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, future of work, global pandemic, income inequality, independent contractor, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, private space industry, quantitative hedge fund, remote working, RFID, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, search inside the book, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Tim Cook: Apple, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, Tragedy of the Commons, Uber for X, union organizing, WeWork

He tried to appeal directly to Bezos but didn’t get anywhere. Instead Bezos, Mountz recalled, was mostly fixated on the potential of robotic arms in the FCs. As a way to indulge the CEO’s interest and stimulate research in the field, his Kiva cofounder, Peter Wurman, proposed a competition among universities called the Amazon Picking Challenge to try to find a robot that could do a better job than humans lifting items off a shelf. The contest, with a meager top prize of $20,000, lasted three years and probably attracted more media hand-wringing about the potential of robots to steal human jobs than actual advancements in robotics.