Amazon drivers apparently don’t have a choice: they can either agree to being monitored by AI-assisted cameras installed in delivery vehicles, or they can work somewhere else.
More from The Verge:
The data that drivers must consent to be collected includes photographs used to verify their identity; vehicle location and movements (including “miles driven, speed, acceleration, braking, turns, following distance”); “potential traffic violations” (like speeding, failure to stop at stop signs, and undone seatbelts); and “potentially risky driver behavior, such as distracted driving or drowsy driving.”
In a statement given to The Verge, Amazon spokesperson Deborah Bass said that the cameras were only there “to help drivers and the communities where we deliver safe.” Bass said that in pilots of the technology from April to October 2020, over more than two million miles of driving, “accidents decreased 48 percent, stop sign violations decreased 20 percent, driving without a seatbelt decreased 60 percent, and distracted driving decreased 45 percent. Don’t believe the self-interested critics who claim these cameras are intended for anything other than safety.”
On one hand, I personally believe in the safety aspect of using AI in this instance. Some employees’ lives could be saved if AI surveillance is used to stop distracted, reckless, or “drowsy driving.”
Though, on the other, I cannot say I’d feel completely comfortable if any of my job’s duties were being monitored in this way (after all, I’m fairly certain typing up this story isn’t going to harm me in the same way drowsy driving could).
One cannot help but suspect Amazon — a company already catching plenty of flak for its treatment of employees — might also be using this for efficiency-related metrics. The optics on that wouldn’t be great for them right now.