San Francisco Goes After Delivery Robots

Well, here’s one way to thwart competitive automation:

San Francisco Supervisor Norman Yee introduced legislation Tuesday that would prohibit delivery robots on public streets in the city.

The robots, also known as autonomous delivery devices, transport items and products for commercial purposes and are typically operated and monitored remotely.

“The supervisor recognizes that San Francisco is the hub of innovation and wants to encourage that,” Erica Maybaum, Yee’s legislative aide, told KCBS. “But it really can’t be at the expense of safety, economic impact of residents, and there are privacy concerns that need to be looked at.”

Given its reputation as a technological epicenter, San Francisco might seem an unlikely place for such a policy. But the move towards automation represents a threat to already besieged workers in one of the country’s most liberal and economically stratified localities.

Also, these things are literally flatting toes.

In addition to the proposal to get delivery robots off public sidewalks, Supervisor Jane Kim says she’s considering a “robot tax” for businesses that replace workers with automation.

Welcome to the future.


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