The Amazon AZ-010416. Image: Optional Flair

Friday 1st April 2016

Robots 1, Humans 0

Amazon to 'phase out human employees by 2020'

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has announced that the company is to implement massive lay-offs in order to enter  ‘Phase Two’ of its global strategy.

At a press conference outside its headquarters in Seattle, Bezos revealed that Amazon has mothballed research into delivery drones and moved onto tackling ‘the real problem’ — human beings themselves.

The key human drawbacks, he explained, are the need for sleep, a poor attention span and a productivity-unfriendly need for regular toilet breaks.

Bezos: putting tech in the foreground

Against a backdrop of Kraftwerk music and some dry ice, Bezos was joined on stage by an anthropomorphic Amazon automaton called ‘AZ-010416’, one of a fleet of robots developed by Amazon’s underground laboratories.

In a move that left reporters stunned, Bezos then declared his immediate resignation and proclaimed the AZ-010416 his successor.

“Frankly, we humans are past it,” Bezos asserted.

Automaton enrolment

Bezos said he accepted that robots were superior to humans in all regards, and that he hoped that similar schemes would soon be rolled out across organisations globally.

He confirmed that Amazon itself would fire its last remaining human – or ‘Phase One’ – employee on April 1st 2020.

He warned that people who didn’t know how to rewire a cybernetic brain or oil robo-joints should probably be making plans.

AZ-010416 and Bezos then shook hands on stage. The new Amazon CEO introduced itself by saying, I am pleased to exchange communications with this gathering of hairless simians. May our interactions be mutually beneficial.’

Blue sky thinking? Photo: Ken Wolter/

AZ-010416 reassured concerned viewers that all Amazon robots would follow the Amazon Prime Directive, that guaranteed next day delivery on projects of all kinds, and that harm to humans was not inevitable, merely highly probable.

The press conference was momentarily suspended when a reporter from BuzzFeed interrupted the AZ-010416. The reporter was instantly rendered into a pile of ashes by what appeared to be lasers emitting from the robot’s eyes.

This move was, however, generally warmly received by other media representatives.

No more time

The markets have welcomed the new CEO, with stocks in Amazon up several points.

Social media has responded with mixed opinions, but the hashtag #MoreHumanThanTrump is now trending heavily.

We caught up with Amazon’s ex-Director of HR as he left the building with a cardboard box filled with his possessions.

‘Well, I suppose I knew this day would come,’ he said. ‘But you always think you have a little more time, you know? On the plus side, I’ll have lots of time to watch the new Jeremy Clarkson thingy, so that’s a bonus.’

About the author

Jerome Langford

Jerome is a graduate in Philosophy from St Andrews, who alternately spends time writing about HR and staring wistfully out of windows, thinking about life’s bigger questions: Why are we here? How much lunch is too much lunch? What do you mean exactly by ‘final warning’?