Amazon Workers Turn To Bots To Snatch Precious Time-Off Slots Before Colleagues: Report

Editor's note: This story has been updated with fresh comments from Amazon sent in response to Benzinga’s queries.

Amazon.com Inc. AMZN warehouse employees are reportedly using bots to secure coveted time-off slots, raising fresh concerns about the impact of technology on jobs.

What Happened: According to a report by 404 Media, Amazon workers are using bots to automatically claim voluntary time off (VTO) slots.

These VTO slots are separate from Amazon’s unpaid time off (UPT) and do not deduct from UPT reserves. The VTO slots are highly sought after as they contribute towards accumulating more UPT, unlike UPT which is a finite resource.

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When VTO slots become available, they are typically posted in the evening on an Amazon app used by workers to track their shifts. However, by the time workers receive the notification, the VTO slots are already taken, likely by colleagues using bots.

This issue is not new, with Reddit posts dating back several years. These bots are similar to those used to automatically purchase limited supplies of high-demand items like gaming consoles and sneakers.

“Our Voluntary Time Off opportunities have long been provided on a first come, first serve basis and are posted before shifts in the Amazon A to Z application. Employees get notifications of upcoming opportunities and can sign up to receive text message notifications as well. Our team is aware of the bot practices you're describing – they’re prohibited and there are safeguards that work to identify if they're being used,” an Amazon spokesperson told Benzinga.

Why It Matters: The use of bots by Amazon workers to secure VTO slots raises concerns about the potential misuse of technology to disadvantage others who might not be as well-versed in using bots. This is akin to scalping concert tickets, for example, which has landed Ticketmaster in a soup in the past.

This also comes amid concerns about AI taking away jobs. Earlier this month, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, expressed concerns about the potential job displacement and broader socioeconomic changes that AI could bring about.

This issue has been a subject of debate for some time, with AI’s potential to disrupt the job market being a major concern for many.

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Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of Benzinga Neuro and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

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