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【科技报道】人们如何与机器人合作? How Well Can People Work with Robots?

来源:慢速英语   时间:2020-01-10 16:43:08

Robots have become common in warehouses across America.


机器人在美国各地的仓库中已经很普遍。


Warehouses are centers where products are stored and organized before they are sent to buyers.


仓库是将产品发送给买方之前进行存储和组织的中心。


Manufacturers of robots say the machines can do the most repetitive and difficult jobs. But critics warn that they are also creating new forms of stress and even injuries.


机器人制造商说,这些机器可以完成最重复和最困难的工作。但是批评者警告说,他们还在制造新的压力甚至伤害的形式。


Working with robots


与机器人合作


Amanda Taillon's job is to enter a robot-only area to fix problems in one of Amazon's warehouses in the state of Connecticut. Sometimes she has to pick up a fallen toy or ease a traffic jam.


阿曼达·塔永(Amanda Taillon)的工作是进入仅机器人区域,以解决康涅狄格州亚马逊亚马逊仓库中的问题。有时她不得不拿起一个掉落的玩具或缓解交通堵塞。


She uses a belt that works like a superhero's force field. It can command the nearest robots to stop and the others to slow down or change their paths.


她使用的皮带像超级英雄的力场一样工作。它可以命令最近的机器人停止,其他机器人减速或改变其路径。


"They weigh a lot," she said of the robots.


她说:“它们很重。”


Criticisms of robots and AI


对机器人和AI的批评


Critics say that this kind of human-machine cooperation has its problems. They say that keeping up with the pace of the new technology is hurting human workers' health and morale.


批评家说,这种人机合作有其问题。他们说,跟上新技术的步伐正在损害人类工人的健康和士气。


Beth Gutelius studies urban economic development at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has spoken with warehouse operators around the U.S.


Beth Gutelius在芝加哥的伊利诺伊大学研究城市经济发展。她曾与美国各地的仓库运营商进行过交谈。


She said human burnout is a problem in warehouses where robotics and artificial intelligence, or AI software are being used. She said that is because the robots add more work and increase the pressure on workers to speed up their performance.


她说,在使用机器人技术和人工智能或AI软件的仓库中,人的倦怠是一个问题。她说,这是因为机器人增加了工作量,并增加了工人加快工作绩效的压力。

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Recently, reporters investigated injury rates at Amazon warehouses. They found that robotic warehouses reported more injuries than those without the machines.


最近,记者调查了亚马逊仓库的受伤率。他们发现,与没有机器的仓库相比,机器仓库的受伤人数更多。


Reporters with the Center for Investigative Reporting's website Reveal studied records from 28 Amazon warehouses in 16 states. They found that the rate of serious injuries was more than two times the warehousing industry average.


报道调查中心网站Reveal的记者研究了来自16个州的28个亚马逊仓库的记录。他们发现严重伤害的发生率是仓储行业平均水平的两倍以上。


Amazon, however, says that it is misleading to compare its rate with other companies. That is because the company says it has an "aggressive stance on recording injuries no matter how big or small."


然而,亚马逊表示,将其价格与其他公司进行比较会产生误导。这是因为该公司表示,它“对记录伤害大小都持积极态度”。


The Reveal report also found a connection between robots and safety problems, such as in Tracy, California. There, the serious injury rate nearly quadrupled in the four years after robots were introduced.


Reveal报告还发现了机器人与安全问题之间的联系,例如在加利福尼亚州的特雷西。在引入机器人之后的四年中,那里的严重伤害率几乎翻了两番。


Amazon has not released information on how its safety record at robot-powered warehouses compares to those without. But company officials believe that Amazon workers are able to deal with the new technology.


亚马逊尚未发布有关其在机器人仓库中的安全记录与无人仓库的安全记录相比的信息。但是公司官员认为,亚马逊的员工有能力应对新技术。


Benefits of using robots


使用机器人的好处


Companies say they cannot quickly fulfill buyers' demands for packages without fast-moving pods, robots and other forms of automation.


公司表示,如果没有快速移动的吊舱,机器人和其他自动化形式,他们将无法迅速满足买家对包裹的需求。


The increased use of robots and AI is changing warehouse work in a way that the head of Amazon Robotics says can "extend human capability." The idea is that robots can help people to do what they are best at: problem solving.


