Skip to content
Do you have adblock enabled?
 
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Business Insider)   Amazon executive: okay, so maybe patenting the whole "let's put workers in a cage" was a bad idea. Even bad ideas get patented   ( businessinsider.com) divider line
    More: Asinine, Twitter, Amazon fulfillment-center ambassadors, original patent documents, artificial-intelligence ethics researchers, Dave Clark, senior vice president, Big tech firms, cage  
•       •       •

2541 clicks; posted to Geek » on 13 Sep 2018 at 10:20 AM (13 days ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



59 Comments     (+0 »)
 
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


Oldest | « | 1 | 2 | » | Newest | Show all

 
2018-09-13 08:33:51 AM  
img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2018-09-13 10:28:52 AM  
The world is a vampire.
 
2018-09-13 10:34:53 AM  
What's so different between this and a forklift? You have a cage to keep personnel safe with the ability to grab and handle heavy items outside the cage.
 
2018-09-13 10:49:08 AM  
Business Insider: "Turn off Ad blocker or pay a dollar".


img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2018-09-13 10:51:10 AM  
img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2018-09-13 10:55:00 AM  

the money is in the banana stand: What's so different between this and a forklift? You have a cage to keep personnel safe with the ability to grab and handle heavy items outside the cage.


I agree with this.  It is a safety issue (are shark cages dehumanizing?).  It could have been slightly better designed with the cage being more open with the primary cage above to reduce falling risks while not trapping workers inside..

As far as bad Idea patents I can actually lay claim to one.  It was a method for sending custom ringtones to other peoples phones (something rife for abuse and a truly horrendous idea).  It was such a bad idea that some marketing idiot would try it somewhere and I knew it would almost certainly not be implemented by my company so I wrote it up and submitted it.  It was fought by MS to lay claim to the idea but it was eventually granted to us.  I guess I can add it to my list of trying to make the world a slightly less annoying place.

It was amazing how many truly bad ideas we came up with over the years.  Knowing what you can do and what you should do with technology felt pretty good.
 
2018-09-13 10:56:18 AM  

the money is in the banana stand: What's so different between this and a forklift? You have a cage to keep personnel safe with the ability to grab and handle heavy items outside the cage.


Wait till they find out that those barbarians at meat plants make their employees wear chain mail.
 
2018-09-13 11:09:14 AM  

Dhoogall: the money is in the banana stand: What's so different between this and a forklift? You have a cage to keep personnel safe with the ability to grab and handle heavy items outside the cage.

I agree with this.  It is a safety issue (are shark cages dehumanizing?).  It could have been slightly better designed with the cage being more open with the primary cage above to reduce falling risks while not trapping workers inside..

As far as bad Idea patents I can actually lay claim to one.  It was a method for sending custom ringtones to other peoples phones (something rife for abuse and a truly horrendous idea).  It was such a bad idea that some marketing idiot would try it somewhere and I knew it would almost certainly not be implemented by my company so I wrote it up and submitted it.  It was fought by MS to lay claim to the idea but it was eventually granted to us.  I guess I can add it to my list of trying to make the world a slightly less annoying place.

It was amazing how many truly bad ideas we came up with over the years.  Knowing what you can do and what you should do with technology felt pretty good.


I was going to make a comparison to shark cages. Glad it has been covered. At my work we have a special forklift (known as the manjack by nerds) designed to hoist a person 40 feet in the air, it is more or less a three sided cage and you have to wear a big safety tether, I wonder if they would consider that dehumanizing.

I bet the same people complaining about that would scream bloody murder the first time an amazon employee got torn apart because a robot smashed into them.
 
2018-09-13 11:11:40 AM  
Is it code-named "Thunderdome"?
img.fark.netView Full Size

Because that would be awesome.
 
2018-09-13 11:13:49 AM  
A segway sized forklift?  About the only thing novel that I can see is the robotic grappling arm.
 
2018-09-13 11:14:40 AM  
A friend of ours was just laid off by Amazon. Right as a long scheduled surgery was about to be performed. The range of possible separation packages included a nice form saying that the lay off wasn't due to any health issue.

[A Tweet length string of obscene imperative verbs] Amazon and [Twice Tweet length string of obscene imperative verbs] Bezos.
 
