This email's coming out a little late today (sorry!) due to some running around I had to do this morning. One of the biggest stories, which I go into more detail below, is about United Airlines drastically cutting the amount of money they spend on employee bonuses in a rather deceptive way.
Placing robots in grocery stores takes the emotion out of it
You'd think that by automating certain parts of a business, it would be able to eliminate some employee's jobs. Though this is mainly true, there's several situations, like in a phone or bank, where we still might prefer human interaction.
For instance, if you're calling your bank to file a death-related insurance claim, you're not going to want some robot saying "we would like to express our condolences for your loss" — it's so much more personal and comforting if a human says these things.
The same thing goes for figuring out what vitamins to get for your new diet. In a grocery store that's completely automated (like Amazon Go), there might not be anybody there to help you make a purchasing decision.
The trick to the rise of robots in the workplace is to add them without replacing humans. There's loads of opportunity to implement technology that will make both employee's and customers' lives easier and more efficient.
Number of the week
United Airlines has recently announced it would be cutting the amount of bonuses paid out by switching to a new lottery based program. They are claiming that removing a guaranteed bonus each quarter will and replacing it with a $100,000 draw will "build excitement and a sense of accomplishment with more bang for the buck."
Previously employees were entitled to a $300 bonus each quarter that the company reached its targets, but that's being replaced by a $100,000 grand prize, 10 prizes of $40,000, 20 prizes of $20,000 and 30 prizes of $10,000, among other small prizes.
The old bonus system costed the airline an estimated $13 million (assuming half the company's 86,000 employees are eligible), but the new program will only cost $4.7 million per quarter.
Employees are only eligible for the draws if they have perfect attendance and this sort of change could cause employees to lose motivation towards reaching set goals.
In case you missed it
- The state of Georgia just cancelled $40 million in tax breaks for Delta Airlines, who announced the cancellation of their discount program for NRA members following the Florida shooting. However, only a reported 13 people ever used the program.
- WIRED magazine got an up-close look at the McLauren Senna, possibly the coolest and most sleep looking vehicle of our generation
- Surveillance company Palantir secretly tested out its predictive policing technologyin New Orleans and city councillors didn't know
From the archives
Throughout 2017 there were 14 cases of people suddenly losing their memories, all originating from the state of Massachusetts. The only correlation between the cases is that each person injected heroin before they lost their memory, but memory loss isn't a known side effect of the drug.
BuzzFeed took a closer look at the issue in a profile of a man named "Max", who experienced it all firsthand.