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Thanks Gad, nice discussion of this topic. Looking at last-mile delivery robots as an example, they were coming on the scene before the pandemic, either to allow retailers to add new services (same-day delivery) or to reduce delivery costs through automation. Cost per delivery seems to be the main variable to viability. But then pandemic-related concerns added another justification to using robots: social distancing and hygiene. Robots won’t breathe on you when delivering your package or pizza.

I do wonder about another question: robots may “replace” workers in some cases, but for now they seem to require an increase in human labor — robot handlers, chaperones, drone pilots, mechanics/engineers, etc. Every delivery robot I have seen seems to have an army of humans walking behind it. This is not a permanent feature, but full automation of robots seems to be a challenge that for now still requires a lot of human effort.

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