Robot wars: Androids are coming for your service industry jobs


Orchard Supply Hardware in San Jose, California, is turning to a robot to handle mundane and uninteresting tasks such as helping customers find products inside its store.

The walking, rolling robot is called OSHbot and talks in a pleasant sounding, computerized female voice. Tell the OSHbot you are looking for screw and then follow the robot to the aisle containing screws. Genius! And a great way to screw over American service workers.

The OSHbot was developed by Kyle Nel, hipster robot dude and executive director at the Lowes Innovation Labs.

Lowes, which is the parent company of Orchard Supply Hardware, announced massive layoffs in 2011.

But Bruce Levitin, who is the vice president of operational readiness at Lowes, says robots won’t replace live human workers. “It is not meant at all for a reduction in our staff,” he said. “Our greatest asset is our associates, and all it is is a resource for our associates to provide a higher level of service.”

See? Nothing to worry about.

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