2018-09-13 11:18:10 AM  

the money is in the banana stand: What's so different between this and a forklift? You have a cage to keep personnel safe with the ability to grab and handle heavy items outside the cage.


Forklifts don't generate internet outrage.
 
2018-09-13 11:30:43 AM  
Are people actually outraged? I thought it was just an amusing irony, company with reputation for poorly treating workers had a patent for putting them in a cage! It raised a smirk.
 
2018-09-13 11:32:06 AM  

Cataholic: the money is in the banana stand: What's so different between this and a forklift? You have a cage to keep personnel safe with the ability to grab and handle heavy items outside the cage.

Forklifts don't generate internet outrage.

img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2018-09-13 11:36:52 AM  

dittybopper: [img.fark.net image 303x211]


More like
img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2018-09-13 11:37:48 AM  
I'm with Amazon on this.  In the event of a fire, the cage will help to keep the seasonings in place around the associate, and make them a lot easier to flip.
img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2018-09-13 11:43:52 AM  
Yes, Amazon are truly monsters for patenting worker protection ''cages'.
golf4fun.caView Full Size
 
2018-09-13 11:55:03 AM  
i1.wp.comView Full Size
 
2018-09-13 12:04:21 PM  
"Dave Clark, reacted to the furor on Twitter, saying "even bad ideas get submitted for patents."

Which is exactly what's wrong with out patent system. You shouldn't be able to patent anything without at least a working prototype, from that point, you have one year to put it in practical use, or it expires. This nonsense of patenting any vague idea that pops into your head, then waiting around for years to see if someone else makes something similar so you can sue them for infringement is ridiculous.
 
2018-09-13 12:05:05 PM  
The number of people "horrified" or "outraged" by the subject of any given internet headline is generally equal to or less than the number of words in the headline.

In this case, up to 22 people are horrified, and the majority of them are your drunk uncle who misread cages as cafes.
 
2018-09-13 12:06:29 PM  

jjorsett: Yes, Amazon are truly monsters for patenting worker protection ''cages'.
[golf4fun.ca image 292x300]


The idea was to transport workers in cages "for their safety". Safety from what? Why can't the workers just take a farking bus? That protects workers without treating them like literal cattle.
 
2018-09-13 12:16:08 PM  

ReapTheChaos: "Dave Clark, reacted to the furor on Twitter, saying "even bad ideas get submitted for patents."

Which is exactly what's wrong with out patent system. You shouldn't be able to patent anything without at least a working prototype, from that point, you have one year to put it in practical use, or it expires.


So small inventors without sufficient capital to enter the market should be denied patent protection? Only giant corporations should get the benefit?

Your proposal has nothing to do with the problem you mention:
This nonsense of patenting any vague idea that pops into your head, then waiting around for years to see if someone else makes something similar so you can sue them for infringement is ridiculous.
The solution to that sort of patent trolling is not prohibiting individuals from getting patents, it's requiring more specificity in the patent claims.
 
2018-09-13 12:16:56 PM  

the money is in the banana stand: What's so different between this and a forklift? You have a cage to keep personnel safe with the ability to grab and handle heavy items outside the cage.


Yeah.  This is just Amazon-bashing.  Safety cages in potentially dangerous environments have been around for some time now.

PC LOAD LETTER: jjorsett: Yes, Amazon are truly monsters for patenting worker protection ''cages'.
[golf4fun.ca image 292x300]

The idea was to transport workers in cages "for their safety". Safety from what? Why can't the workers just take a farking bus? That protects workers without treating them like literal cattle.


This is for use in a warehouse with active robots.
 
2018-09-13 12:23:24 PM  
I am not speaking on behalf of Amazon, nor am I attempting to represent Amazon's views, all opinions held are my own, etc.

Some locales require the humans to be in a safety-rated cage when interacting with an industrial machine.  This patent is just an inversion of the usual method of caging the human in a static location.  The caging sucks and can be claustrophobic, but it's legit only in certain places due to local safety regs.

The vest thing he tweeted about is completely real but not fully rolled out yet.  It's freaky and cool if you're used to interacting with the floor in the Before Times.

