Amazon Began Using ‘Distance Assistant’ Based On AI To Track Workers’ Social Distance


Amazon launched a tracking system based on artificial intelligence to allow employees in the offices and warehouses to maintain a certain social distance between each other. This should help reducing employees’ infection risk of the new coronavirus.

Amazon released this system at a time when US congressmen and unions reviewed the company’s practices to protect employees from the epidemic.

Amazon said that the monitors installed in the company’s warehouses will be marked with green circles for employees who maintain a safe distance, while employees closer to them will be marked with red circles.

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The system is called ‘Distance Assistant’, which uses the images taken by the cameras in the Amazon facility to help identify areas with large numbers of people flowing.

Amazon Smart Wearable For Distance Tracking

According to internal leaks, Amazon is still testing a wearable device. When employees are too close, the device will emit light and emit an audio alert. The device will be tested in a warehouse outside Seattle on Wednesday (today).

According to Amazon’s internal recruitment information, the company is still recruiting social distance commissioners and supervisors. The duties of these employees include regular inspections of the warehouse and ensuring that the number of employees does not exceed the limited number of seats in the lounge.

Amazon did not immediately comment on this.

Amazon To Open Code Of Distance Assistant

It is reported that Amazon will also open up the technical source code behind its distance assistant system. But this is not surprising because Amazon is not the first company to use artificial intelligence to track social distance.

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Several companies told Reuters that open source software based on artificial intelligence cameras is essential because it not only shows employees and customers how it works but also shows insurance companies and regulators that it is monitoring and implementing security measures.

However, privacy activists are still concerned about the increasingly detailed tracking function. Many of these technologies will produce detailed data on workers’ movements throughout the day. This will allow managers to hound employees in the name of productivity. On the other hand, Amazon (and not only) workers will also have no choice. I mean if they want to keep their job they should accept these ‘rules’.

Amazon said on Tuesday that the tracking system has been activated in a few facilities. It also added they are planning to deploy hundreds of such systems in the coming weeks.

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