Viral Video Shows Chinese Warehouse Where Humans Were Replaced By Robots

Tyler Durden's picture

Even as talk about robots taking over low-(and not so low) skilled jobs has been all the rage in recent months, few Americans have been faced with the imminent threat of being displaced by Johnny 5. Not so in China, where a viral clip released by the local TV broadcaster shows an army of little orange robots sorting out packages in a warehouse in eastern China, the latest example of how machines are increasingly taking over menial factory work in the world's most populous nation.

The People’s Daily shared the behind-the-scenes footage of the self-charging robot army in a sorting centre of Chinese delivery powerhouse Shentong (STO) Express. The video, also released by the SCMP, shows hundreds of round Hikvision robots,  each roughly the size of a seat cushion,  swivelling across the floor of the large warehouse in Hangzhou. A worker is seen feeding each robot with a package before the machines carry the parcels away to different areas around the sorting centre, then flipping their lids to deposit them into chutes beneath the floor.

The robots identified the destination of each package by scanning a code on the parcel, thus minimising sorting mistakes, according to the video.

The army of robots can sort up to 200,000 packages per day and are self-charging, so they can work 24/7, although they are presently used only for about six or seven hours each time from 6pm according to a STO Express spokesman.

An STO Express spokesman told the South China Morning Post on Monday that the robots had helped the company save half the costs it typically required to use human workers. They also improved efficiency by around 30% and maximised sorting accuracy, he said.

“We use these robots in two of our centres in Hangzhou right now,” the spokesman said. “We want to start using these across the country, especially in our bigger centres.”

Manufacturers across China have been increasingly replacing human workers with machines, for one simple reason: Chinese wage growth is soaring with average wages in China's manufacturing sector rising above those in countries such as Brazil and Mexico.

Meanwhile, the output of industrial robots in the country grew 30.4% last year. In the country’s latest five-year plan, the central government set a target aiming for annual production of these robots to reach 100,000 by 2020.

Elsewhere, Apple’s supplier Foxconn last year replaced 60,000 factory workers with robots. The Taiwanese smartphone maker has several factories across China, with the bulk of the hundreds of thousands of employees set to be rep[laced by robots.

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john doeberg's picture

Now who said is in China's best interest to obey Trump?


China is the Israel of the East.

Let that sink in !

Donald Trump's picture
Donald Trump (not verified) john doeberg Apr 11, 2017 9:46 PM

Only a dummy (such as Trump) would trust China in any way, even as military help with NK

The Upcoming Trade War Between the US and China Will Be the Biggest in the History of the Planet

john doeberg's picture

We only have his word on allow me to add my pinch of salt.

mdr attitude's picture

If Amazon picks up on this news there goes all those $15 per hour wet dreams the commiefornians have

Automatic Choke's picture

They gotta pay these robots more !!!!



Manthong's picture

No late to work

No smoke  or lunch breaks

No health insurance

No workers comp

No pay raises

No vacation pay

No sick time

No maternity leave

No inventory shrinkage

No lavado sus manos

No discrimination or sexual harassment lawsuits

..and more


What’s not to like?


Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Domo arigato Mr. Ro… Never mind, that is Japanese, yes?

Manthong's picture

It appears Styx was extremely prescient with that song.

I can’t believe it was 34 F’n years ago.

brianshell's picture

So,lets see. Robots are made of steel. What if I surround the iron mines with mercenaries. You will pay me for the right to buy steel. Come to think of it, the good Lord gave us an entire planet of free stuff. How come we have to pay for it? Is it because someone with a gun says so?

Hey isn't that how those unemployed Somali priates make a living?

new game's picture

they can be taxed too! lol. elect bernie and sit home playing videos. transfer payment for sitting home eating chips and drinking soda.

free health care, ebt cards and money to boot. oh, yeah the millenial wet dream! minecraft 24/7...

Mr Blue's picture
Mr Blue (not verified) new game Apr 12, 2017 5:23 AM

I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do...

Paul Kersey's picture

They look like giant robotic cockroaches.

Arnold's picture

Have Drone Gun
Will Travel


divingengineer's picture

Can they be hacked and turned into a legion of rampaging kill-bots that devour all human life and plunge the world into an era of darkness?


Well, that sucks...

Implied Violins's picture

"I think I'm turning Japanese..." - but with all these vapors, it's hard to see straight...but then again, I seem to have too much time on my hands.

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Ah! You are make it montage of 80s lyrical exposition! You are maybe too many drug in your pocket running down length of your fly!

Skateboarder's picture

Doesn't come to work drunk/high/hungover/etc.

And most importantly, **doesn't jack shit from the package**

I like these little dudes.

Manthong's picture

How did I miss that one?

How about "No going postal"?

Government needs you to pay taxes's picture

Bet that machine can't pick a bale of cotton!

True Blue's picture

LOL, imagine them all whistling "Zip-A-Dee-DooDah" (Incidentally, Disney still won't release that film in any format in the US.)

