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Are the AM Robots Doing Gender?

Sogeti Labs
September 17, 2019

Today, there are currently two types of Autonomous mobile Robots. Those based on fleet management and systems that rely on picking optimization:

  • Fleet management solutions typically operate with bigger payloads and route statically the robots from an origin to a destination
  • Pick optimization robots integrate the movement of machines and people in a process flow designed to increase picking throughput. Pick optimization robots support picking cartons and totes and consequently have a small payload.

Autonomous Mobile Robots are mainly to address logistical problems

This way, designed by men for men decision-makers, AMRs today are foreseen in male concerned verticals: Military, industry, transport… but also household duties.

We have seen in the former blog spots that the collection of stereotypes composing the current Gender is a cultural construction. We know that gender is part of Intersectionality of dynamics in our planned society. Knowing that, let’s estimate in which way the Autonomous mobile robots could change our current unfavorable Gender landscape.

Thus, one could think that since…

  • ARMs are mainly to tackle male concerns
  • Robots will be more and more equipped by AI, which gives yet another wrong mark on Gender perspective (cf. Is AI doing Gender)

…are ARMs not Gender at all? This statement is probably too early for a conclusion.

Women all over the world allocate a substantial amount of time to activities that are not typically recorded as “economic activities”.


Furthermore, we know that in the far future, ARMs will also roam our streets, our offices, our houses. They will take the lead on ungrateful tasks. And today, the ones who are the more implicated in these duties are women. Meaning that they will be freed from their hard work, their household chores. Hence, female participation in labor markets tends to increase when the time-cost of unpaid care work is reduced, shared equally with men, and/or made more compatible with market work.

doing gender

Does this mean Gender will instantly be a synonym of equality? Surely not. But thanks to Nirmala Rao (professor at the Faculty of Education at The University of Hong Kong) we know that before achieving equality we need to reach equity. Deep changes are always gradual. And the blooming or ARMs among our planned society could bring some precious help to do Gender.

About the author

SogetiLabs gathers distinguished technology leaders from around the Sogeti world. It is an initiative explaining not how IT works, but what IT means for business.


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