越来越多的机器人和AI使用正在改变仓储工作,而亚马逊机器人负责人表示可以“扩展人员能力”。这个想法是机器人可以帮助人们做自己最擅长的事情:解决问题。


Tye Brady is Amazon Robotics' chief technologist. He said having people and robots work together permits the company to offer lower prices. Brady said worker safety remains very important.


Tye Brady是Amazon Robotics的首席技术专家。他说,让人们和机器人一起工作可以使公司提供更低的价格。布雷迪说,工人的安全仍然非常重要。


But Gutelius, the University of Illinois researcher, said that the hope for easy human-machine operations is not a reality. "It sounds quite lovely, but I rarely hear from a worker's perspective that that's what it feels like," she said.


但是伊利诺伊大学的研究员古特利乌斯说,实现简单的人机操作的希望是不现实的。她说:“听起来很可爱,但从工人的角度来看,我很少听到那样的感觉。”


Large growth in warehouse robots


仓库机器人的大幅增长


Amazon has more than 200,000 "drives," or robotic vehicles, that move goods through its warehouses around the U.S. That is two times the number it had in 2018.


亚马逊拥有超过20万个“驱动器”或机器人车辆,它们通过其在美国各地的仓库搬运货物。这是2018年的两倍。


Much of the growth in warehouse robotics came in 2012 when Amazon bought Kiva Systems. Afterwards, Kiva Systems became Amazon Robotics. For seven years, the company has been designing and building Amazon's robots.


仓库机器人技术的大部分增长来自于2012年亚马逊收购Kiva Systems时。之后,Kiva Systems成为Amazon Robotics。七年来,该公司一直在设计和制造亚马逊的机器人。


Amazon's move to buy Kiva influenced its competitors, said Jim Liefer. He is chief of the San Francisco company, Kindred AI. It makes an AI robotic arm used by companies such as The Gap clothing store.


吉姆·利弗(Jim Liefer)表示,亚马逊收购基瓦(Kiva)的举动影响了其竞争对手。他是旧金山公司Kindred AI的负责人。它制造了The Gap服装店等公司使用的AI机械手。


Melonee Wise is chief of California-based Fetch Robotics. The company sells robotic carts. She credits Amazon with causing the industry to develop new technologies.


Melonee Wise是总部位于加利福尼亚的Fetch Robotics的负责人。该公司销售机器人推车。她称赞亚马逊带动了该行业开发新技术。


But she said Amazon's system forces workers to do "un-ergonomic moves" such as reaching up very high or down low.


但是她说,亚马逊的系统迫使工人采取“不符合人体工程学的举动”,例如达到很高或更低的高度。


"They have robots that live in cages," she said. "Our robots are designed to work safely around people."


她说:“他们的机器人住在笼子里。” “我们的机器人旨在在人周围安全地工作。”


Getting used to working with robots


习惯于使用机器人


Taillon, the Amazon employee you met at the beginning of this report, said that she has gotten used to working with robots.


您在本报告开头遇到的亚马逊员工Taillon说,她已经习惯于使用机器人。


She described how she felt when first working with them.


她描述了初次与他们合作时的感受。


"When you're out there, and you can hear them moving around, but you can't see them, it's like, ‘Where are they going to come from?'," she said. "It's a little nerve-racking at first."


她说:“当你在外面的时候,你可以听到他们在四处走动,但看不到它们,就像'他们从哪里来?”。 “起初有点令人不安。”


重点词汇:

Words in This Story:

repetitive – n. having parts, actions, etc., that are repeated many times in a way that is boring or unpleasant

pace – n. the speed at which something happens

morale – n. the feelings of enthusiasm and loyalty that a person or group has about a task or job

burnout – n. the condition of someone who has become very physically and emotionally tired after doing a difficult job for a long time

stance – n. a publicly stated opinion — usually singular

quadruple – v. to become four times bigger in value or number

automation – n. running or operating (something, such as a factory or system) by using machines, computers, etc., instead of people to do the work

perspective – n. a way of thinking about and understanding something (such as a particular issue or life in general)

artificial intelligence – n. the power of a machine to copy intelligent human behavior

ergonomic – n. the parts or qualities of something's design that make it easy or safe to use

nerve-racking – adj. causing a person to feel very nervous


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