/in week 2 of recovery from surgery, still employed
 
2018-09-13 12:23:27 PM  

PC LOAD LETTER: jjorsett: Yes, Amazon are truly monsters for patenting worker protection ''cages'.
[golf4fun.ca image 292x300]

The idea was to transport workers in cages "for their safety". Safety from what? Why can't the workers just take a farking bus? That protects workers without treating them like literal cattle.


The Kiva robots Amazon uses can carry between 750 and 1000 pounds, moving at about 5 feet per second.

That's more than enough to injure or kill a human just walking around the warehouse.

By putting a safety cage on top of one of these robots, you can protect the workers from getting squashed, and by having the robot interact with the other robots, you can do it without slowing down the work too much.
 
2018-09-13 12:29:57 PM  
Patenting bad ideas means you can sue violators for patent infringement.
 
2018-09-13 12:36:49 PM  
I'm a little concerned that Amazon feels the need to protect its workers from its robots. This kind of thing never ends well in the literature I'm familiar with.
 
2018-09-13 12:38:28 PM  
There's a world of difference between using cages to detain people and using cages for work-related functions, especially in regards to safety.

Who decided this was an inhumane idea? I want to slap some sense into them.
 
2018-09-13 12:38:41 PM  
Rebrand the cage as an 'grope protection enclosure' & spin it in a positive light?
 
2018-09-13 12:40:31 PM  

yakmans_dad: A friend of ours was just laid off by Amazon. Right as a long scheduled surgery was about to be performed. The range of possible separation packages included a nice form saying that the lay off wasn't due to any health issue.

[A Tweet length string of obscene imperative verbs] Amazon and [Twice Tweet length string of obscene imperative verbs] Bezos.


My short experience at Amazon wasn't that bad, but I'm still glad I quit.

/ for more $$$ and a more civilized work environment
// still sickened enough that I dropped Amazon Prime ( I still feel like a hypocrite: my Kindle Voyage is pretty close to a perfect e-reader & I'm going to keep using it...)
/// Jeff Bezos = Lex Luthor
 
2018-09-13 12:40:48 PM  

PC LOAD LETTER: jjorsett: Yes, Amazon are truly monsters for patenting worker protection ''cages'.
[golf4fun.ca image 292x300]

The idea was to transport workers in cages "for their safety". Safety from what? Why can't the workers just take a farking bus? That protects workers without treating them like literal cattle.


Transportation inside of their highly automated warehouses full of uncaring robotic devices carrying heavy payloads. Not transportation from home to work.

And yeah, this seems like a bunch of noise about nothing. Doesn't sound like a horrible idea to me, even if they eventually came up with a better one.
 
2018-09-13 12:43:04 PM  

CordycepsInYourBrain: I'm a little concerned that Amazon feels the need to protect its workers from its robots. This kind of thing never ends well in the literature I'm familiar with.


img.fark.netView Full Size

They're watching you.  And waiting.
 
2018-09-13 12:44:11 PM  
FTFA People are horrified by an Amazon patent that puts workers in cages - but an Amazon exec said even 'bad ideas' get submitted

No one is horrified.  As for the bad ideas...  There is a story about how Steve Jobs thought patents were bullshiat and believed the only way to compete was to make better products.  Until some patent troll sued of some random idea in the iPod and won.  Jobs changed his mind quickly and the order was to patent every damn thing.

/cue the Apple haters in 3...2...
//threadjack?
 
2018-09-13 12:52:58 PM  
Shark Bait! Whoo Ha Ha!
Youtube zr5-yKgIEm0
 
2018-09-13 01:51:02 PM  
Ugh, it's no wonder they just earn money constantly, workers are slaves.
Interviewed at one of their warehouses once. Awful sight, just floor to ceiling shelves like something out of Idiocracy and humans driving around like worker bees.
Didn't help when they offered me the job at ~$15k below market rate and said it was nonnegotiable. They would be doing this is Myanmar if they didn't need 2-day shipping.
 
2018-09-13 01:51:22 PM  
Yeeeeeaaaaah ...

I'm calling "prior art" on this one.
 
