Delivery Robots Will Rely on Human Kindness and Labor
In April, Starship Technologies announced that it is going to launch “robot delivery services for campuses.” Its goal is to deploy at least 1,000 delivery robots to “corporate and academic campuses in Europe and the U.S.” within the next year. It’s the latest in a long list of automated delivery schemes from a tech companies big and small.
This is another version of civic disruption, only this time instead of deploying devices into the broader Commons, deployment is aimed at both public and private bounded Commons, which I call the micro-Commons. The micro-Commons are smaller, bounded domains, which have social and cultural rules of engagement for cooperation within that domain. Examples of micro-Commons would be a university or corporate campus, shopping mall, hospital, or convention center.
Starship Technologies appears to assume here that the environments they deploy to will be completely cooperative with their delivery robots. Furthermore, there is an assumption that both humans and robots will function similarly across all of the deployment micro-Commons campuses. Spoiler: they won’t.