More importantly; I wonder what will China do with a vast quantity of unemployed military age men and women and an industrial capacity far in excess of markets and getting faster (which means bigger) -hmm?

brianshell's picture

It occurred to me that if China's robot making factory workers are making 3.60 then robots are not expensive. It is to scale just as in the US. Chinese workers are in for it just like US workers.

There is only one way to beat the system and that is to OWN the robots. If everyone is a PARTNER then the profits go to everyone, not just to the elite.. But wait, isnt that what communism does?

new game's picture

will need human population reset. oh, yeah, they are working 24/7 on that in the mideast.

volunteer army jobs available! only the best need apply...

divingengineer's picture

Or even plunge a toilet with a big chipotle turtle head stuck in it.
They can only make rich assholes even richer while simultaneously reducing the former working class to idled opiate addicts.

Disclaimer: I do understand it is inevitable and nothing short of an EMP will stop it. I just do not like what the transition period looks like.

Sanity Bear's picture

your competitor paying some Bulgarian hacker $10k to wreck your hundred million dollars of robots

Manthong's picture

So what’s wrong with a little bumper car playtime?

True Blue's picture

Why did I picture the lights going all Saturday Night Fever while burning robots 'boogie down' to "Disco Inferno"?

thisandthat's picture

*Russian* hacker...

Anyway, I keep telling: automation prophecy will not be fullfiled until the (2nd?) coming of the customer robot; then, yes, you can behold the brave new world... Imagine the pain United would have saved itself if their customers were automates.

Ofelas's picture

Manthong.....No customers

Manthong's picture

Heck, since fiat is created out of thin air..  each gets all they need and the rest according to their ability.

Hmm.. that has a familiar ring to it.


hoyeru's picture
hoyeru (not verified) Manthong Apr 12, 2017 12:39 AM

zero orders cuz nobody is working so nobody is spending any money.


thank you for playing, come again!

Sudden Debt's picture



now get a real job or go hungry.


StackShinyStuff's picture

When are they going to invent the robot government worker that just sits on its ass all day?

Mentaliusanything's picture

Whats not to like, My 4 lounge chairs that the little rats could not get through the hole. AND don't start me on the vehicle tyes. Condoms arrived on time however.

ReZn8r's picture

add these to the list,

No facebook on the job
No twitter
No chat
No instagram
No pintrest

how_this_stuff_works's picture

And no workplace drama.

No extramarital affairs.

checkessential's picture

Who's going to buy their shit? All the replaced workers? 

uhland62's picture

They will, because automation is driven by the corporations, nothing to do with government, any government. And you cannot tell a corporation what to do, that's for sure. 

The infrastructure program should include wider sidewalks for more pavement dwellers and the overpasses should also be widened so more people have a place to live underneath. 

Raffie's picture

What about the wages in Hello Kitty and Top Ramen companies?

They are a big part of their GDP.......hehe

aurum4040's picture

Amazon already uses Kiva....I believe Amazon already pays most of there US warehouse employees 14 to 15 hr....

IProtectYou's picture

So what wage would prevent Amazon to introduce robots iyo? $10, $5 or $2?

Robots (capital) will sooner or later replace all labor and must be taxed. The public perception of social  benefits must be changed.

Franklin Mint Chip's picture
Franklin Mint Chip (not verified) Donald Trump Apr 11, 2017 9:49 PM

Speaking about "bots" you know I am being accused of being a spammer and bot now?  What total utter horse shit....

BingoBoggins's picture

I respect good old fashioned chicanery.

curbjob's picture

That shit is so obviously fake .. fucking roomba's covered with a inverted cat box.

 the politburo must be desperate to keep wages suppressed.

"maybe your job next. $0.35/ hr and not a penny more or else back to the paddy fields."

MEFOBILLS's picture

It  so obviously is not fake.

The robots are following sensors in the floor.  They are making right angle turns.  They are staying in their lanes.  They are self docking to get power.

All of this stuff is easy to do today because the components are readily available.  The servo motors, controllers, vision systems... all of this stuff to make robots is off the shelf.  The only thing unique is  software.

I'm in contanct with an automation company.  They are constantly busy making new labor saving devices.  New requests come in weekly.  Things like automated knife sharpeners, which will displace many people in slaughter houses.  Medicine dispensing machines, which will displace pharamcists.  Robots that can take apart a cell phone for refurb.   Machines that can print wiring with a laser.  Automated towel folders for industrial laundry.

Anything that has motion can be duplicated now.  Robots have machine vision and can pick and place things like tiny screws.

These Chinese sorters are actually pretty simple.  The semiconductor industry has been using something very similar to move wafer cassettes for a long time now.  This technology is decades old already. 

Skateboarder's picture

Short range IR for collision detection, cell-based travel for easy motor programming, pre-known map... very easy to do.

Hell, I made a similar robot for a college senior project, except it was a maze-solver.

Check out one of 2016's fastest bots. Watch the whole thing. It's freakin insane.

Wrenching Away's picture

Pretty amazing how fast the subsequent runs were.