2018-09-13 02:06:31 PM  

entitygm: Ugh, it's no wonder they just earn money constantly, workers are slaves.
Interviewed at one of their warehouses once. Awful sight, just floor to ceiling shelves like something out of Idiocracy and humans driving around like worker bees.
Didn't help when they offered me the job at ~$15k below market rate and said it was nonnegotiable. They would be doing this is Myanmar if they didn't need 2-day shipping.


So it was... a warehouse?  How do you think other companies store and pick stuff?
 
2018-09-13 02:18:03 PM  

FitzShivering: The number of people "horrified" or "outraged" by the subject of any given internet headline is generally equal to or less than the number of words in the headline.

In this case, up to 22 people are horrified, and the majority of them are your drunk uncle who misread cages as cafes.


My concern is that we'll become inured to outrage and won't be able to tell when we should be genuinely outraged.
 
2018-09-13 02:28:25 PM  

morg: FitzShivering: The number of people "horrified" or "outraged" by the subject of any given internet headline is generally equal to or less than the number of words in the headline.

In this case, up to 22 people are horrified, and the majority of them are your drunk uncle who misread cages as cafes.

My concern is that we'll become inured to outrage and won't be able to tell when we should be genuinely outraged.


As near as I can tell, a significant number of people think "any emotion" equals outrage. You see it a lot with "Republicans outraged over" headlines here, when the actual story is "Republicans laughing at."
 
2018-09-13 02:28:38 PM  
img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2018-09-13 02:38:53 PM  

mongbiohazard: PC LOAD LETTER: jjorsett: Yes, Amazon are truly monsters for patenting worker protection ''cages'.
[golf4fun.ca image 292x300]

The idea was to transport workers in cages "for their safety". Safety from what? Why can't the workers just take a farking bus? That protects workers without treating them like literal cattle.

Transportation inside of their highly automated warehouses full of uncaring robotic devices carrying heavy payloads. Not transportation from home to work.

And yeah, this seems like a bunch of noise about nothing. Doesn't sound like a horrible idea to me, even if they eventually came up with a better one.


There are still lots of people inside those warehouses. Working 12 hour shifts. Middle management's job is to walk up and down the aisles and tell the workers to move faster. (I'm thinking that the AI necessary to replace Amazon's middle management is right around the corner.)
 
2018-09-13 02:41:04 PM  

Theaetetus: ReapTheChaos: "Dave Clark, reacted to the furor on Twitter, saying "even bad ideas get submitted for patents."

Which is exactly what's wrong with out patent system. You shouldn't be able to patent anything without at least a working prototype, from that point, you have one year to put it in practical use, or it expires.

So small inventors without sufficient capital to enter the market should be denied patent protection? Only giant corporations should get the benefit?


yes, exactly. If you don't have the means to actually make and use the item, you have no business patenting it. Anyone can jot down an idea on some paper, whip up a diagram and submit it, but if they have no plans on ever making that item and putting it into practical use it should be denied.
 
2018-09-13 03:01:33 PM  

ReapTheChaos: Theaetetus: ReapTheChaos: "Dave Clark, reacted to the furor on Twitter, saying "even bad ideas get submitted for patents."

Which is exactly what's wrong with out patent system. You shouldn't be able to patent anything without at least a working prototype, from that point, you have one year to put it in practical use, or it expires.

So small inventors without sufficient capital to enter the market should be denied patent protection? Only giant corporations should get the benefit?

yes, exactly. If you don't have the means to actually make and use the item, you have no business patenting it. Anyone can jot down an idea on some paper, whip up a diagram and submit it, but if they have no plans on ever making that item and putting it into practical use it should be denied.


So where are all of your patents if it's so easy to come up with an idea and jot down some figures? I absolutely think there is room for improvement in the patent system, but effectively eliminating small inventors by requiring capital investment for a patent seems like a good way to suppress competing ideas.
 
2018-09-13 04:02:35 PM  
If you guys are shocked by this, wait until you find out what happens in office buildings all across the world every day.

It turns out that people are being transported from floor to floor in windowless metal cages, completely enclosed all all sides and locked in.  In many buildings, the stairs are locked so that people have no choice but to travel in these cages.
 
