Get in the damn stockroom, Shinji!

Long dreamed of in anime and manga, a world in which mech-pilot exists as a job may have finally arrived. Granted, it’s a mech that works in the stock room of a convenience store, but I like to think it still counts.

For almost two years we’ve been following the progress of robots developed by Tokyo-based company Telexistence and deployed in Family Mart convenience stores. An effort to compensate for the labor shortage in the ever-expanding market of 24-hour convenience stores, testing has been steadily conducted and now it appears as if these robots are ready to go to work with the help of part-time pilots from a remote location.

On 24 May, Telexistence tweeted a job posting for Robot Operator (VR) in which the employee must operate several stocking robots at various convenience stores, all from an office in the Kachidoki area of Chou, Tokyo.

According to the posting, the base wage is 1,450 yen (US$11.41) per hour and applicants are expected to work at least four days a week, including holidays and weekends, for nine-hour shifts in either the morning, afternoon, or overnight. In the case of overnight shifts wages can go up to 1,800 yen ($14.16) from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

No special IT skills are required, aside from experience and familiarity with using VR. Actually, it looks like a pretty cushy gig overall, because if you recall from the last article we made about this, the robots are controlled by an AI named Gordon.

▼ You go, Gordie!

Telexistence’s Robot Operator would merely be on hand in the event that something happens which the AI cannot handle, which I imagine would be a bottle tipping over or someone asking it a paradoxical question.

Comments about the job posting online mainly seemed to take issue with the idea of having to go into an office just to work remotely.

“I can do this at home! I have VR goggles.”
“Do they use a special controller? Is that why you need to go to their office?”
“If I can go there, why don’t I just go to each store any time there’s a problem?”
“If I accidentally make the robot drop something, do I have to go there and pick it up myself?”
“You either have to live in Tokyo or commute to Tokyo, which doesn’t make this job very worthwhile.”
“Can you work your way up to an Earth Defense Force pilot?”
“What if the goggles showed you a convenience store, but you were actually on a battle field… What about that?”

So, it looks like Telexistence might have their work cut out for them in finding a team of responsible Robot Operators. Of course, this style of work is still very much in the early stages which is probably why pilots would have to go to a central office rather than working from home. As the kinds of potential pitfalls get identified and sorted out, it seems like the ability to work from anywhere one chooses could become an option before too long.

By the way, it’s unclear if this job is open to English speakers as well, but Telexistence appears to also be looking for a Tech Support Engineer with Linux skills in English. Although this position is only overnight, it boasts a 2,000 yen ($15.73) per hour wage and the ability to work from home.

Regardless of language, either job might be worth getting into. After all, when the real Mobile Suits and Labors come along, experience can’t get much more ground-floor than navigating Gordon through the unpredictable world of beverage stocking mishaps.

Source: Twitter/@telexistenceinc, Itai News via ITmedia
Top image: YouTube/Telexistence Inc.
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