Channel 2 Investigates

Are robots taking our jobs? Some say they are making life easier

ATLANTA — The “Great Resignation” is speeding up the development and implementation of technology in the workplace — from trash pickups to restaurants, even poultry processing.

The Forbes Technology Council believes at least 15 industries will be automated in the next decade. They include restaurants, grocery stores and manufacturing.

While many people are concerned about robots taking over jobs, in some cases, technology is making conditions safer and easier for workers.

At the Georgia Institute of Technology, Channel 2 Action News saw a research project that aims to take poultry workers off the processing production line.

The machine can pick up a chicken of any size or weight and carry out a task while being guided by a human on a VR headset.

The headset will connect anywhere there is a Wi-Fi connection, keeping the human worker out of smelly, dangerous and cold conditions.

Across the hallway on Georgia Tech’s campus, there is another mission to automate space. Researchers are working with NASA to program a robot that can carry out a task without human intervention.


Georgia Tech’s lab, along with other research institutes across the country, received a grant to figure out how a space station could go long periods of time without humans living on board.

They need robots to function and troubleshoot mechanical obstacles in the event of an emergency.

Stephen Balakirsky is the principal research scientist at Georgia Tech’s Research Institute. He told Channel 2 Action News that technology like what the institute is working on for NASA would be applicable on Earth for situations that are too dangerous or risky for humans.

“Accident sites, nuclear-contaminated sites, or just sites that are inaccessible, like space,” he pointed out.

Another dangerous industry seeing a rise in the use of automation is security. The CEO of Robotic Assistance Devices, Steve Reinharz, has 27 years of experience in security.

He said, “22% of all security officers don’t last 30 days.”

His company teamed up with Allied Universal during the World Series at Truist Park last season. They deployed a security robot named ROAMEO.

“The units have the ability to connect back to other people in case people need help,” he said.

Though the games did not see any major incidents, ROAMEO did have its photo taken by a lot of curious fans.

Another way automation is infiltrating baseball is one step away from the major leagues. ABS — or Automated Ball/Strike System — is being tested at 11 Triple-A minor league teams across the country.

The broadcaster for the El Paso Chihuahuas told us the computerized system detects the strike zone through a sensor over the home plate.

The parameters are based on a player’s size. The system does not get rid of the human umpire but does change how often they are used to make calls.

The system is not yet at ballparks in Georgia but has undergone careful testing for several years. The MLB explains how it works, here.


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