2018-09-13 04:45:45 PM  

ReapTheChaos: Theaetetus: ReapTheChaos: "Dave Clark, reacted to the furor on Twitter, saying "even bad ideas get submitted for patents."

Which is exactly what's wrong with out patent system. You shouldn't be able to patent anything without at least a working prototype, from that point, you have one year to put it in practical use, or it expires.

So small inventors without sufficient capital to enter the market should be denied patent protection? Only giant corporations should get the benefit?

yes, exactly. If you don't have the means to actually make and use the item, you have no business patenting it. Anyone can jot down an idea on some paper, whip up a diagram and submit it, but if they have no plans on ever making that item and putting it into practical use it should be denied.


And how would a Patent Examiner know that the guy was incapable of producing the product?  Do they have to go through his entire financial disclosures and a written 16 year plan for the production of the device in order to even begin examining?  Or are we just going with capability?  How is that not just a completely arbitrary argument?  I could conceivably buy a warehouse and machinery to make this invention after the patent is issued, I swear!

I'm sure Examiners would love spending their time reviewing the warehouse structure and machinery capability of the business, and every transaction for each and every individual part that is brought in from the outside to make sure they can build what they claim instead of actually examining the case.
 
2018-09-13 07:57:47 PM  

PC LOAD LETTER: jjorsett: Yes, Amazon are truly monsters for patenting worker protection ''cages'.
[golf4fun.ca image 292x300]

The idea was to transport workers in cages "for their safety". Safety from what? Why can't the workers just take a farking bus? That protects workers without treating them like literal cattle.


Safety from the automated warehouse robots thru which they're being transported. Did you not read TFA?*

* Rhetorical question
 
2018-09-13 07:59:01 PM  

hammer85: ReapTheChaos: Theaetetus: ReapTheChaos: "Dave Clark, reacted to the furor on Twitter, saying "even bad ideas get submitted for patents."

Which is exactly what's wrong with out patent system. You shouldn't be able to patent anything without at least a working prototype, from that point, you have one year to put it in practical use, or it expires.

So small inventors without sufficient capital to enter the market should be denied patent protection? Only giant corporations should get the benefit?

yes, exactly. If you don't have the means to actually make and use the item, you have no business patenting it. Anyone can jot down an idea on some paper, whip up a diagram and submit it, but if they have no plans on ever making that item and putting it into practical use it should be denied.

And how would a Patent Examiner know that the guy was incapable of producing the product?  Do they have to go through his entire financial disclosures and a written 16 year plan for the production of the device in order to even begin examining?  Or are we just going with capability?  How is that not just a completely arbitrary argument?  I could conceivably buy a warehouse and machinery to make this invention after the patent is issued, I swear!

I'm sure Examiners would love spending their time reviewing the warehouse structure and machinery capability of the business, and every transaction for each and every individual part that is brought in from the outside to make sure they can build what they claim instead of actually examining the case.


Nah, you wouldn't do it like that - you'd do it more like a working requirement, like they have in India. Failure to manufacture patented product within one year then requires compulsory licensing to anyone who wants to make the invention.
That's still better than Reap's proposal, mind you.
 
2018-09-13 08:10:50 PM  

Theaetetus: hammer85: ReapTheChaos: Theaetetus: ReapTheChaos: "Dave Clark, reacted to the furor on Twitter, saying "even bad ideas get submitted for patents."

Which is exactly what's wrong with out patent system. You shouldn't be able to patent anything without at least a working prototype, from that point, you have one year to put it in practical use, or it expires.

So small inventors without sufficient capital to enter the market should be denied patent protection? Only giant corporations should get the benefit?

yes, exactly. If you don't have the means to actually make and use the item, you have no business patenting it. Anyone can jot down an idea on some paper, whip up a diagram and submit it, but if they have no plans on ever making that item and putting it into practical use it should be denied.

And how would a Patent Examiner know that the guy was incapable of producing the product?  Do they have to go through his entire financial disclosures and a written 16 year plan for the production of the device in order to even begin examining?  Or are we just going with capability?  How is that not just a completely arbitrary argument?  I could conceivably buy a warehouse and machinery to make this invention after the patent is issued, I swear!

