Lay offs everywhere: Robots can be fired too

Eray Eliaçik
Mar 2, 2023
Updated • Mar 2, 2023

What to do not to become a victim of layoffs? Is it enough to work 24x7 and follow the superiors' orders to the letter? As it turns out, the answer is a "no," particularly if you work for Google.

When Alphabet laid off its employees, not only did the human workers at Google's headquarters lose their jobs but so did the hundred or so robots that helped run the company.

Google shut down Everyday Robots

Google recently laid off the 'Everyday Robots' that cleaned and maintained the company's cafeterias as a non-profit venture. As the robots were shut down, the project will probably not be revived any time soon

The Everyday Robots team at Google created them for consumer applications. On the Google campus, the robots assisted with cleaning, recycling, and even opening doors for human employees and guests.

Google has already tightened the screws on its performance-based employee grading after a disastrous 2022 loss of $6.1 billion. Therefore underachievers would have been the ones let go first.

Alphabet's overall profit dropped by a stunning 21 percent to $60 billion, but it wasn't enough to stop the company from reorganizing and restructuring. Almost six percent of Google's worldwide staff was laid off. Ironically, even the best performers were laid off.

Almost a decade ago, Google bought eight different robotics companies, including Everyday Robots. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, co-founders of Google, were committed to the idea of consumer robots.

Everyday Robots even collaborated with Google's artificial intelligence (AI) researchers last year in an attempt to make improvements. The engineers behind the robotics system incorporated a big language model very much like ChatGPT. This improved the robot's communication skills and lent it some character. So does that mean they're upset now? This is a question Google needs to answer.

BigTech layoffs

The workforce in tech is seeing the most dramatic change in a decade. It's not just Google that's been cutting staff.

When Elon Musk acquired Twitter, it set off a chain reaction. There was criticism directed at Twitter's new chief after the company's November and December layoffs and enormous departure of employees.

Meta, Microsoft, and Google were just a few of the corporations that quickly followed suit.

You are wrong if you think that only humans are affected by the layoff trend, as you can see in the Google example. Both human and automated labor is affected by the reduction in staff.



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