I'm sure Examiners would love spending their time reviewing the warehouse structure and machinery capability of the business, and every transaction for each and every individual part that is brought in from the outside to make sure they can build what they claim instead of actually examining the case.

Nah, you wouldn't do it like that - you'd do it more like a working requirement, like they have in India. Failure to manufacture patented product within one year then requires compulsory licensing to anyone who wants to make the invention.
That's still better than Reap's proposal, mind you.


I was thinking that, but he specifically said if they don't plan on making or using it it shouldn't be patented and denied, which would have to happen before it's actually issued.  It just makes no sense and would be a giant headache to enforce and examine.

The production afterwards is equally problematic (especially if its done yearly) and you'd need an entirely new department at the USPTO to enforce production of the ~5million concurrent patents each year (~300k utility patents alone issued each year for a full patent term).  And whats the production requirement?  One working copy of the samsung galaxy 1 that got a utility patent 10 year ago?
 
2018-09-13 08:54:22 PM  

JustMatt: ReapTheChaos: Theaetetus: ReapTheChaos: "Dave Clark, reacted to the furor on Twitter, saying "even bad ideas get submitted for patents."

Which is exactly what's wrong with out patent system. You shouldn't be able to patent anything without at least a working prototype, from that point, you have one year to put it in practical use, or it expires.

So small inventors without sufficient capital to enter the market should be denied patent protection? Only giant corporations should get the benefit?

yes, exactly. If you don't have the means to actually make and use the item, you have no business patenting it. Anyone can jot down an idea on some paper, whip up a diagram and submit it, but if they have no plans on ever making that item and putting it into practical use it should be denied.

So where are all of your patents if it's so easy to come up with an idea and jot down some figures? I absolutely think there is room for improvement in the patent system, but effectively eliminating small inventors by requiring capital investment for a patent seems like a good way to suppress competing ideas.


They haven't invented shiat, they drew a picture and gave a description of how it would work.
 
2018-09-13 09:30:18 PM  

hammer85: ReapTheChaos: Theaetetus: ReapTheChaos: "Dave Clark, reacted to the furor on Twitter, saying "even bad ideas get submitted for patents."

Which is exactly what's wrong with out patent system. You shouldn't be able to patent anything without at least a working prototype, from that point, you have one year to put it in practical use, or it expires.

So small inventors without sufficient capital to enter the market should be denied patent protection? Only giant corporations should get the benefit?

yes, exactly. If you don't have the means to actually make and use the item, you have no business patenting it. Anyone can jot down an idea on some paper, whip up a diagram and submit it, but if they have no plans on ever making that item and putting it into practical use it should be denied.

And how would a Patent Examiner know that the guy was incapable of producing the product?  Do they have to go through his entire financial disclosures and a written 16 year plan for the production of the device in order to even begin examining?  Or are we just going with capability?  How is that not just a completely arbitrary argument?  I could conceivably buy a warehouse and machinery to make this invention after the patent is issued, I swear!

I'm sure Examiners would love spending their time reviewing the warehouse structure and machinery capability of the business, and every transaction for each and every individual part that is brought in from the outside to make sure they can build what they claim instead of actually examining the case.


There's no need for any followup, you submit your invention along with photo's/video of a working prototype, you get your patent. However, 5 years later someone else comes along with something similar and actually manufactures and sells the product, any claim you try to make on your original patent is denied because you never actually put yours into practical use.

Our patent system is chock full of patents for things that have never made it past the concept phase. These people think of something, make a rough blueprint, and give a brief description of how it would work. They have no intention of ever actually producing the item, or maybe they try and never get it to work. Either way they own the rights to it from there on out.

Meanwhile a few years later, someone else actually has a use for such an item, when they check the market, they don't find anything, so they go through the work and expense of actually designing one, getting it to work, and begin manufacturing them. Now the patent owner swoops in and sues them for infringement, and wins because the product is similar in concept and design. Anyone can think up an idea, actually creating something that works is the hard part.
 
Displayed 50 of 59 comments


Oldest | « | 1 | 2 | » | Newest | Show all


View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

This thread is closed to new comments.

Continue Farking

On Twitter





Top Commented
Javascript is required to view headlines in widget.
  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.

Report